Thursday, September 04, 2014

Diary of a Deadline - 32 Days

Sometimes shit happens.

Literally and figuratively. 

This morning I got up knowing my writing time would be short because I had to get to the office a couple of hours early to work on a big project. I still figured I could squeeze in 30 minutes or so of writing.


Before my feet even hit the carpet I noticed the first piece of cat poop. It was next to the wall closest to the bed. Then I noticed two more about a foot away. Then a few more. Little dried brown balls that led me from the bed through the bedroom to the dressing area where I keep the cat box.  It looked like one of my cats needed to go bad and couldn't hold it until reaching the box. And I'm pretty sure I know which one it was.

So that was my morning. On a time crunch to begin with, I now had to pick up cat poop and clean the dirtied areas of the carpet.

I didn't even have time for my coffee!

Poop and projects had gotten in the way of my writing routine just 32 days out from a deadline.  And this was a pretty minor hiccup.

Tip of the Day:
Never assume when you are ahead of schedule
that you will stay ahead of schedule.
Shit happens.  It's called life.

Here are just a few things that can stand in the way of a writer meeting his or her deadline:
  • Illness - either yours or a family member's
  • Computer meltdown (Back your WIP up, people. Everyday!)
  • Your meltdown (trust me, it happens)
  • Unexpected company
  • An accident - try writing with broken bones or a concussion
  • Unusually long hours at the day job
  • A house fire or broken plumping
  • An earthquake, hurricane, tornado
  • Death
Get my drift?

A few years ago I had to work almost an entire week of 12-14 hour days at my day job just weeks before a book deadline. I almost ended up in the loony bin. Another time I had to have unexpected surgery shortly before a deadline.

Always write like alligators are nipping at your butt, not like you're on a leisurely cruise. Even when your deadline seems far away, trust me, it's not. All it would take is one bump in the road to eat up valuable time and turn you into road kill.

Most publishers will give you extensions. Thankfully, I've gotten many over the years. But they can only push it so far. Publishers have catalogues that have to go out and sales people who need to be informed and PR to line up. The author is not the only moving part of a manuscript and a lot of people depend on that book getting turned in within a reasonable amount of time.

Disasters aside, also don't be cavalier about your deadlines. The publishing world does not revolve around you and an author who doesn't take deadlines seriously may soon find themselves without a publisher.

Hopefully, in the next 32 days all I'll have to contend with is a little cat poop.  I wonder if I could get an extension with that excuse?

Oh, and work. I have to go in early again tomorrow.


Di Eats the Elephant said...

This is fabulous. It would take me an hour to have written it, but now I think I'm going to make you what I read daily with my coffee.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Thanks for the kind words. Stay tuned. More to come. And thanks for reading the blog!