Deadlines. They're pesky critters. We map out our allotted time, spread out the workload, congratulate ourselves for being so organized, think we have all the time in the world... and then they creep up on us and pounce. They take us by the scruff of the neck and shake us until we're a quivering mass of "OMG, I'm NEVER gonna get this done in time! Aaaaaargh!"
I've heard authors say they work better under pressure. There's no opportunity for your inner editor to start yammering in your ear because you just have to get those words down as quickly as you can. I've heard authors say deadlines are hell on their creative process but they've learned to push through them. Pantsers have become plotters from sheer necessity. Hitting daily word counts becomes paramount.
Deadlines are part and parcel of the publishing world. We all just suck it up and deal.
But what happens when you decide to be your own boss, and you call all the shots? What happens when you're the author and the publisher? Surely you can wave buh-bye to those pesky deadlines and just cruise, right?
I've self-published five books since I started this adventure in August last year. Granted they were already completed manuscripts, but three of them required a major point of view rewrites (from first person heroine's POV, to third person hero and heroine's POV.) Not so punishing as writing a new story from scratch, but still a bit of a mission. And here's the thing: each time I published another book, rather than taking a break to smell the roses and celebrate, I'd dive right into the next. It was a compulsion. I couldn't help it. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's an ingrained habit?
You see, BIGP (Before I Got Published) I worked to self-imposed deadlines. It was just something I did. And man, those babies were as real to me as any publisher's deadline. No industry professional cared if I didn't send in that query or partial or full manuscript. No contest coordinator cared if I didn't get than entry in on time. Nobody gave a toss if I goofed off and finished reading that book instead of writing. I knew this, but it didn't matter. The sense of urgency I felt as my fake deadline loomed was very real, and I would get cranky--very very cranky--if anything happened to throw me off my self-imposed schedule.
Currently I'm writing a sequel to Freaks of Greenfield High, and you'd better believe this dedicated pantser plotted the entire story out first, and has a self-imposed deadline looming. In fact, I'm hating on writing this blog post because I soooo want to dive back into my story. (40k down, around 30k to go--Woohoo! So close I can taste it!)
I have fans asking for more Crystal Warriors, and I'm thinking OMG, that's great!!! Actual fans who've loved the first three books so much they want me to write more? How freaking amazing is that??? And ideas are starting to zing around in my head for a 4th book, and I know it's gonna get to a stage when I *have* to write it or go nuts. But... I really wanted to rewrite that fantasy trilogy that's been languishing on my hard-drive and skew it more toward YA before I tackled another "new" story. This trilogy is preying on my mind, demanding to be worked on. I *have* to do it. And--
OMG, I need a clone!!!
Since that's not exactly a viable option, self-imposed deadlines here I come. And yanno what? I'm grateful to have made them a habit and incorporated them into my daily writing life because if not for deadlines, I'm such a bookworm I'd have my nose permanently stuck in a book. I think my record to date is having read 30 books in one month. If not for those self-imposed deadlines, I'd laze round on my bed and read all day and never get any writing done! Well, at least until my Muse delivered a swift kick up the bum and reminded me how miserable I get, and what a wretched person I am to live with, when I'm not writing ;-)
So what're you like with deadlines?
- Do you need them to get anything done?
- Or do you just go with the flow and everything that needs doing somehow gets done? (I promise I'll try not to hate you too much *g*)