When I wrote “The Glamour of Grammar,” I turned in the manuscript about three months late. Not a good feeling.
Friday morning, I turned in a finished draft of my next book, “The Art of X-ray Reading,” three months early. A very good feeling.
The key part of the word deadline, remember, is not the “line” part, but the “dead” part.
Now solve this riddle: When does a deadline become a lifeline?
The answer: When it is self-imposed.
I describe the process in my book Help! For Writers:
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Many writers procrastinate until the deadline roars toward them like a train, the writer standing on the tracks. Pressing a deadline is a devil-may-care form of exhibitionism, a Houdini escape from a straitjacket, just in the nick of time, fueled by adrenaline.