Letting the deadline pass

Thursday is the self-imposed deadline I set to complete the rewrite of my draft novel, That which is left is lostAs I write this post, I still have five chapters to go. It seems certain that I will not reach my goal.

However, I am giving myself permission to miss this deadline. Not only that but I am taking a step back and allowing myself some time to relax, recouporate and regroup. I wrote about how a fear of failure was holding me back last week, yet this week it is just lethargy and lack of inspiration. There are too many distractions at the moment – which is part of the reason the deadline was set. I knew that writing would be difficult between the 5th July until 12th July, so I set my deadline with this in mind. But I fell behind and now I can’t catch up and the realistic notion that I anticipated – of not having time, energy or focus to write – has come to fruition.

Healthy-Lines-DeadlineRather than fight it, I’m going to let it pass.

Not only am I going to let it pass but I’m also going to take an actual break. I’m not going to convince myself that I can finish in the next week, nor am I going to force myself to painstakingly write terrible words when I am not in the right frame of mind. I’m going to put it down, focus on the other important aspects of my life that need my time right now and come back to the novel when these are done.

Sometimes we need to look at the big picture. And I foresaw the frantic, tiring week I am having and tried to plan accordingly. Things didn’t go according to plan. That isn’t a failure and it isn’t (all) my fault. But what I can’t do now is blame myself for it and try and shoulder an extra burden when I already have so much on.

So, yes, writing has slipped down to the bottom of the list this week. It’s disappointing that I haven’t been able to finish what I started yet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. It just means that I can’t commit to it right now. In a week, things will be different again.


Speaking of which, those regular visitors might have noted a change in my posting day(s). Usually I write on the blog every Monday and Thursday, but last week and this week it’s been on Wednesday. That’s a concious decision to provide me with some leeway for the next few weeks. By the end of July the schedule should go back to normal, but for three weeks at least I’ll be posting only on Wednesdays.


How do you deal with missed deadines? Have you ever given yourself permission to forgo a deadline because it has become unsustainable? What’s your attitude to self-imposed deadlines?
As usual, comment below or drop me a Tweet.



6 responses to “Letting the deadline pass

  1. Pingback: New Writing. Old Fears. | Cat Lumb: The Struggle to be a Writer

  2. This sort of thing is always a struggle, but I’m glad that you’ve been able to loosen your grip a little, step back, and take a deep breath. During different seasons of our lives, that’s what we need sometimes. Yeah, writing might end up on the back burner temporarily, but that’s okay. The words that will come out once everything settles down will be far better. 🙂

  3. I love the drawing, Cat! And I hope you really, truly are not beating yourself up.

    I am renting a place for the summer that is at the top of a steep hill . . . and then there’s a steep driveway to the unit. No car this summer, just me and my bike, and that one-two punch kicks me in the behind every single day. My goal is to make it up that hill and drive without stopping by the end of July. Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t, but the challenge is what keeps me going, and the journey is just as important as the destination. Just like your writing: you haven’t finished YET, but you will. And when you do, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to create your best work. It’s there inside you, just waiting for you to be ready to access it.

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