Fuck me. A deadline looms – omnipresent and depressing. There is nothing quite like the act of completing a work in progress (hereby referred to as WIP). Satiating, fulfilling, pretty much damn near orgasmic. Then again, there is nothing else simultaneous to that fan-fucking-tastic sensation of completing the WIP like the soul-crushing oblivion that is THE DEADLINE.
Writers the world around, throughout time and space, face this daunting giant with every project. Some face it in a matter of weeks, some in a matter of months, and others in a matter of years, but, regardless of rank, every writer runs across THE DEADLINE.
There are two types of deadlines:
1) the typically considered, Publisher Deadline. – This deadline can be particularly stressful to the writer. As authors we
as in most of us, that is challenge ourselves to start, work, and complete a project by a certain date. We have a “time frame” in mind for publication of the book. Sometimes this time frame is verbalized to others; often times, we keep our big fat mouths shut because we don’t want to worry about disappointing future/existing fans. The Publisher’s Deadline, however, is scary because, on top of the pressure to complete a project and get it out there, we now have a contractual legal obligation to put down the fucking telly remote and pick up a pen, under penalty of – gulp – lawyers. YIPES!
2) the less often considered – Personal Deadline. – This is the shittiest deadline any author can face. For a first time author, this deadline can be a “non” issue. Friends and families (while they continually support fledgling writers –
well,most of the time), I believe, don’t actually expect a writer to come up with a finished product for publication. The notion of their lil cousin or lil niece being “a writer” is quaint and, possibly, mention-worthy. But, in actuality, they don’t anticipate anything to come of it. THEN the lil cousin or lil niece does finish; they even publish! That’s a whole new ballpark for the (still) fledgling writer. However, this fledgling writer now has a book credit to their name. Ppl (publishers, editors, agents, family, friends, and – gulp – fans) have expectations to be met. The self-imposed Personal Deadline for “the next” WIP can be the worst for writers. I mean, it sucks to be sued. But you don’t live with lawyers every day. You see your family, your friends, your – gulp – fans in your daily life. And they are watching, waiting.
So what does a writer do when faced with THE DEADLINE? You do what you always do as a writer: shut your mouth, stick your nose in the WIP, and write, dammit. When friends are partying, you write; when family go on vacation, you write; when Medusa Women from Mars collect taxes at your front door, you write! This is what we do. Many fledgling
idealistic, moronic, dreamer writers think that creativity is spontaneous, an act of kindness. <—rolls eyes. When in reality it is an act of sheer force, of determination, will, and (most importantly) effort to create a work of art. The true writer depends on inspiration and creativity less than 10% of their entire career (and, I would say, this inspiration is 8% coming up with the idea, 1% directed inspiration, and 1% other shit possible divine intervention). 90%, however, that is left is the author working the idea of, plotting the outline, figuring out correct POV, determining alliteration, feeding/weaving subplots, grammar checking, spell checking, punctuation nazi-ing…and the list goes on.
The question then becomes: Is writing worth the headache of THE DEADLINE? If you have to ask that then you’ve never had a toe-curling, back-arching, hair-raising, completely-satisified-to-the-balls-of-your-feet orgasm, and it can’t be explained to you or answered for you. You. Just. Don’t. Get. It. And you probably never will. Me, on the otherhand? Well, THE DEADLINE approacheth for my latest WIP soon. And that all-too familiar and awaited ache has taken up residence in my soul again. Am I going to make THE DEADLINE? For that soul-refreshing, reality-skewing, make-me-feel-like-I’m-ten-feet-tall-and-made-of-ooey-gooey-squishy-stuff feeling…You bet your sweet ass I am. 😉 b
Author of A Touch of Darkness (available now), contributor of Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction (available now) and author of Sister Light, Book One: Of Shadows (under pen name B.B. Walter and available now)