I work better with deadlines. I’m not fond of them, but deadlines force me to focus and complete tasks. When my sister and I owned the printshop, deadlines were imposed on us by our customers. Whether they were ridiculous or not (and often they were unbelievable), we worked to them. Not meeting a deadline was unacceptable.
We opened the printshop in 1984 with Mom. For a while, the three of us were the only ones there. In those early years, it seemed as if every Thursday night, I stayed at the shop, printing until four in the morning, then fell asleep on the floor until Mom and Carol opened the front door for business at eight. (We finally hired a press person and that silliness went away.) But for years after that, Carol and I did whatever it took to make sure projects were finished on time. I can’t tell you the number of times you could have walked into our living room and found all of us (including Dad), assembling booklets and newsletters, mailings and whatever other large project required our attention.
Anyway, deadlines. Those years of practice (no, I won’t call it torture) taught me a lot about time management. I still require a target deadline in order to finish the tasks in front of me. Friends insist that these are my own self-imposed deadlines and I can be flexible with them.
Not really. Because I refuse to take a step down that slippery slope. Each time a deadline passes that I don’t meet, I lose traction. This is my job, this is my livelihood, this is my future.
Wow, this is not at all what I was trying to say in this post. The last thing I want to do is get all self-righteous about deadlines. Life is much more fun than that.
See, the crazy thing about me meeting deadlines is that I have reverted to those Thursday nights. Right now I’m in a dead heat to finish this book by the deadline that I have created. That means that I am either thinking about the story or I’m writing words like mad.
When I write, I can’t have interruptions (other than kittens – everyone needs kittens (or pupper-dogs) ). I might as well just not write while there are other things going on. Activity on FB (yeah, yeah. I know, turn it off), phone calls, messaging, any number of things. I love every one of those distractions and know that I can wait to write and we’ll all be happy.
Around nine thirty in the evening, things slow down enough for me to change my focus An Evernote file is opened, I type the Chapter Number, re-read the end of the last chapter just to make sure I’m ready and then I go … and go and go and go. Some nights I can get through only a half of a chapter because I’m exhausted. Other nights … well … I’ve seen plenty of sunrises, but from the back end. When y’all are stretching your arms and slamming your alarms off, I’m begging the cats to tuck themselves in around me so I can relax and fall asleep.
The problem is that two hours later, they’re ready for more play time. But that’s another story.
In Diane’s perfect world, a personal robot would gladly do the tasks that need to happen during the rest of the world’s work day while I sleep (and oh, by the way, keep the kittens quiet for me, please). I’m sluggish and foggy-brained during the day (I never was much of a morning person – oh, I have funny stories around that … eh … funny to me, probably won’t translate well to anyone else). At night, though? The lights turn on. Every fiber of my being comes alive. The caffeine that I’ve ingested up to that point explodes in my cells, buzzing and humming until I pour it out. These are the moments that I live for. This is why I love what I do. It’s why I’m a hermit – the noise of the world falls away and its silence gives way to the cacophony in my mind.
These next two weeks are stressful, rewarding and exciting as I push to finish the initial writing of the book. Once the words are written, re-writes and edits happen until I have a raw first draft. There is so much more that happens from that point forward – beta readers (and I have plenty, not looking for more, though I thank you for your interest), cover and title creation, writing a synopsis, final editing (several times), formatting for paperback and Kindle, a couple of short stories and writing email newsletters, marketing … oh my.
So I cherish these last two weeks of intensive writing and re-writing. For now, this is all I have to focus on and though I am sleeping at strange and odd hours, it’s just the best fun of all.
BY THE WAY!
Don’t forget that this Friday and Saturday the Bellingwood Boxed Set (Books 1-3) will be FREE for Kindle. It’s a perfect opportunity for you to invite your friends to join you in this crazy little town we love. On Friday morning, I’ll create a post on Facebook with links so you can share them. THANK YOU for being part of this journey with me.