Deadline. The very word sends shivers of fear up the spine of a college student scrambling to finish an essay or a writer who has made a promise to fans to publish the next book in their series by a certain date.
When I’m working on a tight deadline, I imagine my deadline as a big, snarly monster with matted green fur and a razor sharp teeth breathing down my back. As I furiously type, it licks its lips, ready to crunch some bones, or, more likely, let me know that I’m a total, utter, beyond-question loser if I don’t publish on time. His named is Reginald.
Reginald and I have an odd relationship. I guess it’d fall under the “It’s complicated” Facebook designation.
Reginald is an important part of my writing life. We indie authors need to have a deadline monster breathing down our neck in order to continue writing each day and publishing on a schedule our readers can rely on. Because it is easy to slack off.
Seriously, easy. Dr. Who marathon – need I say more? (If Netflix were a physical thing, Reginald would pour gasoline all over it and toss on a lighted match with undisguised glee)
But deadline monsters can also be too pushy. Sometimes Reginald stands wayyyy inside my personal space bubble. He can be hurtful when I want to sleep in, or a certain blue Tardis is calling to me. I understand that he’s just doing his job, but the guy needs a little flexibility. And some sensitivity training.
Reginald and I have been on pretty bad terms recently.
I published the first novel in my Girl With Broken Wings Series, Falling, in January of 2012. In January of 2013 Landing, the second novel in the series, Landed. So, January 2014 rolls around and what happens?
A big, ole NOTHING.
Reginald was all about me publishing Rising on schedule this January, but it just didn’t happen. A lot of things sucked away my time in 2013, and, I have to be honest, Reginald was a part of the problem. Every day that passed, he grew a little bigger, more loomish as he crept ever closer. I almost didn’t even want to write, because I knew he’d be staring at me, all judgey and mad.
I kept telling him, “Reggie, this book is 95,000 words long. My biggest book yet. Of course it’s going to take longer. The series is getting more complicated. It needs another round of edits. Also, indie writers can be flexible. That’s one of the great things about being an indie author. We define our own schedules!”
Did Reginald listen? Nope? He just got a big scowl on his face and said, “You’re the biggest loser in all of Loserville. You should run for the mayor of Loserville. I’d vote for you!”
See what I mean about the sensitivity training?
Reginald never gets tired of telling about all the highly successful indie authors who publish two, three, even five novels a year. “And you,” he says, “can’t publish just one?”
That’s when I got mad.
“It’s not the end of the world!” I told my hulking, snarling deadline monster. “I’d rather take more time and make this book kick ass than scramble to throw a messy pile of utter messiness on Amazon! My readers will wait. They wait years for George R. R. Martin. Hopefully they’ll allow me two extra months for this awesome book. So, GIVE ME A BREAK!”
That did the trick. Reggie’s ears went down, his tail tucked between his legs, and I swear I saw the glisten of tears in his eyes. Don’t worry, we didn’t leave things like that. I gave him a big scratch behind the ears.
“You’re really important to me,” I said as his leg thumped approvingly, “but we have to work together. I need you to be a firm-yet-understanding deadline monster. ”
“Okay,” he murmured, “but April, you’re definitely going to publish Rising by the beginning of April?”