Friday, 13 January 2012

13,000 Words in a Week aka Deadline Madness

The deadline for my first formal MA assignments was on Wednesday and I would say it sneaked up on me, but I was hyper-aware that it was approaching. Christmas was part of the problem - not that I need an excuse to procrastinate. Writing slid down the priority list as I made mince pies, stollen, fudge and my first-ever attempt at a gingerbread house:

I also had a hard time mental-illness-wise. I have Borderline Personality Disorder with depression and anxiety and Christmas tends to aggravate my symptoms. Suffice to say, a week and a half ago I was in a panic as I realised I had typed 1500 words of a 5000 word film treatment, 6000 word piece of experimental fiction and self-reflexive essays of 1500 and 2000 words.

I had a choice: panic or work hard to produce something to submit, however crap it was. I chose the former, for a day or two, and then got to work.

I should add that I had been researching and freewriting around my ideas for over a month before Christmas, so at least I knew what I had to do. The tricky part was actually doing it. I survived with the aid of energy drinks and working late at night. I discovered that I could get more done in 3 hours from 11pm to 2am than in 6 hours during the daytime. I also found that when the going gets tough, I can write 13,000 words in one week.

That was a revelation, and it made me think about how much more work I could do on my non-MA writing. I couldn't work at last week's pace or intensity on a regular basis as it would kill me, but I'm certainly capable of writing more than I do. I've decided that I should force myself to follow more deadlines, whether it's to enter a short story in a contest or just to complete X words a week. I'm still ambivalent about whether I can produce good work this way, but I guess I'll find out when I get my marks back!


  1. I never need a reason to procrastinate either :) Its a natural talent for me.

    Congrats on all those words. I think I might produce 13,000 in a year - including blog posts :)


  2. Thank you :-) I realised how terrible my procrastination was when I bought 'Isn't It About Time' by Andrea Perry and put off reading it for ages! I'm trying to get better... honest!

  3. Whew, that's a lot! Hope you can keep it up!! :)