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  • Andrea Torrey Balsara

Into the Fire...of a Deadline - June 2023 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

In the days before I was published, I used to yearn to have a “deadline.” In my mind, deadlines meant one was a true writer. After I started getting assignments, however, deadlines took on a less rosy glow. Deadlines often meant intense pressure, facing deep insecurities at hyper speed and on the fly, and working creatively even when my creative tank was empty.

Despite the downside of deadlines, there were unexpected benefits. I learned to trust myself, to forge ahead in the dark without having the time to be perfect, and most importantly, to get out of my head. In the crucible of the deadline, I learned how to write and illustrate a picture book, illustrate using a digital tablet, write a novel, paint with acrylics, and then learn to do them all at once on multiple, simultaneous projects. Each time I was pushed past my limit, I had to dig deep and do it anyway, even while part of me screamed, “I can’t do this!”

I’m back at another bump in the road, faced with impossible deadlines. As I write this, I am putting into play the tools I picked up along the way:

  • Be kind. When I get stressed, I can get sharp-tongued with myself and others. Now I know to take a breath. Get some air. If all I want to do is snarl at someone, I write in my journal and get it out there.

  • Slow down. Ironically, the less time I have, the more I need to focus on not rushing. You can be quick and efficient, but rushing and panicking are counter-productive and lead to procrastination.

  • Practice gratitude. Gratitude is the best antidote I know to feeling overwhelmed and short on time. Gratitude amplifies each moment into boundless time.

  • Remember to laugh. Find moments of humour and take time to play every day, even just for a few minutes. I can get pretty grim when I’m overwhelmed.

  • Nurture myself. It’s easy to beat myself up about not working fast enough, not being good enough, not being enough. That’s just the fear talking. The reality is, I’m good enough, and so are you.

What do you do when you are feeling the pressure? I would love to hear about your own list of tools. Join my Facebook group and we can continue the conversation.

Wish me luck with my deadlines!


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