Tag: timeline

The Foreigner

I’m interrupting my regular post schedule for something a little different: a guest post. My oldest children collaborated on a story and I’m pleased to feature it here! “The Foreigner” by Joshua Bird. The illustrations are by Sarah Bird. Please let them know in the comments what you think.


Hammer met metal, smashing upon the anvil.


Another strike, forcing the metal into shape.


The blacksmith took the horseshoe off of the anvil, and put it into a basin of water.


The horse shoe was finished. The blacksmith took the horseshoe and put it with the rest of his wares.

“Pardon me sir!”

The blacksmith turned to the door to look at the speaker.

The speaker was an unusual looking person with odd clothing, most likely a foreigner.

“What do you want?” said the blacksmith.

“I would like to buy something from you.” said the foreigner.

The blacksmith looked at his wares, and selected one of his more expensive items, an ornate sword with a golden scabbard.

“What about this?” asked the blacksmith.

“Perfect!” replied the foreigner.

The foreigner then took out a bag and took some coins for the purchase, and gave the coins to the blacksmith.

The blacksmith took a look at the coins and saw something amiss.

“I do believe that you have forged these coins foreigner.” said the blacksmith

“How-What makes you say that?” nervously replied the foreigner.

“Because the coins say that they were made this year, but have the face of the king that has been dead for ten years.” said the blacksmith.

The foreigner paled, and fled with the sword.

The blacksmith immediately chased after the foreigner, but lost him on the streets.

“Alright, that is something to mark down as something that history books got incorrect!” said the foreigner as he prepared a strange device, “Next time, find currency to compare with in the time period first, then spend it” there was a green flash, and he was gone.


Some people thrive on deadlines. Other people find them overwhelming. It’s important to know which you are, so that you know how to handle them, because deadlines are a part of modern life.

I do pretty well with deadlines for the most part. I get more done when I have a deadline in mind. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to put things off. I usually create a timeline, break things into smaller tasks, and give each task a deadline of its own. That’s when things work well.

The problem I have with deadlines occurs when I have too many at once or too many things happening at the same time as the deadline. At that point, I feel overwhelmed and the deadline becomes demotivating. I start procrastinating and putting off even thinking about the deadline. Nothing gets done at all. As I miss the smaller deadlines, the work piles up and becomes even more overwhelming. I can usually push through and get things done last minute, but the work quality is low and I hate every minute.

When I have outside deadlines, I try to compensate for this possible problem by giving myself an earlier deadline and build a timeline to make that work. I try to sneak in small tasks as often as I can, so that I don’t put them off. That way, I have extra time to convince myself to complete everything if things go crazy partway through. I also plan in a lot of bribery. It helps to imagine how nice it will be to get everything done early and be done without any last minute craziness.

Personal deadlines are trickier. I know that they are self-imposed and there is no penalty for not completing them. It’s easy to let the deadline go when there are so many other things to do. Some measure of outside accountability helps. That’s how I haven’t missed a day posting on this website, or how I have daily sketches in my sketchbook, even if I don’t always work on either one every day. There is strength in meeting other people’s expectations or “not missing a day,” at least on paper.

I have been thinking about this recently after talking to Kathy Decker about some of her personal deadlines and how that helps her create larger works of art. It seems like such a big step to go from spending a half hour or an hour on an illustration to spending days and days on a painting. Would giving my self a deadline like joining a scheduled amateur art show or creating a Christmas card to send out each year help? I don’t know.

I’d like to start to work on bigger things. I just need to make sure that when I’m ready, the deadlines will be motivating and not demotivating. I think it may take some planning.

How do you feel about deadlines? How do you motivate yourself when you’re running out of time? How do you motivate yourself to work on larger projects?