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My most recent single release - "My True North" - is now available on Bandcamp. Open my profile and click on "audio clip".

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Deadlines And Creativity

Lately I've been reflecting on the tension between deadlines and creativity. How much does having a deadline enhance or hamper your creativity?

The only one imposing a deadline for my blog posts is me. Some days that seems to grease my creativity; other days it's intimidating. And though I've filled several little notepads with ideas, sometimes as my self-imposed deadline looms, still no unified approach for a post becomes clear. On those days I either forge ahead and create something anyway or skip posting. If I create something and I'm unhappy, I give myself credit for persevering. If I'm pleased with what I created I wonder: How much did the edge of the deadline assist me? When I skip posting I wonder: If a deadline were externally imposed what would I have created? How would it have compared to what I created having just a self-imposed deadline? In other words: How much would external pressure have elevated or compromised my results? What's been your experience with this last question?

Over the years, my songwriting has been inconsistent; never gave myself a deadline. Now that I've begun exploring this tension with respect to writing/blogging, I've decided deadlines might help me in other creative domains. What's the worst that can happen? Where in your creative life might deadlines be of help?


  1. Deadlines at the office are, for me, fortunately, mostly self imposed. They help get the right things done in the right order, more on time than they would have been. I'm held accountable to making main work deadlines, as most people are. As for songwriting, a couple of years ago I announced to the weekly folk circle that I would come in with a new song every week. Setting that deadline with peer accountability led to good things. No more just waiting for some inspiration to eventually hit, or not. The group would critique the songs, so I learned from their feedback. They would throw out suggestions, such as, "Write a country song next.", so I tried new things. That went on for several months and it helped me practice writing more purposefully. Many songs resulted that wouldn't have otherwise been written. I still use that "get one done by a week from now" approach to fight writer's block and develop ideas for new songs. Then I keep the best ones. It works

    1. Jim; "Peer accountability" - great way to put it. And that's excatly how I feel about my blog even though no one is really holding me accountable. But, I'm holding myself accountable and clearly that works better than making excuses. Thanks for your comment.