More Deadlines, Schmedlines…

Back in October, I wrote a little post about deadlines and how, in true Douglas Adams style,

‘…they go whooshing by…’

The book I was working on at the time was ‘Mortlake‘ (book 2 in my ‘Maps of Time’ series). Somewhat surprisingly, I managed to hit that deadline in a week-or-two-either-side sort of way, which is fine, but since then I’ve found my affinity with Mr Adams’ experience has doubled, tripled and maybe even quadrupled. In other words, by deadlines are out the window.

But I know the problem. The problem is twofold:

1. I’m working on two books at the same time

Actually that’s not quite true, because for a while I was actually working on three books at the same time (one of which has been published), but in any case the result is the same – less time, more work, goodbye deadlines.

2. I must be slowing down

This isn’t so easy to address. Essentially, I still write every day and I still work on one or both of those books most days. But while it feels like I’m writing the same amount, it seems as if it’s taking me longer to get to where I’m going.

Which means that those two books I was (naively) thinking I’d easily finish by Christmas, are still awaiting those final chapters.

Actually, there’s another reason:

3. Stress

Yes, I admit it, I’m stressed about these deadlines and I don’t like it and yes, okay, I know it’s contributing to my overall inability to get on with the tasks in hand and so here’s how I’m going to sort that one out:

To Name It is to Get Rid of It. Right? Well, let’s hope so. Okay, now we’ve dealt with that one…

And finally yes, yes, yes, I know some authors spend years writing a single book, but come on, who the hell wants to immerse themselves in the damn thing for that amount of time? Not me, mate! No, I want to spend a reasonable chunk of time on a book and then move on to the next one (or whatever), because the way it works for me is that I need to be excited about what I’m doing and the longer it takes to finish, the less excited I get. (Stevie King wrote Cujo in a week. Yes, I know he was off his face at the time but still…)

So I suppose what I’m saying is that unless there’s a really good reason for tightening the bolts on our self-imposed deadlines, maybe we should just do what needs to be done in the time it takes and be cool with that?

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