Have you heard the phrase: a goal without a deadline is just a dream? I have a lot of feelings about this. Mostly – what the heck is wrong with dreams?

My two brains.

My creative brain hates the word deadline.

It hides from it. It runs from it. It evades it.

The word itself tells my creative brain that if it is not met, the dream will shrivel up and die, right there on the line. Or worse – that when I do meet that deadline, the dream still dies because it’s just well… done.

And so many of my dreams hover around without a plan and mostly, that’s okay. I have hundreds of dreams and I like to pick and choose them when the mood strikes. But I also like to see them come to fruition. Is this where a deadline might be helpful?

My work brain, however, thrives on deadlines.

It works toward them. It knows exactly what needs to be done, how to make it happen, and what the timeline should look like.


The question is how to integrate these two brains.

How can I ensure my creative brain that a deadline is not a death sentence.

Let’s start by renaming it.

What if instead of a deadline, we worked towards a cheering section? Or the next rest station?

Here’s what that could sound like:

When I finish the final draft of my next book at the end of this month, I’ll enter the cheering section. And when I submit the final product into distribution next January, I’ll be at the rest station.

A simple reframe but one that works for me. Words matter to me and if I can use them to work to my advantage, I’m in!

What do say?

If you want help reaching your next cheering section or rest station, let’s chat!

I help creatives find fun and accountability while pursuing their dreams.


PS – there’s a very sneaky hint in this post about my next book. Can you spot it?

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Erica Richmond

 Erica Richmond, the founder of Open Sky Stories believes that words have the power to provide connection & healing. She offers a variety of writing workshops and 1:1 mentoring. Erica has published two books: Pixie and the Bees and The Mail Art Stories Project: Mail Art in the Time of Covid-19

She lives in Peterborough, Canada with her two teens where they find adventures in everyday life.

Follow Erica on Instagram for daily writing inspiration and real-life stories.