I’m sure all of the Hollywood and television writers are happy their strike ended and they’re able to get back to work. I’m equally sure many of them continued to write, even doing treatments and notes on their own during the strike for projects they can plug right in. But it was interesting to read in this article about them grappling with shorter deadlines in order to get television shows back on the air as soon as possible.
What sort of writing deadlines do you face? Daily? Weekly? Only the self-imposed “deadlines” you set up for freelance projects?
For all you new writers out there — you haven’t lived until you’ve faced a “real” deadline. It teaches you some important realities about how you will do if you choose to write for a living:
You learn more about focus. Nothing sharpens the mind quite like facing a serious deadline. I’m talking about the kind of deadline where your boss says: “I need that by 3 p.m. today.” Yes, indeed, that makes you focus.
You find what your weaknesses are. The pressure of a serious deadline not only makes you focus, it exposes chinks in your writing armor. Spelling issues? Grammar gaps? Organizational problems? Nothing shows you areas you need to improve quite as well as writing on deadline.
You come face-to-face with your motivation and make serious career decisions. If you cannot write consistently on deadline, you may realize that professional writing is not for you. Or, you may simply discover a particular type of professional writing is not for you.
All of this is worthwhile for you and will help you be a better writer. If you don’t have a writing job that demands you work on deadlines, I encourage you to find one. The learning experience is invaluable. If you go back to more casual, self-motivated writing — and I say, good for you if you don’t have to spend all your writing career facing down deadlines — you’ll still be a better writer for having done the deadline gig.
[tags]advice for new writers, writing on deadline, writing experience, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]