The “D” word

Deadlines

That word strikes fear in the hearts of writers everywhere.  Well, most writers.  I write commercials and work with deadlines every day.  I am very lucky.  I set most of those deadlines.  So if I look at my “to do” list and notice that a particular date is looking rather popular among my clients, then I adjust the deadlines.  That way, I can be sure that the actual deadline (the one the production/traffic teams care about) is met.

I think I speak for most writers when I say that procrastination is a constant struggle and can be deadly.  So, we often set deadlines for ourselves to keep us on track.  With regard to my own writing, I don’t micromanage myself.  I don’t bother with daily or even weekly deadlines.  I like to keep the process as organic as possible.  But I do believe in setting a reasonable deadline to keep me on track.  Otherwise I think I’d stay in “daydream mode” and never get anything actually written down.

I had a pretty firm idea as to when I wanted my next book to be released.  Again, being an Indie author, I can set my own schedule.  But this year got off to a rather unfortunate start and I found myself unable to write for a while.  So that original schedule has been amended a bit.  To be honest, I was quite worried for a while and am just happy to be able to write at all.

Another snag in the process has been that I am actually researching and working on the story outlines for not one… not two… but three projects.  At once.  That’s not a horrible problem to have, admittedly.  But it really makes it difficult to focus and commit.  To choose just one story seems to me like I am abandoning the others.  Thankfully, they’re patient.  For the most part.

My sister and I are going to head to the coast for a girl’s long weekend.  Unfortunately, it’s not until August.  So I decided that a great way to help pass the time would be to get the first draft finished.

MeetingWhen the characters start to show up unannounced, that’s when I know that I am on to something.

I spent the better part of two days trying to coax a villain out of the shadows.  He doesn’t have a name but I do know a bit more about him, which is usually how it goes.  A character appears and introduces themselves in their own way.  I silently observe to determine if I should push for more information or let them divulge whatever they feel comfortable revealing.  Then I dive into my pile of reference material and try to find a name that suits them.  It’s a process that I really enjoy.

How do you deal with deadlines?  Are you comfortable or do they simply serve to stress you out?  Do you procrastinate?  Looking forward to your thoughts.

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