Deadline. If I were in the business of creating superheroes, and I am, then Deadline would be my nemesis. You may have heard of Deadpool or Deathstroke, but they’ve got nothing on this guy.
December’s his month. Everyone here at Edinburgh Uni fears him. Weeks 11 through 13 of the University calendar sees a rash of hand-in dates and exam finals. Cue coffee, onesies and sleepless nights for my 30,000 academic brothers and sisters across the city.
Deadline normally can’t get to me. I’ve got his number. I’ve never pulled an ‘allnighter,’ finishing up an essay the day before its due date. I’ve only ever handed one essay in late and that was because – could you believe in – I finished it so far in advance that I forgot all about it. I’m mister ‘get that job done the moment it’s assigned to you,’ even if that means doing it months in advance.
It’s not because I’m disciplined, organised or hard-working. I just don’t like working too hard too close to Deadline. Sure, being a writer means I know better than most how to blast out 2,500 words a day. But waiting until the last minute and writing into the depths of the icy Scottish night… I just couldn’t deal with that.
There are times, however, when Deadline catches up with me. And it’s not a University essay that nearly tripped me a few weeks back. Two writing deadlines over the space of 24 hours, one left so late because I only discovered it right before the closing date, the other because I’d been telling myself for months that no, I wasn’t going to enter this one. More fool me.
There’s one thing to be said for Deadline though, he sure sharpens your game. It becomes a case of – to paraphrase an old military maxim – write first, write fast, write hard. You do more work and you do it better, if only for a brief period of time. There’s nothing quite like overclocking the old writing card. And for someone who rarely lets Deadline breath down his neck, there’s a certain exhilaration involved.
Maybe I should do this more often. Or maybe I should get the damn hell on with the English essay due tomorrow…