'If you’re lucky, something else kicks in: a kind of defiance that makes you dig deep. Isn’t that deadline a manifestation of yourself, your hopes, your ambitions, your drive to produce something of substance that, against all odds, communicates truly?'
'I had a date when I would hand the book to someone else, and that was a gift. I found I loved having a deadline. It made me more focused and motivated, and that has continued ever since. Now, if I’m not given a deadline, I request one.'
'We tolerate the disorganised genius who can never submit their work on time because their work is worth the wait. Most of us are literary mortals, however, and we aren’t afforded the luxury of being unreliable.'
'Deadlines in the theatre, in my experience, are more negotiable. But they are vital. Their effect is best summed up by that old dictum: Nothing concentrates the mind like the hangman’s noose. It makes the writer write. '
'Sometimes I'm secretly disappointed if the deadline is far off. If I sign a contract to deliver a book in two years' time, part of me thinks the whole thing will never happen and I defer the work until the deadline looms.'
'A non-fiction book tends to be sold before it's written. Whether its your first book, or your fiftieth, the deadline will have been in the contract from the beginning. As far as I'm concerned, I'm undertaking a craft, and I go about it in a professional way.'
'The unwritten play becomes so tantalisingly wonderful, surprising, profound: — why spoil its hypothetical brilliance by encasing it in specific words? Deadlines are the best motivation ever devised to shift the play from inspiration to first draft.'
'The deadline for this piece was Christmas Eve, but that was also the deadline for buying presents for the family. So — while making hurried purchases through multiple windows on my computer — I also wrote the following...'
'Most of the students I worked with as a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow were struggling with too many assignments. When we sat down together, and spent our fifty minutes making a to-do list, they would leave with a new spring in their step.'