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Artists Tell All: How to Meet Deadlines

Artists Tell All: How to Meet Deadlines

Eric Maisel

Dr. Maisel, I have a deadline coming up in a few months and I’m finding myself procrastinating badly. Any tips? – Barbara L., Minneapolis

Thanks, Barbara.

Here are some tips from artists and writers about how they meet their deadlines—and how you can meet yours.

Jerry, a portrait painter, explained:

“The thing that works best for me is to have a written calendar that I can look at all at once with all the year’s deadlines written down. If I need to frame, the time for that is written down, if two shows are coming up I’ll finish the work for one and start on the other, and so on. This may sound obsessive but it really helps. I need to have this calendar on a wall where I can see it every day.”

Here’s one from Amy, a miniaturist:

“Since I worked full time and was raising three children by myself, my painting projects were left on the dining room table. When I had a spare fifteen minutes while dinner was cooking, I would paint. I found that if I did little steps at a time and had a clear plan of what I wanted to do I could accomplish my gallery show paintings in time. I also wore a hat that had a band that said, ‘Please don’t interrupt me, I’m working!’”

Tamara, a watercolorist, shared the following tip:

“I find that accountability to another human, set up at the beginning of the project and kept up throughout, is really important. When I know that I am going to have to report in to someone regarding a specific goal, it makes me feel embarrassed when I don’t meet it. The fear of embarrassment thus spurs me on!”

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