Writing Deadlines

It’s funny, I participate in flash fiction contests where you have anywhere from one hour to one week to write a story and publish it, and yet having a month to write up to three stories for an anthology fills me with dread.

I think its partially because with a 24 hour deadline, there’s no time to worry about it: you either have it or you don’t.  Sometime the magic works, and sometimes you wish you’d stayed in bed.  Either way, it’s over before you have time to really think about what you’re doing.

Flash Fiction, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is used to describe short stories that are usually less than a thousand words long.  The idea being that it’s fiction you can read in a flash.  Sometimes you write it in a flash as well.

The first flash fiction story I ever wrote was in a creative writing class in school.  It was very short and to the point, and I can remember it to this day:

The Third World War

The End

Until I started writing Flash Fiction, before I started participating in National Novel Writing Month… I never worried about word counts.  I used however many words I felt it took to tell my story and it was finished when I decided it was finished.

I liked it that way– but then of course… nothing ever got published because it wasn’t good enough, it was too long… or… fanfiction.net can wait while I work on documentation.

I think the closest I came to a deadline before all this was documentation, and even that was subjective.

Any deadlines I faced were self imposed, and that might be one of the key differences.  When you’re facing a hard deadline, imposed by someone else, it means you have to have to meet the deadline or you don’t get published. PERIOD.

That sounds awfully final, and it is.  Yes, I could miss it, and not be in the anthology but I really want to be there so I need to get over my fear of deadlines, stop writing about them and … write.

In the end, that’s what this is all about.

October 30, 2015

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