Dealing with Deadlines
You finally have your dream… a book deal. And you’d love nothing better than to say that everything is hunky-dory and wonderful and that you’re enjoying your publishing experience to the fullest.
BUT, you’re starting to realize that with the contract comes new pressures. You now have a deadline.
And when you have a tough deadline, everything seems to conspire to keep you from meeting it. Your attention wavers, your computer crashes, Facebook calls, the house needs cleaning.
So what happens when a deadline is looming and you honestly don’t know if you’re going to make it?
Well first, you should let your agent know, so he or she can determine whether to try and wrangle some extra time out of the publisher. Second, you’ll need to create a writing schedule and stick to it. But beyond those basics, there might be one more thing you need to do:
Admit you can’t do this on your own.
Now’s the time to consider calling in the reinforcements. Get your family to help more with cooking and grocery shopping. See if it’s feasible to have a housecleaning service come in a few times. Look in to some local dinner-preparation services. Check if your grocery store has online shopping-and-delivery.
Set up a writing schedule for each week (it can be different each week, just as long as you make one) where you have protected writing times, and post the schedule so your family knows you can’t be interrupted. Sit your family down and let them know: “The next two months may be tough on you but I really need you to step up to the plate!” It might be hard on them but that’s okay; this is a learning curve for them too. They need to learn that when you’re on deadline, they may be on their own. Behind every successful writer is a supportive team who mobilizes to pick up the slack when needed.
If you have little kids who can’t be on their own, consider a local teenager who might come in several hours a week to help; and work out a child-care schedule with your spouse. After all, your spouse probably gets to go to work without having to bring the kids along, right? You should too.
It usually takes intentional preparation to make this work. Don’t be shy about getting your family and even friends involved. They can easily accept it when they know it’s for a limited time!