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Monday, November 3, 2014

Writer's Life: Deadline Doubts

A deadline makes you work faster and crazier than ever. It adds stress and clarity to your job. And, it's exciting. You only have so many days, hours, or minutes to accomplish a thing, sort of a race against time. A real deadline keeps you on your toes, possibly till the last minute.

That's where I was at Friday night.

Could I finish everything? I still had many hours of work ahead of me. But being stubborn by nature, I knew I could do it if I stuck to the plan. I had to!

My deadline was November 1st. With twelve beta readers waiting to test April's Storm, (due to release in January) I needed to finish the editing I'd been working on and format it into e-book so I could send it out to them. For two weeks, I'd been staying up till one-ish in the morning, burning the proverbial midnight oil, working through edits, pushing myself. Getting up and starting at it again, day after day.

On that last night, October 31st, I determined to push through, no matter what it took. I'd hardly eaten. I forgot the 20/20/20 rule the optometrist told me to follow—every twenty minutes look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds. Instead, I stared at the computer hour after grueling hour. Maybe, next time, I'll follow his rule, but that day, nothing was going to hinder me. I was fighting deadline doubts and was determined to overcome.

Feeling the fires of adrenaline as I neared the finish line, I kept working. Formatting never turns out as cleanly as I'd like it to the first time, so I had fixings and re-uploads to accomplish. But, finally, at two in the morning, I'd finished almost everything I'd planned to do. Only sending the files remained. Something I could do when I woke up. Thinking I should get some sleep, or be super cranky the next day, I lay down to rest. But my eyes refused to stay closed. My mind whirred with that one last thing I should have done. Why didn't I just send those files? How could I sleep with such a big accomplishment—I've been working on this book for a year—hanging over my head? I couldn't. So . . . I hopped up, threw my sweatshirt back on, hobbled in the dark to my computer, and sent those large files one by one via email (over my very slow internet server.) But it was thrilling! Other than the editor and my critique partner, people were finally going to read my entire story.

I went back to bed at 3:30, exhausted, but happy.

Following five hours of sleep, I got up and felt a little blurry all day. But I was delirious with joy for having reached my goal. In a couple of months, I'll be right back there again, fighting the giant of doubt as I tackle formatting and publishing issues. But for now, I can cheer and pat myself on the back, and thank God for His help. I tackled a deadline and won!


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