Deadlines: Make ’em and Break ’em

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” ~ Douglas Adams

They’re a funny thing, deadlines. In my day job, they really can’t be broken unless there is a very plausible reason… an event outwith your control, preferably a disastrous mistake caused by someone else. There’s no room for whiny excuses of the ‘my dog ate my homework’ type when you’re dealing with pharmaceuticals and clinical trials.

Source: metro.co.uk

Source: metro.co.uk

In the writing world, however, it seems that they’re made to be broken. There’s some wiggle room. It’s not the end of the world if you deliver your manuscript a few days late. No one will die. Apparently. Although I suppose there could be knock-on effects that won’t earn you many brownie points with your publisher. I wouldn’t actually know, as I set my own deadline for my first novel, Black Wood and I don’t have one at the moment – hence why I am earning a first class degree in procrastination.

I like deadlines. They work for me. Having no deadline makes me lazy and restless. My mind flitters and flutters from one place to the next, hence why I haven’t actually written another book yet… I’ve got an endless number of ideas and I have written lots of words. They’re just not all in the same book.

On 28th June, 2013 – the day I met my agent in his office and signed up with him – I had written 40,000 words. He asked when I could deliver the full manuscript. Edited, of course (so a third draft, in practical terms). I said I’d have it to him on 31st July… a mere 4.5 weeks. I don’t know how, but I did it. I even had a long weekend in Harrogate in the middle of it. In fact, I sent it to him a day early. Then he told me he was off on holiday for two weeks and would read it when he got back! Aaargh!

So here I am with Book 2 (it does have a title, I’m just not quite ready to share it yet)… I haven’t got a deadline, so I am setting my own. Today is the 1st April, and, no – this is not an April Fool’s joke… I have 10,834 words. I’m setting myself a deadline of 6 weeks to finish some form of readable draft.That’s 13th May. An average of 12,000 words per week, with a week spare for a first-edit. I’m basing all this on me having a little bit of time off work… as yet, unconfirmed. Let’s see how I get on 🙂

In the words of Dr Pepper… “what’s the worst that could happen?”

* * *

P.S. Did I mention I’m also planning to sketch out some words of another book at the same time? No? I think I might have officially lost the plot 😉

6 thoughts on “Deadlines: Make ’em and Break ’em

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