Do you think deadlines are healthy?
Sometimes I wonder. After all, isn’t life stressful enough without adding to the pressure? Well, yes – and no - I think. I’m quite good at setting my own deadlines, and sticking to them. I don’t know if I’m my own worst enemy or best friend but if I say I’ll do something I usually stick to it. I throw down my own gauntlet. (I’ve used this photo elsewhere before but I like it so much I just had to use it again) That said I am just as good at displacement therapy as the next person. I play Scrabble on line with my sister. We began with one game but now have several on the go. There’s sibling rivalry so naturally we don’t just put down the first word we think of. What started as just a few minutes of fun to relieve the daily pressure has become a pressure in itself.
Take this blog as an example. When I began writing – short stories to begin with and then novels – I had absolutely no idea of the amount of time I would have to spend social networking and at first I resented how much it took me away from what I truly wanted to do…WRITE. Circumstances, however, alter cases. With two books published in the same year social networking became a necessary and integral part of my day’s activities. And I LOVE IT! Okay, I’m not a great fan of Twitter but I suspect that’s more because I don’t use it properly. I could (and sometimes do) spend hours on Facebook interacting with other writers and with friends, and other writers have now become friends because of it. The blog has only been running for just over a couple of months with a weekly posting, some of them from guests but still requiring my input. I love that too. Time consuming it may be but it’s satisfying and in any case I love the way it looks. I have a fondness for owls, you understand.
Does anyone reading this have difficulty finding time to actually read (yeah, I know, split infinitive). I have a pile of books, literally and figuratively – on my Kindle – and look forward to the occasional train journey so I have a chance to indulge myself.
Back to the subject of deadlines. I have one for my work in progress. It isn’t set in stone but neither do I have the luxury of taking it easy. During the past few weeks I have been struck down three times with one lurgy or another. Not the sort of thing where you can muddle through. I had to succumb. On the few occasions I was able to sit up and take notice I concentrated on social networking. So now I’m left playing catch up with my novel. Pressure? Having spent some time (due to said lurgies it took weeks and weeks) incorporating several changes suggested by my lovely agent, Lisa Eveleigh, of the Richard Becklow Literary Agency, I began last Wednesday by going right back to the beginning. Three chapters fine-tuned and three more the following day. Thus far I've covered 43% of the total. I thought I hated this part of the process but I’m absolutely loving it. So much so that I’m having to pace myself, I’m not sure if the pressure is coming from me or the manuscript but, hey, who cares. All things being equal and lurgy-free I should make that deadline with ease.