Tuesday, April 3, 2012

To Kill a Deadline

This is the quote that has sustained me the past few weeks as the realization dawned on me that there was no way that I could get the book finished before my fortieth birthday.  It should still be completed and available on Amazon by the end of the year—just not by the end of July.  I have fought against this truth for a couple of weeks.  I had hoped that getting the new computer might be able to push things forward.  And it has, but there is still only so much time in the day. 

To be honest, for a day or two I felt like a failure.  I typed furiously and logged several thousand words each day.  Then yesterday…I hit the wall.  I was exhausted—mentally and physically.  Then I realized that this deadline was of my own making, and it was within my power to un-make it.  If it takes me a few more months to create the book I want, a book I can be proud of, then so be it! 

This revelation was helped along late last night when I was absorbing some or other television show about Harper Lee and wallowing in my writer’s guilt.  (Luckily, I recorded the show so I could watch it when I am less sleep deprived and guilt-ridden.)  The program mentioned that Harper Lee had finished To Kill a Mockingbird and it was with a publisher and they were working on editing, etc., but that it spent TWO YEARS in rewrites.  Yes, you read that right…even after actually having written the book, Harper Lee spent another TWO YEARS rewriting, tweaking, polishing, wordsmithing and otherwise honing the book to perfection.

Two years.  Two….years…

Suddenly my few extra months does not seem so insurmountable.  So, if you’ll bear with me, I will take the time I need to likewise hone and wordsmith.  And if I hear a familiar whoosh swoop past while I am typing, at least I can take comfort in the fact that I am in good company.


  1. I just adore you. Your fans will wait. Give yourself a break, even if it's only five minutes, which is probably all you'll take anyway :)

  2. I love the way you put it! I'm pretty good at finishing things by a deadline, but then there are times where I have to extend it for a couple months. Don't worry, you're not alone!

  3. That is so true. It's hard when you make crazy deadlines and it's hard to keep them.

    I'm a crazy fast drafter when I have the time, but the editing, ye gods, the editing. It takes forever.

    I know that there's nothing to it but time, so don't go crazy.

  4. Deadlines are more like guidelines. If you do your best to stick to them, that's great. It's not worth making yourself crazy trying to keep one.

    We'll wait until your book is what you want it to be. You'll love it that much more because of it.

  5. Some people spend months and months on edits that still never get their book published. I have read several heartbreaking stories of this, Natalie Whipple comes to mind (she has an awesome blog if you haven' read it). Anyway, these things take time. Do what you gotta do to write the book the way it needs to be written. It will only be better for it!

  6. I think when it's finally done, it'll feel so wonderful all thoughts of past missed deadlines will fade away.

  7. When I took my university degree I was approaching 40. I'd have loved to finish it in time for my birthday, but Uni terms don't work like that. So I was 40 and three months when I graduated. You're 40 for a whole year so you'll still be 40 when it's done. Give yourself a pat on the back. (I didn't finish my first novel till I was 50 plus!)

  8. You all are SO wonderful. Whatever lingering doubts and guilt I had have evaporated after reading all of your supportive words.

    I am even more convinced that I am on the right track, and I can't wait to get it finished and share it with you all!

  9. Take all the time you need. Better to have a great book later than expected than a mish-mash on a self-imposed deadline.