The impetus of deadlines

Friday, I had an email to compose and send (the kind that involves checking a contract first and then careful, tactful wording) that I really, really didn’t want to, but had to be an adult and do it.

I also had to pack for a trip, and write this post.

Guess who got a chapter finished and two new chapters written instead?

Now, I was adult. I got the packing done, and the email and its followup sent… by midnight…

But I didn’t get this post done, which I didn’t remember until roughly 10 hours and 250 miles later.

Which is fine. Because if I do this on the road, in a hotel, without a contract at hand… well, I don’t need one for this. And I have everything packed (except what I just unpacked to make a cuppa.) Sometimes, adult life is about choosing which deadline will slip, because it *can*, in order to make the others viable.

And hey, 3 more chapters down.

The WIP, by the way, has now passed 61K. And I’m nowhere near done. I know some of you will think this is no big issue, but I’m one of those writers than has to work hard to hit 40K to make it officially a novel.

So I started grumbling in bad song parody, “This is the WIP that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on my friends…”

Of course, about the time I complain to Alma Boykin that I’m ready for these characters to be out of my head and done with, it’s been a year, and I can’t wait for the novel to be done so I can move on…

She gives me the stare of… I think it’s 17 novels / collected shorts in her Familiar series? And then started giggling. “They heard you….”

(expletive not recorded, but definitely expressed.)

How are your WIPs going?

26 thoughts on “The impetus of deadlines

  1. Mine is zooming along. That’s because it’s November. I do National Novel Writing Month in November almost every year. What’s so great about it?

    It has a deadline, and in the second year of doing it, I realized it was a “real” deadline. NaNo only lasts for a month, which means you get to use it as a tool for a limited time only–and that’s a deadline. So my daily word count doubles in November, generally, and this year a little more.

    I don’t always get to start a new book in November. Sometimes I use NaNo to work on an existing WIP, but this year I got to start from word one, which is kind of great because I find beginnings easy, even if it is book 6 in a series.

    1. NaNo as a concept has worked well for me. I’ve found that about a month really is how long I should be spending turning an outline into a first draft. I try to focus less on word counts and more on story, percentage, i.e. since today is the 13th, and my outline has 20 chapters, I should be working my way through Chapter 9…

      Although NaNo as an organization has started to annoy me. Their website is getting worse and worse, and the “writing events” seem more or less just Zoom calls at the moment. It’s a pity, because it was one way I had for meeting other writers.

  2. With 2 books in the unreleased series finished and the 3rd underway, I’m on pause backfilling some worldbuilding I’d skipped over in my enthusiasm. The “research” part of that is essentially done, the collected notes for what to change are in hand, and now… I just have to do a pervasive (but thankfully not plot-or-character-related) edit for all the settings. (And I am SO happy I haven’t released the books yet…)

    All I have to do now is clear the underbrush of distractions (which is the biggest job of all) so I can get back to book 3 and zoom forward again. It’s irritating, but necessary. At least all the covers are done, so I have something to inspire me.

  3. I choose between hard and soft deadlines.* Hard deadlines are those upon which employment/income/survival depends – Day Job, contracts, paying the bills, certain medical appointments. Soft deadlines are imposed by me or are taken up voluntary with the understanding on all sides that Life might interfere. I do owe my readers an apology, because I said I’d get a print edition of something out this fall [soft deadline] and it’s not happening. I don’t like doing that.

    *If your mind rephrased that into a lyric from “West End Girls,” you might be of a Certain Demographic or Age.

  4. The WIP is getting ready to wrap up. The Boss Fight is written, the secondary climax is written, I just need to link the pieces together. Then decide which of a handful of projects to finish next. I’m thinking the pure fantasy stories, since those will be shorter and will be a mental break before I dig back into the Scottish thing.

  5. WIP is currently a bit stalled. Having ideas and parts for it but don’t seem to have a time to write.

    I should probably start writing bits on my phone and emailing them to myself for integration.

  6. Currently WIP is all the characters sitting around trying to relax. The Bad Guy is out there somewhere, but he hasn’t made a move recently.

    I go through periods like this when Life is bothering me (no nightmares, just bothersome irritations) and the characters take a little holiday. All they do is go to the cafe, go shooting, go here go there, etc.

    Eventually something will happen, I just have to continue writing and wait for them to be damn good and ready. If the relaxation part becomes tedious I can always edit for length. The reader doesn’t necessarily need to attend the laid-back barbecue where confessions are confessed and it all ends in giggles.

    Although, at over 100,000, the end better be nigh or I’ll need a chainsaw and a dump truck for the “pruning.”

    Possibly I could take what I’ve got, carve off the 60k action part and call it a Novel plus a half of the next one. That might be worth doing. Change the package, not the contents. ~:D

  7. I am *so* ready to be done with the Alliance. I mean, how many ways are there to cope with your huge Empire completely collapsing? I thought I covered it pretty well and could move on. My Muse disagrees.

    Guess who won? And won the second round . . .

  8. I have a bit over 18k words done for my WIP, progressing slower but also making progress with other projects so I guess it all balances out.

  9. 68k first draft sent to Betas last week before relatives arrived. 22k done on “this wasn’t what i wanted to write, and furthermore, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo!”

  10. I just loaded the Dante project on Friday and it went live six hours later. I’m in shock. I expected a lot of pushback from Amazon. Then my sister, who had read the manuscript, bought the Kindle version and uploaded a review. More shock. Search Amazon with my name if you are interested. It’s published under a pen name but that’s still the best way to find it.

  11. Friday, I had an email to compose and send (the kind that involves checking a contract first and then careful, tactful wording) that I really, really didn’t want to, but had to be an adult and do it.

    I also had to pack for a trip, and write this post.

    Guess who got a chapter finished and two new chapters written instead?

    Ah, the “procrastinate by doing” strategy, one of my favorites. I started in my second semester of college, back when I would rather do anything than work on the paper I was supposed to write on galois theory. I managed to do several problem sets, take an econ test, and get my room cleaned and packed while avoiding that one.

    Speaking of which, due to the fact that I really don’t want to work on advertising for my craft fair, the WIP is going pretty well. I’m about halfway through my NaNo novel, with my main fear being that I might run out of novel before I run out November. However, at the moment, the next thing I need to write is the death of a character, I really don’t wanna, and I think craft fair advertising might get a big boost tomorrow…

    1. I call it “active vs. passive procrastination.” Active procrastination is doing things that are NOT what you are supposed to be working on. Passive procrastination is staring at the wall/out the window/screen and with a test-pattern running through your head. 😉

  12. Currently stuck trying to figure out how much I want to change real world events to work in my fictional parts. Altering history ain’t easy. 🤯

  13. I just threw away a scene I’d been avoiding working on for a while. I decided it was TMI for the readers and not doing anything for the supporting character’s arc. Progress!

  14. I wrote 150 parts of a series over the past few years and put them on WordPress and then deleted them all because I want to serialize them into novellas for Vella. I always hated the first story arc (I’ll never get it right, no matter how many times I edit it), and the second was better but really just filler, and the third was better still, but now I’m almost up to issue #75 and I’m consider hacking off the entire first part because I’m afraid there are too many boring passages, and the really interesting stuff all happens later anyhow. Anything interesting that happens in the earlier arcs, well, that’s why God invented flashbacks.

    The newer stuff I’m currently writing will get the same treatment but I’m much more confident in its quality than the earlier stuff. I’m glad I know how it all ends because it makes writing towards it so much easier, including the things that change it along the way, like one character meeting her friend’s brother… This month is a low-output month for me because my department is busy with billing, so NaNo for me, maybe forever.

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