In a past life I had to complete a 15000 word thesis for university, I was two weeks out from the due date with no words done and half the research still to go. Thats when I was told I could ask for a month extension. I didn’t take it.
Even with all that stress I knew a month extension wasn’t an extra month to write a thesis, it was an extra month to do nothing before realising “I only have two weeks to write my whole damn thesis, why the f*ck didn’t I start sooner!” No amount of extra time was going to change that.
So instead I was at uni constantly for those two weeks, sometimes writing, sometimes eating a coffee with my kebab, sometimes napping after a big kebab, but slowly working towards a wet pile of steaming fresh words. It was about 3000 words short with whole paragraphs of unnecessary drivel just to increase the word count but it was in on time. And done.
I didn’t even feel bad about its poor quality, it was all I was ever going to do regardless of how much time I had.
Thats what deadlines are all about.
I did the same thing with comedy. When I decided to take it more seriously I booked into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a full run, I figured I could fail in front of Scottish people, they’ll be nice about it.* This was crazy, scarring, traumatic and troubling, but it got me writing and gigging.
There are other comedians I know who don’t need this, they are driven, motivated people who don’t need anything but their own initiative to get out there and write and gig night after night. They don’t need crazy deadlines, they’re going to be fine.
That ain’t me. I need a gun to my head counting to 10. And it has to be the head. If its aimed at my hand I’d just be planning all the one handed activities I could do while I’m lying in bed recovering.
If you’re like me, add in a crazy deadline.