I like having time constraints when I am working on any sort of project. I may complain about it when I am venting, and yes I realize that more often than not I do it to myself. I take on an extraordinary amount of things, putting them all on my to do list and giving myself what feels like a near impossible timetable in which to work. It is probably not the healthiest way to operate but it has worked in the past so I continue to use it.
In school I used to hate getting projects that would have a month long deadline. Yes they involved research, some sort of construction of a diorama usually and preparing a presentation so the time was a good idea but I hated having so much time. While many in my class would go home and get to work right away I would procrastinate until approximately three days before it was due then hide in the library and get everything done in a massive rush. Even with the marathon of researching, writing and creating I would end up with one of the highest graded projects in the class.
I had the same problem when I began writing. I have all the time in the world and so with no sense of urgency, I do not feel the compelling urge to sit down in my office and be productive. Instead my mind is free to wander. I come up with numerous ideas, characters start getting chatty but then go silent again, it is a vicious cycle that I rarely seem to concentrate through. Only when I have something pressing am I able to sit down and do what I am supposed to do as a writer, I write.
When I was getting ready for a book launch last year I had not finished the first draft but knowing I had the event coming gave me the urgency I crave and I was able to produce a book I am immensely proud of. The same thing happens with Nanowrimo. If it weren't for me pushing to prove I can create the fifty thousand words in just thirty days I am not sure I would have ever finished my debut novel let alone the three I am editing. All of them were created during Nano. I am working hard to create self imposed deadlines, not only for writing but also for editing, submitting and taking part in events. If I can get to the point where I am able to train myself to do these things I will feel much better about my chances to be a professional writer.
For me the most difficult thing is sticking with my own deadlines. I want this but I fight the insecurities, doubt and overwhelming lack of ability to perform at my best without outside pressure. If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve the focus I would be greatly in your debt!