Thursday, January 26, 2012

On Deadlines

A friend, the fabulous Robert Isleib (who now writes as Lucy Burdette), posted a casual little note today on Facebook. She said she was back at the starting line. Page 1 of Book 3, which she said is due September 1. (I should say that her Book 1, An Appetite for Murder, is a great read, and a wonderful start to a new series.)

Hmm. A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die is also due September 1. However, I already have more than a third written on the rough draft, 27,000 words at last count. Am I way ahead? Well, sure, way ahead of Lucy in this case. But this is her third book in the series and probably the tenth book (or more?) that she has written.

This is the third book I am writing and the first in this series.
Should I slow down? No way! Two other authors and I have formed an email support group, because we all have the same agent and the same deadline for the first book in our new cozy series. Jessie decided on a personal deadline of April 7 to finish her first draft. I decided on the same.

Why? So I can have lots of time to revise, edit, and get some critiques done before I turn it into the publisher. I do NOT have ten books under my belt, and I do NOT have two other books already written in this series. I'm still developing the protagonist and the other characters. I'm still honing descriptions of the setting. I'm still learning how to write.

I used to be much, much more of a procrastinator. You know, finishing papers in high school and college at the last possible minute. Wrapping Christmas presents into the night on Christmas Eve.

Now I am able to work ahead and finish projects with plenty of time to spare. Why? Because I have other demands on my time, like the day job? Because I'm more, ahem, mature? Not sure. I already have a short story written and revised to submit to this year's Level Best anthology (to be called Blood Moon!), and it isn't due until the end of April.

What I am sure of is that furthering my fiction-writing career is one of the most important things in my life these days. I want to be sure I have enough time to hone, polish, and improve my stories and books so they are the absolute best tale I can tell before I release them into the hands and inboxes of editors, agents, and most important, the reading public.

Of course you might ask why this week's post is delayed. It wasn't from procrastination, really! I was just busy and a topic hadn't come to mind.

What about you? Plan ahead and work steadily toward the goal? Save it for the last minute? Or does it depend on what the work is?


  1. Go Edith--27,000 words is a fabulous start! And we're so proud about your new contract!

    Trust me, I never could have written this quickly in the old days, but with this contract, I had book two due in early December. Then the holidays and the launch of book one! Busy time...but you're so smart to leave yourself time to let the words sit and then go back and revise and revise and revise...

    Good luck--I hope the process is so much fun!

  2. Always wise, inspiring and comforting words from Roberta/Lucy.

  3. Indeed! Thanks, Lucy, and thanks for stopping by, PJ.