Not Making My Deadline

If I have one big flaw as a writer (indeed, as a participant in life!) it’s that I’m terrible for deadlines.  I’m the one who streaks in to work at the bell (and sometimes a couple of minutes after the bell).  I’m the one who always did my homework the night before it was due (and often in the class before it was due).  And making a writing deadline is a hit-or-miss prospect for me, especially if it’s self-imposed.

I received a conditional pass in the Writing class I did in high school because of my inability to meet a deadline.  Impatient with it by the last term I just turned in all of the required work in a big batch in advance.  This did not amuse my English teacher and I flunked the semester.  This kept me from a perfect honour roll status through high school, and strongly influenced my decision to not pursue writing in university; and indeed, not to go to university at all, since writing was the only thing I really wanted to study.

I’ve gotten better at it over the years, but the truth is this is just not something my brain does well.  Time and me don’t get along.  I always think there’s more of it than there is.  Unlike the perception most people have of those who are perpetually late, I am anything but lazy; my problem is that I’m always trying to do too much!

Also, I don’t do “short” story well.  How in the hell do people write under 3000 words anyway?  I haven’t been able to do that since the third grade!

My latest failure in making a deadline was in making an anthology on soldiers and an apocalypse that I wanted to make today in an Australian publication.  I was trying to write a story about British Royal Navy sailors encountering a viral apocalypse during the Napoleonic Wars.  Ain’t gonna happen I don’t think: it’s 7:30 pm over there on deadline date.  And the story is turning into a short novel anyway as more complications reveal themselves to me.

Oh well!  On to the next Wyrd West Chronicles story and my Kindle Storyteller entry!

What suggestions do you have for helping to make deadlines?

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7 thoughts on “Not Making My Deadline

  1. Hello,

    I found your site after searching publishing topics. I really like what you have going on over here and with your permission, I would like to become a follower.

    I have a different perspective on deadlines. I don’t set them. I do my best but I write under the theory that you cant cook a meal any faster than physics will allow. Therefore I don’t write any faster than my lifestyle allows. Therefore, no deadline and no guilt.

    But, if someone wants to pay me a significant amount of money. I will crank out some wonderfully fast 3rd grade dribble.

    rob

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! I am inclined to agree with you, and certainly I did when I was younger! But the professionals tell you that making a deadline is essential to making any amount of money at this at all!

      For instance, in this case I did end up finishing it in a form that could serve for the submission I intended (thought I have promised myself I’ll write the novel later). If I had not, I would not stand *any* chance of getting the professional per-word pay that this anthology is offering. Further, because I did it so close to the deadline, I feel that the writing isn’t as tight as it could have been (ie. I couldn’t consult my usual editor) so it probably stands *less* chance of making the anthology than it would have, had I completed it a few days prior, as I had intended.

      Now, granted, I can always try to find somewhere to place the novel when it’s done, and I’m sure I will, but a novel is a much bigger commitment. I’m looking at a couple of years before I can reasonably expect to see any return from that! Also, it’s a bit of a niche market, I think. It’s historical science fiction. The closest I can think of are the Temeraire novels by Naomi Novik, and I watched a show where mainstream literature people read that for a book club, which was a marvelous object lesson in how you either like science fiction and fantasy, or you don’t, and no amount of tight writing will ever overcome the “weirdness” of such a plot!

      So that’s going to be a hard row to hoe. I’m still going to do it, of course, because the story has to be written now, but . . . 😉

      I think those of us who are struggling to make it like to think that those who write fast write crap. It’s certainly true in many cases, and there does seem to be a danger of becoming formulaic. But it’s not necessarily true. I think we don’t want to believe that someone can be good *and* fast; in the same way that we don’t want to believe that someone can be really big and strong *and* smart; or someone could be pretty *and* nice. It just doesn’t seem fair somehow. But some people just are. I’m not one of those people, but I’m trying to tighten up my habits and get better, and part of doing that is in finding a way to hold myself accountable. Writing about it in a public forum is one of the ways for me to do that.

      Like

  2. Hey, I find this is a common thing – I can’t lift a finger if I don’t have a deadline so we have the same problem but from different poles. I would suggest, and I don’t know how much time you’ve got every day, to set a goal (in words) every day and try to reach it (even if you’re not working on a story, just write stuff) – it should become a habit quickly.

    To spare you some time, I’ve made a simple printable sheet that’s on my blog in the post about deadlines, so just set your date and time and of course, your goal. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I know, I suggested you try to have a fixed goal every day and after a while it won’t matter how many words you write – you’ll be doing it every day. I had troubles with procrastination my whole life (I also could write a lot when I was in the mood or do nothing when I wasn’t). So the word count isn’t that important as writing daily is. 🙂

        Like

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