I have been writing in a mad rush, trying to hit my deadline with my publishers, Bloomsbury. Writing has taken on the guise of a kind of Olympic endurance event and I have had to try and shut out all distractions (one of which is the Olympics, perversely) and stick to my race plan.
I have a lot of respect for writers from the past who had a less precious attitude to their craft. There was no waiting around for the muse to arrive for pulp fiction writers or for Victorian serial writers, either, for that matter.
Coming from a background in newspaper cartooning, I think I actually work better to a tight deadline. It focuses my mind. It becomes more like a performance - or indeed a race.
Having said all that, one of the reasons I don't miss working for newspapers as an illustrator and cartoonist, is that too often the sense of achievement was more often to do with having completed the work at all, rather than any sense of pride in the quality of the work. Over time, I found this more and more depressing.
But I know that when I set my own projects - projects that have no fixed schedule - they tend to drift. It is hard to set yourself an immovable deadline.
Newspaper deadlines were mostly a matter of hours away, though. Writing deadlines for book publication, however tight, are rarely, if ever, as fierce as that. For me, having a tight deadline means I write more in a shorter space of time. That means I can write more, period.
Increasingly, I think that is the answer for me: to write more.