Saturday, January 5, 2013

"DEADLINE"


So happy - I just met my DEADLINE! Or should I say extended DEADLINE. At first my manuscript was due on 11/30/12 (and yes I got a jump on it six months before), and then after asking for more time it was changed to 1/2/13. I turned it in yesterday, 1/4/13, on a Friday. But even then I was wondering the normal stuff, like would the editor even get to read it since it was fast approaching the end of the work day leading into a weekend, and that if I turned it in on Monday, 1/7/13, first thing, that would give me more time to re-read and tighten it even more, and then maybe on Monday I’d go until the end of the day and if I hadn’t heard from them I’d go into Tuesday, and then . . .

Whew! I’ve written quite a few books and met a lot of DEADLINES, but this one for some reason, even with it being a 40k word novella as opposed to a 100k word novel, was tough in that . . . well, I don’t know why. Maybe because it was the end of the year with the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year) and all, but I’ve had end of the year DEADLINES before. Maybe because it was around the date of my 12/11/12 Pynk release of Politics.Escorts.Blackmail., but I’ve had pub dates and DEADLINES run into each other before. Maybe it was because it was a continuation, a series title, part two of Erotic City and I wanted to re-read the first book a couple of times to make sure I got everything right. Or maybe it was that I was traveling on tour and back home to L.A. and travel knocks me off my feet, mentally and physically for a few days. I can’t really say why it felt like it was so stressful. But wait . . . I think I just used the correct word, “stress” – DEADLINES are stressful, and with needing to write three more in this series, all six months apart, along with other novels and schedules coming up, I felt stressed. There - I said it.

My mother always said, “Never let them see you sweat.” I’ve lived by that in this business, never wanting readers to know what it’s really like behind the scenes of churning out a novel. But today, I want to admit to the rigors of being a writer, and sometimes I think readers do need to know how hard it is to write a book, especially when your personal life must be tended to, and you must, at the very least, shower and eat. We authors work hard and though we love it, yes we do – I know I do, it's my true gift and my passion – but it is no walk in the park! We must get up from the desk and stretch, get in some exercise, try and get enough sleep, keep up with our notes, do research, interact with the world and answer the phone maybe once a day (and hope our real friends don’t see us as hermits), and pray that our muse is our friend. But, I chose this career. Still though . . . DEADLINE?

So this morning I wondered what it is about the word DEADLINE that bothers me so much. The word itself seems to add to the stress factor. Webster describes DEADLINE as: 1) a line drawn around a prison that a prisoner passes at the risk of being shot (author clears her throat), 2) a date or time before which something must be done (author can handle that), 3) a time after which copy is not accepted for a particular issue of a publication – ding, ding, ding, that’s it! It’s the fear that if you don’t make the DEADLINE, your release date will be pushed back, your publisher will not see you as reliable, there will be no more deals, your readers will forget about you, your manuscript will not be accepted, and a ton of other violations wherein described in henceforth said contract (fork over that signing advance money please, if there was one).

Can we change the name of it from DEADLINE to something else please? I’m open to suggestions. But I guess a horse by any other name is still, a DEAD-LINE! (I refer back to definition number 1)

And still I write! Write on! (Oh, I was just reminded that there's even a time limit in football - maybe I'll just call it my GOAL LINE BLITZ) :)

6 comments:

William Doonan said...

That being said, deadlines minimally affirm that your work has value. If not, nobody would be in a hurry to acquire it. Moreover, in my case, deadlines get me off the couch and into the chair. Without deadlines, self-imposed or not, I'm not sure I'd get much done.

Liane Spicer said...

Maybe it's the word 'dead' inside there, implying if you don't hit it, you're toast? Hate them because I always end up doing an intricate limbo limbo dance and skating under the flaming bar at the last possible second, but love them because they get me off the couch a la William.

Douglas Adams had the best take on this: "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Or something to that effect.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have certainly written to deadlines but I never really enjoy it. I always feel pressured, even if I have plenty of time. I'm just a nervous sort, I guess.

Steven Sylva-aRT said...

I rarely use the word "deadline" for my work, and it may be a little ironic that I don't since I'm a horror writer and so can play with all kinds of meanings with the word. Though it has just occurred to me that when I write journalism pieces as opposed to fiction I use "deadline" for that mostly when I write out my plan for a piece. I'm a freelancer and so it's more flexible with me (at least when it comes to my own work) and I think that's one of the reasons I've decided to stay with the freelance/self-publishing route. lol But I'm still aware I have to kick myself in the katush even when I'm not feeling motivated because the editor looking over my shoulder is dirt-down Poverty (or Would-be Poverty), which I also refer to as an avatar but not in the since of online activity but more in the since of Hinduism. (I won't go into my spirtitual beliefs here though; you can call that another story if you want. Btw, I'm not Hindu, though I'm fascintated with their philosophy.)

Anyway, you sound like you're doing fine, Marissa. Write on! :)

Marissa Monteilh said...

Such positive comments, and so very true - swooshing around as they fly by, avatar-like, and why the word "dead" is part of it, lol! Gotta keep writing and I suppose be glad that we have deadlines, if it's the editor in us looking over our shoudler or the one at the publishing house, and yes, to keep poverty away for sure. And still, we write! :))) Thanks, William, Liane, Chalres and Steven! ;)

Dayton Ward said...

I treat deadlines like a challenge and even a dare. Screw you, deadline. :)

I love the smell of a deadline in the morning!