Any journalist may be loathe to admit liking deadlines, but the fact is we live by them and die by them. When I go home and write fiction, my brain cannot entirely shift into a mode absent of the concept of deadlines. Sometimes it’s good to have a goal: writing one page a day, for example. Other times a real deadline might come to fore: turn the article in by Friday or forget the paycheck.
In writing the several drafts my detective novel has required, I gave in to my mind’s irrational need to keep flashing ‘you must by done by the 31st’ across my brain. That 31st was December 31st. Then March 31st. And sure enough, as the end of March rolled around, I wasn’t ready to say ‘this is it.” In fact, I posted my first chapter for critique on
way back in February, and the most recent version on April 1 (I think). The feedback was incredible. I’ve had the most amazing time really tightening up this draft, thanks to the people who offer great critiques in a civilized forum.
And finally I’ve been able to tell my brain “yeah, it’s April. So what?”
I now know the worst thing for my writing is to be in a hurry.
I have full-time job, so carving out time to write is up to me. I’m lucky. My kid is a grown-up and it’s nothing for me to grab three or four hours at a time to devote to my craft.
It’s the impatience I fight, the impatience to get this thing done, find an agent, a publisher, see it in print, and get started on the second book in the series.
I’m in it for the long haul. I want to see the book get in print.
And finally I am ready to take whatever time is needed to get the book right, before sending it out. Again. (My misadventures in sending out first and second drafts of a novel can wait for another time.)