Anything but writing

“I love deadlines…

…I love the wooshing sound they make as they fly by.” I wish I’d written that but alas, no. Douglas Adams said it (author of HITCHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.) But if I thought of it I would have said it. I find deadlines a challenge.  I thought eliminating the contractual deadline from my life would make writing more fun. It might. If I ever got around to actually writing.

As you may (or may not) recall from my past two posts I have a new story brewing. I anticipate that it will be novella — something under 100 pages and I will epublish it.

The story is in my head, growing and changing every day. I know it will have no external conflict cause Bella Andre has proved that external conflict is not essential to a readable story. Especially a short one.

I’ve blogged about it. I’ve entered the first page at a Retreat I attend every year (Yeah, they liked it and it was an anonymous submission so it was not my warm and generous nature that won them over)

Since the hero and heroine are the names of people I know (by request) I invited one of them over to hear the outline of the story and get her okay to the use of her name in connection with a woman who has a questionable past and use her husband’s name for a hero who has suffered a tragic lost.

Mimi LaCouture is a  successful artist. One of her painting is below and here is the link to her website( Mimi understands the pain of criticism and the value of a suggestion. She said “Fine, sounds like a good story and wouldn’t it be interesting if …. ” and she went on to supply a plot idea that was great and that I had not thought of (might have, but she saved me the effort)Hanging%20Out

So I am all set to put Mimi and John’s story on page. The title has been a big question. It’s (hopefully ) a series so do I name it for the lead two characters, where they live, what they do and with a sub title re this story? Or simplify, cause really a thumbnail cover is pretty small. Still mulling that one over but, let’s face it, I can come up with a title anytime in the next 100 (or so) pages

The house is clean (thanks to house cleaning professional, Michele for that,) the laundry at an acceptable state of overflow. I’ve mastered crock pot cooking so no one starves and I’ve learned to leave lots of white space on the calendar (probably the biggest challenge of all)

Ready, set, STALL. Instead of writing I spent some time last week figuring out how to remove a scorch mark from a cotton dress shirt. (A few drops of ammonia, layered over with a peroxide dampened cloth and then pressed with a medium hot iron. It takes a while but it worked). Then I removed the cloudiness from a crystal vase (white vinegar ), and then, heaven help me, I started daily weeding of  our yard as if it was a mission only I could take on.

What is going on here? Do I actually need a deadline to produce anything. I will keep you posted on this great question. But more important: what is your favorite (or most insane way) to put off the moment when you BEGIN? Not a question just for writers. I do believe this is an experience shared by all. Right Mimi?




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Diane Gaston
7 years ago

I love your beginning statement about deadlines, Mary. Reminds me of Lady Catherine de Bourgh who says about playing the piano, “… If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”

Having a publisher-induced deadline makes the task only a bit easier, but I still think of everything else besides writing when I’m on a deadline. Lately it has been nagging at me that my underwear drawer needs organizing…

And, then, of course, it becomes mandatory to read Risky Regencies!

I think getting started is the hardest, whether it be starting a project or starting the day’s writing. I, too, wonder why, because it doesn’t really matter where or how we start. We can always change it.

It does make it all real, though, to actually put words on a page.

Too bad we can’t all channel our inner-Nora and just put our “derrieres” in a chair and start working.

Sally MacKenzie
7 years ago

Ah, I LOVE the Douglas Adams quote! My deadline for current book was (yes, past tense) June 1. The new, drop-dead deadline is August 1…or maybe August 15, but no later. It has to go into production in September. And I have to be free of it…so here I am, posting rather than writing. Some writer–not even a romance writer–whose name I’ve forgotten said the hardest thing is to get into the story again each writing session. I find this true. It’s the disengaging from the real world with all it’s demands–laundry, promo, meals, sleep, Facebook–to live in the story world.

If I didn’t have publisher deadlines, I might just play with grandbabies all day or watch cat videos on Facebook. Sadly.

Elena Greene
7 years ago

Proof that we are all very different–which makes things interesting, of course!

When I was traditionally published, I was conscientious about meeting deadlines. However, I worried so much about them that I was always choking and had trouble pushing myself to write. I haven’t been prolific as an indie, but it’s more because of external influences than procrastination. I’ve learned to make good use of what writing time I get by letting go of thoughts of deadlines (even the self-imposed ones), reviews, sales, anything like that. Instead I try to cultivate the feeling of being a kid again with a big box of crayons and all the time in the world.

I know it is illogical, but I actually write faster that way. 🙂

Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

LOL! I get very stressed about deadlines, but honestly without them I would probably be even worse about procrastinating…

Gail Eastwood
7 years ago

Mary, I keep thinking of those “procrastinator” jokes –you know, the Procrastinator Society never held a meeting, because the members never got around to it… (or because the group was never formed in the first place, same reason…). When my editor retired from Signet, I talked about working without contracted deadlines and she warned me that some writers just can’t produce without those. They need the pressure! Since I then had to give up writing for more than a decade, I haven’t really tested this theory. I -am- working on new projects now, but I haven’t completed any yet! However, we all had to produce the first books we ever sold without the benefit of deadlines, so that ought to prove we “indies” can do it again. 🙂 Writers have so many “fears”–fear of starting, fear of finishing, fear of writing dreck… well, is anyone surprised that we tend to procrastinate a bit? LOL!

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