Flailing Toward the Finish Line

I'm a very goal-centric person. I thrive on deadlines. That's why, despite not having any external deadlines for writing, I impose due dates for all my work anyway. It just works for me. It keeps me focused.

I'm sure there are many of you out there who share my love of deadlines. I'm also positive there are as many people (if not more) who abhor them. What's most important, in my mind, is to know how you work best.

Knowing how you work requires continual assessment and reflection. We're not static beings. We grow and change. What worked for me as a brand new writer doesn't work for me anymore. I used to need music to write. Now? These days I prefer a combination of two white noise sites, Coffitivity and Rainy Mood.

One thing that hasn't changed, however, is my tendency to "flail toward the finish line."

What do I mean by "flailing toward the finish line?" Externally, I see it on my productivity calendar. The closer I get to finishing a project, the lower my daily output tends to be. This in itself wouldn't bother me overly much. I still hit deadlines, often meeting them early. The hardest part, for me, is the internal flailing.

As I get down to the last couple of chapters of work, my internal motivation to be done with a project dies a slow and painful death. You'd think I'd want to push hard at the end so that I can be done. So I can rest and relax and have that "I DID IT!!!!" feeling. But no. It's like dragging a cat to a bath to get me to sit down and work.

This loss of motivation at the ends of projects has happened consistently with each writing deadline I've set the past year. I always finish. I always meet the deadline. But wow, it's a struggle those last couple of days.

For now, I don't really know what to do to "fix" this about myself. If anyone has any tips or tricks, please leave them in the comments. I'd really appreciate the advice.

Until then, I'm going to embrace the flailing. It may not be pretty, but it gets the job done. And in the end, that's all that matters.

-Isabel (@isasterling)