How “deadlines” can kill creativity.

Whilst I appreciate the principle of “deadlines” I am not sure whether I like the idea of panicking and working/creating from nervous energy.

Although I am sure it is better than creating nothing at all.

How much does the love of what we do drive our productivity? I mean loving the process, the shaping the creating, the finding and the discovering.

When we work this way “finishing” can almost be like grieving.

We get nervous when we focus on the finish line (our ill defined notion of success) rather than dwelling in the beauty of creating.

Don’t think about the end; just stay in the moment.


Problem with deadlines

Be Inspired Daily By Seven Sentences


2012 Copyright Seven Sentences – The Problem With Deadlines

27 Responses to “How “deadlines” can kill creativity.”

  1. Arny January 18, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    Every great song has to end…but that is no reason not to enjoy the music…

    • Geoff Talbot January 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      I love this quote. Thanks so much Amy!

    • Kattenburg Kathy January 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      You can always replay the song. Over and over and over….

      • Geoff Talbot January 19, 2012 at 9:47 am #

        If you get sick of the same song you can write another

  2. Faz Kamar (@Faz_Kerk) January 18, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    How do we get a good balance of loving the process that drives the crafting + creating AND completing the ‘deliverable’?

    • Geoff Talbot January 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      I think that is both the answer and the question :)

    • AscensionForYou January 19, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Faz, i think its in not looking to have perfection, as that just drives a big wedge between them.

  3. Kelly Newland January 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    I find deadlines force me to be more creative. I’m always amazed at what comes up when I’m under the gun. I’m pretty sure everyone will be a bit different with this. Good question.

    • Geoff Talbot January 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      Fair comment… Pressure can force the creativity out. Thanks for commenting

  4. Andrew Zahn January 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    We’re better than that aren’t we? “Panicking.” “Nervous energy.” Most of the times, those words/emotions are a choice. 

    Not saying I embrace deadlines brazenly… but they prevent procrastinating. 

    • Geoff Talbot January 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

      This is true Andrew. Why do you/we try and meet deadlines? Is it the fear of the consequences of not meeting them…? Or the satisfaction of success?

  5. Arna Baartz January 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    staying in the moment…much more satisfying

  6. Matthew January 19, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    For me, I think it’s important to finish regardless of the work’s quality.  Review the draft, the edit, the painting, and assess what works and doesn’t work.  Then, start again and finish it.  Keep at it until one senses some satisfaction with the piece.  I find deadlines extremely useful in the creative process.  I’m able to track my progress with a built in accountability structure.  Self-discipline is crucial for creating.          

    • Geoff Talbot January 19, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Continuing to craft is an important part of te process. Thanks for Sharing Matthew!

  7. Brent Pittman January 19, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I am most creative when I am peace with myself and others. Strife and conflict cloud your mind and don’t leave empty space for new ideas. 

    • Geoff Talbot January 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      Peace is a biggie – difficult for me because I have to slow down and taste my food. I am such a fast eater!

  8. AscensionForYou January 19, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Therein lies the human nature aspect…were always focusing on the end result and never think to realize, see, or think how far we have come along the respective road of our endeavors!  Loving it!

    • Geoff Talbot January 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

      When you think you are going slow – go slower

      • AscensionForYou January 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

        Cheers Geoff….very Interesting!!!

        From: Disqus
        Sent: Thursday, 19 January 2012, 23:11
        Subject: [sevensentences] Re: How “deadlines” can kill creativity.

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        Geoff Talbot wrote, in response to AscensionForYou:
        When you think you are going slow – go slower
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  9. beckyjoy January 20, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    i can so relate to this one. I’ve been working under some pressure lately and having trouble sleeping thinking about it.

  10. Charlotte January 21, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Oh man, I love deadlines.  Totally agree with Kelly–deadlines make me more creative.  If I’ve got to get something out, my brain ignites under pressure.  Without deadlines, I’d revert to total sloth, my natural state.

    • Geoff Talbot January 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      Okay… really glad that this works for you Charlotte!

  11. Naeem Khattak January 26, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    The moment gone is the moment lost, next moment is not for sure, so what you have is, JUST THIS MOMENT. Choice is yours, what to do with it? 

  12. Tammy J. Palmer March 5, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    I write at my own pace, which is admittedly slow, but when I focus on word counts and make deadlines for myself, nothing good comes out. Why rush ahead with the wrong words when waiting will bring the right ones?


  1. Creativity Tweets of the Week – 01/20/12 « The Artist's Road - January 20, 2012

    [...] “How Deadlines Can Kill Creativity,” Geoff Talbot, seven sentences: I’m not a huge fan of Geoff’s style–a post in seven sentences–as it invariably leads to more questions than answers. Still, this post raised good questions in my mind. [...]

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