I'm a deadline driven writer, in fact, I don't get my arse in gear for much unless I know I'm counting down the hours to a submission date. It's the same with life: if I need to decorate a bedroom, say, I order a new carpet and book the fitter. Now we have to get it done in the time frame. The sad thing is, with my crappy spine I'm reduced to painting the middle sections on the wall (at best), all the easy bits. Everyone else has to do all the prep work, heave out old carpets, move furniture. At least with writing the deadlines are just mine.
Writing a novel doesn't come with deadlines. You have an unspecified amount of time - say the rest of your life - to produce a draft that someone you don't even know might like. That's too wishy washy for me, and I just start lots of things and don't finish them. I couldn't find deadlines, so I started going in for competitions. That gave me a framework of deadlines to work towards (even if I didn't always enter).
So now I've learned to set deadlines for myself. Borrowed Time: first draft finished June 2011 (tick), second draft finished September (nearly) in case I was longlisted. Quick revisions for Mslexia because I was longlisted, 48 hours (tick). Now I've set myself the deadline of the London Book Fair (16th April) to finish my edits, send them as agreed to the lovely agent, then do the line edits etc. she proposes and hand it back ready for possible editors to view.