It was two o’clock in the morning.

I was just finishing up work when I got an email from an old client.

The needed a huge writing order completed within a little over 24 hours, and it was big enough that I would need to start working immediately

I thought about it for a moment, and then told them that I would have to pass.

A few minutes later I received another email doubling the price.

What do you know? My schedule just opened up.

We finalized the details and I started writing.

And writing.

And writing.

I wrote through the rest of the night and well into the next day, with a short break to walk my dog, because typing that many hours in row is rather dull.

But later that day, sometime after midnight, with the deadlines drawing near, I was finished. I sent the order of just over 17,000 words and 59 pages. Often I wish I could send the order through the mail. 59 pages has a nice heft to it, and it brings a bigger sense of accomplishment.

It was long, and hard, and not terribly interesting writing but I enjoy the challenge. I love close deadlines. I love trying to see how far I can push it. I made a business of it.

I love close deadlines and working on multiple projects.

I like operating close to the edge. When I first started, I had to say yes to everything and anything. I lived by A.J. Liebling’s quote “I can write faster than anyone who can write better, and I can write better than anyone who can write faster.”

I even wrote an article about it:

I certainly wasn’t a great writer but I was at least a fast one, and I turned in more projects than anyone else.

And the momentum just kind of stuck. I still like the frenetic pace with which I take one projects.

I don’t often think about jugglers, but I like to think at least a few of them take a perverse pleasure in trying to see how many balls they can keep up in the air.

I don’t juggle, but I like seeing how many plates I can keep spinning.

I do it in fiction too. I was writing two stories a day and posting them for a stretch. Then three, then four. I topped out at writing five short stories in a day, but soon I’ll try it again. I’m aiming to writing a books worth of short fiction in a month.

I haven’t decided when but soon.

When I first tried to write short stories I would often procrastinate and barely get one down, but then I realized that’s not how I wrote best.

I wrote best under pressure. So now I give myself arbitrary deadlines and the words just flow. There’ s certain clarity when writing under pressure and it really helps, at least me at least.

So, I will continue writing close to the edge, as it’s where I’m happiest.

Written by

Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.

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