Ha! For most of us authors a deadline is an end to the writing process, a death to our prose. When a publisher utters the word deadline, it sends me into an anxiety attack that has my head spinning and my heart racing. The “I can’t make it” or “there’s simply not enough time” escape past my lips in faint whispers that are followed with a pitiful cry for help.
However, there is a light at the end of this dark and tumultuous tunnel. Once the initial shock of being on a deadline sets in, I pour myself a stiff drink, sit down at the table and make a schedule—a writing schedule. This keeps me on track and helps to keep the anxiety away.
I devise a word count for each day and I must make it. This doesn’t mean I need to make this count in one sitting. If my word count is 2500 a day, I have the span of 24 hours to get it done…and I will. There is no room for failure here. My goal is to finish the rough draft of a novel within three months.
Determination is what will complete the story. Perseverance plays a role as well, especially on those days where you want to give up—when you have writer’s block and the second-guessing begins.
Yes, authors are constantly wondering if the story we’re creating is the right one. Doubt is an emotion you need to push aside and let the story take charge—allow your characters to speak to you, let them tell you where to go.
Once I’m on a role and the story is dripping from my fingertips onto the keyboard, the deadline is non-existent. It leaves my mind and I do not think of it again until I’ve typed The End.