Are Deadlines Hurtful or Helpful to the Writing Process?

I have always been in the belief that goals are important, keeping a person focused on what needs to be done and usually giving a time-frame for when said project needs to be completed. It keeps us from running around in circles and gives us purpose. In a sense deadlines are the same, but on a smaller scale. Deadlines are usually for very specific projects and have a definite timeline. It’s a strict date to work towards and a feeling of doom if said project is not completed by the expected date. Deadlines too can be helpful in motivating a procrastinating body (such as myself) to keep moving forward and having a sense of accomplishment from completed deadlines, but what if this strict process creates a pressure that stifles the creative spark?

What if in the process of moving forward becomes a double-edge sword that leaves a person used up like a dried out husk? The creativity is gone and the mental concentration breaks down under the weight of too much pressure. Would it make sense to continue in such a manner?


A person, like myself, who has the tendency to shoot for the moon and hope for the best can put up such grand expectations that not even an astronaut with the right equipment could ever hope landing on the moon. In these expectations, lies a minefield of pitfalls that scars the soul and leaves a person disorientated to the point of self disillusion. In a sense, maybe the key to reentry to the world of progress would be a reversal of deadlines and instead have set aside time of mental healing.
One has to wonder too if the mere fact of the striving for deadline after deadline creates a hole inside a person, leaving it a void of emptiness. Where once resided the spark of creativity now sits a black hole of darkness and air. Is this because the fragile well of imagination has had such high demands that it became dried up in trying to supply?
If this is the case then maybe what a person seeks in such a time would be a break, so a person can fill up their well once again. Unfortunately, people are so focused on the act of completing the deadline(s) that this fact becomes lost or forgotten (which seems to happen to me quite a bit).
Deadlines can be a wonderful thing to progress the creative soul to a finished product, but if deadlines become too much a part of our lives without the effort of stimulating the creative spark into a freedom of self discovery, then certain failure will be found. There may come a time when setting aside the deadline may become necessary and even essential to regaining solid ground, but even when the practice of implementing deadlines is reinstated, remembering that deadlines have a distinct fault may keep the struggling creative soul from falling back into the void.
Want some ideas of how to find that creative spark again? Check out The Missing Muse Part 2: Rediscovering the Magic. And I also found this wonderful article done by Leo Babauta who has 31 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing.

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