Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Taking Stock

Trying to stay on a normal schedule while working to  meet a deadline usually means something has to give.  Around here, there are dozens of somethings, too many to list and too embarrassing to share.  But that deadline is the reason (aka excuse) why I'm not always on time here at the blog.

I've forgotten what weekends are like, except g-kids aren't arriving at 8:30-ish.  The term 'nose to the grindstone' makes me grumble and growl, but it's an apt assessment of what the last days or weeks of a deadline are like.  The work comes first.

Yesterday was D-Day.

Yesterday, the revised book sprouted electronic wings and made its way to my editor.  Relief.  It's over. At least this much is.  Breathe a big sigh, sit back with feet up and smile.  But not for long.  There's another deadline looming in the background, ready to take a grip on life.

While it may sound like I'm complaining, I'm really not.  Deadlines are good, because it means I'm working and will be able to pay bills for a while longer.  Deadlines keep me from procrastinating about things, except those deadlines.  The closer it gets to D-Day, the more everything else that's being ignored begins to call to me.  Currently, the kitchen sink is overflowing with dishes waiting to be washed...again.  A never ending cycle, right?  It wouldn't hurt to get a little laundry done, but at least there are still a few clean clothes in the closet and drawers, so that can wait a few days.  We won't talk about the disaster area called my bedroom that could rival the aftermath of the London Blitz, but since all I do is sleep there and change clothes, it's last on the To Do list on any given day.

We won't talk about the state of my office.  It stays neat for two or three minutes every few months.  Sometimes not that often.  I'm lucky to find anything I need...and sometimes don't.  Hey, at least I'm honest!

So one would think that with all that normal-person work awaiting, I'd be making a list of what to do first or at least getting the dishwater ready.  Well, yes and no.  You see, although yesterday was D-Day, there's another book due in September, and the darn things don't write themselves.  Therefore, I don't get to play or get caught up much on the everyday things.

This is the perfect time to procrastinate and, oh, how I would love to do that!  Instead, I'm going to finish creating the revised writing schedule I'm going to need to reach D-Day 2.0 on time, in spite of life's interruptions, hopefully catch up on a few emails and other things I've put aside over the past few days, start the plotting process (more about that on Wednesday), and get words on paper.

D-Day 2.0 is exactly two months away.  Yes, exactly.  Here's how it breaks down.

  • My typical average manuscript length for a 55,000 word book is 240 pages.  
  • I have nine weeks, but I need at least one week of that for read-through, revising and polishing, so I'm saying eight weeks.  
  • Divide those 240 pages by 8 weeks, and I need to write 30 pages a week.  
  • That's 5-6 pages a day, depending on how many days a week I want to write.  A couple of days off is nice--they're called weekends, by the way--but that doesn't happen often, so I'm saying 6 days at 5 pages a day.  That gives me that extra day to catch up, if needed.  To be honest, it's often needed, thanks to life and family demands.
Are deadlines great motivational tools?  Most of the time.

Does taking stock of time deadlines and what's needed always work perfectly?  Of course not!  And there are reasons around here that the goal isn't 50 or 60 pages a week, but I'll save those for another time.
“How soon 'not now' becomes 'never'.” - Martin Luther

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