I've actually been dreading this post for a few days now. Not because I don't enjoy blogging, or the debates and discussions it fosters: those I love. But I'm rapidly approaching my least favorite part of the writing process: the deadline. And I am way, way behind.
I start each day optimistically. I've completed a rough draft. A very rough one, if I'm being honest, riddled with typos and writing of the lowest caliber imaginable. But hey, the bones of the story are there, right? And some of my research has been completed. Of course, not the parts that might actually change the bones of said story--those I'm still working on. So I have minor panic attacks periodically, terrified that one of my experts is going to answer a question with, "Oh no, that won't work at all. You'll have to change all that."
I mentioned this to a friend the other night, a "literary" writer, who scoffed and replied, "Deadlines?! Haven't met one yet. My last book was a year late." Lovely, if that's the sort of thing your publisher tolerates. Mine does not. And so here I am, with two weeks remaining until I have to hand something to my editor that she'll read without raising any alarms.
And therein lies the fear.
I realize this can seem like a shallow complaint. I'm lucky to even have a contract, and remain thrilled that my publisher accepted my proposal and wants to publish the book. It's hardly fair to look back on those days when I was writing The Tunnels, spending weeks on a single chapter, as halcyon days. Because now, at least, I labor under the certainty that I will actually see those chapters in print. But still--nostalgia has a way of seeping in, usually when I'm at this stage of the writing process. What a luxury that was. I really wish I'd appreciated it more at the time. It took me a little over two years to write that book. For this one, I had four months.
I'm trying to edit 30 pages a day. Doesn't sound like much, but I spent seven straight hours working on the manuscript today, and when I checked: 19 pages. Argh. Even if I work every night and through the weekend (a near impossibility with family commitments), I probably won't make it. And somewhere in there I'm supposed to tour preschools, shop for the holidays, and decorate a Christmas tree. Everything else has fallen by the wayside, which includes answering emails, exercising, preparing healthy meals (or any meals). Lately every night is pizza night in our house. Even my husband is starting to complain about it, disproving my theory that he would happily eat pizza daily for the rest of his natural life (note: harkening back to our recent gender discussions, this has not motivated him to actually cook a meal).
And if I don't meet the deadline? It won't be end of the world, but it means less time on the next, even more critical draft. Our turnaround window is already fairly tight, and losing another week or two would probably mean pulling a few all-nighters in February. I shudder at the thought.
So forgive me for the abbreviated post. I'm off to cry quietly in the corner.