I'm exactly the same.
I think part of the reason being bufferless is so seductive is that it's really, really, really nice to be able to use feedback on one chapter to inform the writing and structure of the next. Editing the next chapter to fit new ideas just isn't as good.
254 posts delivered on schedule. 200 or so delivered without a buffer, with that vague stress that comes with wondering if I get sick, or my place burns down or a storm knocks out the power.
But I think the writing is better, for being more immediately informed.
I feel you about the lack-of-buffer guilt. But you know? These days I don't think it's necessarily a weakness to have no buffer (like Wildbow said!). I mean, sure, if something catastrophic happened it'd be nice but there's something to say for having a steady, even pace about production where you don't get too far ahead of yourself and you don't lag behind. I used to aim for a buffer but these days I'm much more relaxed and even embrace the lack of it as being good for production
OR... I only feel this way because I only have one chapter left. Aw jyeah!
I think that's terrible and that you should all be ashamed of yourselves. Get back to work, or I'll come to your house and beat you up. Or at least, ring your doorbell until you get really annoyed.
No, but more seriously, I think there's a difference between "not creating a buffer" and "not working." From my experience, not having a buffer only works when I've been actively brainstorming or otherwise thinking about the story while "procrastinating," which isn't really the same thing. I mean. I'm still writing the story in my head, basically. Even if I'm not mapping out what I want to say word by word, it's still working on the story, and it makes things a hell of a lot easier when I actually get around to writing text. Maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine how someone could continuously meet deadlines without either keeping a reliable buffer or actively brainstorming. If there's someone doing that, then... WE CAN'T BE FRIENDS. WE'RE JUST TOO DIFFERENT, YOU AND I.
I have a one-chapter buffer most of the time - I put the new one up on Thursdays, so on Tuesdays I sit down, read and re-draft the upcoming Thursday's chapter, then write one for next week. A bigger buffer might be handy - the other week, I actually got sick, which nearly caused a problem. Still, like Wildbow said, I enjoy being able to incorporate feedback/sudden ideas quickly.
And congrats Amy for being one chapter away from finished! That's exciting! Are you planning on starting another serial? Or taking a break for awhile?
Personally I've had buffers twice. When I initially started my serial, I had a buffer of roughly six weeks. Also, once when Robert Rodgers (he's got a few stories listed here) wrote a story with my characters that was 17,000 words long, I let his story run for a couple of weeks.
In both cases, lacking the pressure of a deadline, I let the buffer lapse from a few weeks, to one, to none.
I really like the idea of a buffer, but I don't work well with one apparently.
As for how a person meets deadlines when starting the day it's due? Well, like Naomi, I always know where the next post is going. Generally I've got a couple episodes worth of important details figured out. I also abstractly know where the story's plot is going straight to the end. I don't know if that fits George's criteria for "actively brainstorming," but it works for me.