There once was a plot line hard hittin
But the writer was best known for quittin’
“No time to write,” she did fret
No one objected, I bet
So she never got anything written.
Ahem. So. Now that these lines have demonstrated that your competition for poet laureate is at a safe distance, perhaps you are primed to discuss a more uncomfortable subject regarding lines. More specifically, deadlines and goal lines. Bear with me.
The Emotional Divide.
The most often cited origin of the term “deadline” is the line that, if crossed by a prisoner, allowed the guards to shoot at will. Perhaps that’s why writers facing a deadline feel they are “under the gun?” Goal Lines, on the other hand, are something we simply strive for (in sports, for example).
In short, while we seek the goal line, we are instinctively repelled by the deadline.
The emotional divide between the two types of lines is amplified by something we human beings value: control. This is probably the only time when the published author envies the unpublished writer. The writer has a goal line, set by him or herself. The published author has a deadline, set by someone else.
But the virtue of the goal line, as I see it, is also its chief defect. While a deadline must be hit or else we are . . . well . . . dead. A goal line is something we try to reach. We say we’re trying to reach a certain goal. Well, trying just isn’t going to cut it, mister. May I go so far as to suggest to you that goals can be our downfall? [Read more…]