On Being Prolific (or not), Creativity & Artificial Deadlines

So I’ve set myself a deadline of Halloween to have a draft of the Big Rapids collection finished and assembled (or “collected” I guess). And I don’t quite know how I feel about this.

On the one hand, I’m apprehensive about setting an artificial and arbitrary deadline of 10/31 (b/c it goes against the natural progression of creativity or inspiration or luck or whatever you want to call that invisible process of creating work, both individual pieces and the whole kabob). I’m afraid that putting some sort of quantitative measure of expected creative flow–whether it’s a word count for you prose writers (and how much is appropriate? 500 words a day? 1000? 2000? How about 5 really snazzy sentences?) or a poem-a-day kind of thing, it seems more like a cap. If you say 1 poem a day, won’t you write to that? Meaning, you could end up with 1 really shitty poem just to reach the cap, OR, stop short at 1 good poem when there was the beginnings of a 2nd sitting write there on the periphery? I know, you could say that this is all justification for a slow bleed of writing, instead of putting your head down and “writing like a motherfucker” (as one friend of mine read about, passed along and suggested as a mantra). Another friend has set a deadline of 1000 words a day of “revisiting the wound,” and I guess ripping the band-aid off should be quick and decisive.

Part of me says it’ll be done when it’s done . . . the lazy-ass part of me, I suspect.

Which brings me to the other hand, the one that tells me to shut the hell up, put my head down and get the hell moving. That’s the one I should be listening to, the one that says Don’t think, just write.

And Halloween. Halloween. Halloween.

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