I love deadlines. I need them. A deadline creates a need for forward movement and if I don't have an actual deadline for my writing work, I always give myself one. If I don't, it's far too easy to take three or four nights a week off from writing and not achieve what I want to.
I learned to be ambitious about my deadlines from doing NaNo. If I can write 50K in 30 days during November, then I should be able to do something similar at other points in the year.
Over the course of writing a novel, I usually set myself multiple deadlines. First, a first draft deadline. I know I can finish a first draft in 6-8 weeks so once I sit down to write the first pages of a new project, I pick a date 8 weeks away and set that as a deadline for finishing the draft. If I get close to that date and am still floundering around toward the middle of the book, I re-assess and pick another date to be done by. But usually, just having that date in mind is enough to push me through.
When revising, I set myself smaller deadlines. Maybe a week to get through the first five chapters. If that works for me, I can look at the number of chapters I have in total, divide that by five, and set a deadline to finish revising.
Of course I don't always meet my deadlines. I promised myself I'd get STUMPED back to my agent on Tuesday this week, but although I've finished the revising, I haven't exported the file from Scrivener into Word and formatted it yet. I've given myself until the end of today to do that.
Do you like deadlines? Do you work better with them?