Friday, April 15, 2011

The Deadlines Get a New Name

So after I talked to my deadlines, I decided that I need a new way to deal with them. I made a folder called Gentle Planning and put a few notes in it. Then I put the whole thing in my subconscious.

About three months later, I’m having some ideas.

The word.

The first is that the word “deadlines” has got to go. Deadlines deadlines deadlines. It has the word “dead” in it! In fact, here’s where the word comes from: in Civil War prison camps, they drew a line in the dirt. If you crossed it you would be shot. The dead line.

If I don’t meet my deadlines, someone will die.

Well my goodness, no wonder they’re scary.

Okay. I’ve learned how to invent or find new words from Havi’s Metaphor Mouse. Let’s do it.

What goes into the meaning of the word deadline (good and bad)?

have to have to have to
you better do this
it must be done
I’ve got a deadline
reminding me
knowing when someone is expecting it
knowing when I’m expecting myself to finish
if I don’t
oh no oh no
helping me plan
making me do it

What does this remind me of?

being threatened
something from outside me

An overseer. With a whip.


What are the qualities of the new metaphor I want?

coming from inside me
helping me do what I want to do
free choice
giving me information
meetings with other people. dates.
giving me energy

What does this remind me of?


Waking up naturally from a nice nap. Where did that come from?
A date. Getting ready for a date.
A meeting time. A tryst. An assignation. A rendezvous!

Photo from The Fellowship of the Ring (Jackson)

A rendezvous!

What is a rendezvous? A secret meeting with an exciting person who makes me happy.

  • I have a rendezvous with this index.
  • The rendezvous for the workshop handouts is April 1.
  • What do we need to do before the April 9 conference rendezvous?


It’s a definite meeting time and place, a commitment.

And it’s fun and exciting and I look forward to it!

I hold it close to me and peek at it every day while I’m waiting for it!

I'd love to hear from you in the comments! What do you call your deadlines? How have you made friends with them?


  1. I love deadlines. They mean I am doing work someone wants and cares about. It also took me years to stop being such a procrastinating perfectionist and learn to work with "good enough," and part of that was having work with deadlines.

    I call them deadlines, and I take pride in meeting them, and then I feel good about myself and laze around a bit as a reward.

  2. Oh, so true! I especially love the point that having a rendezvous means someone is valuing my work.

  3. I LOVE the idea of calling them rendezvous and thinking of secret trysts. Much nicer.I might just borrow your word the next time I need one.

  4. Do Mi--I found this funny and charming...dead lines is kind of a nasty concept for a poet as you can imagine.Unfortunately for me at this point in time I call huge stacks of paper "grading"...

  5. Awesome! I felt myself relaxing just as I read this. Hope the conference was fun!

  6. Miriam, yes, for you I wish live rich vivid lines.

    Joanne, hi! Glad you relaxed...

  7. How wonderful Do Mi! I love the idea of a rendezvous! I just wrote about progress and inspiration . . . we must be doing some similar work. Keep it up dear and I look forward to your next post!

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