To the unpublished, “deadline” might seem like a glamorous word. I used to feel the same way. I would hear published authors talk about meeting their deadline and be envious.
I imagined my deadline experience would go like this: bathed in the golden light of inspiration, having just been visited by my muse (who resembles James Garner in The Great Escape), I watch the clock with smug amusement, and type furiously, flawlessly. Then, at the last minute, my face glowing with success, I push that “send” button and catapult my masterpiece into the arms of my editor.
After having just submitted by second book in my Heartbeat of the Moon series to that wonderful editor at TWRP, any notions of glamour, involving either my person or the experience, gurgled down the sink with my cold coffee.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am thrilled and grateful to have a deadline and a wonderful editor. But remember the David Bowie/Queen song, “Under Pressure,” pretty much the best pop song ever written? It’s not so much the lyrics; the music aptly describes the full scale panic and chaos that periodically ensues when a writer realizes her mortality and imperfection. Completing a novel is not for the faint-hearted. It requires a strong will, and an ability to rid oneself of negative energy. Most of all, completing a novel on time requires a sense of humor.
Here are some highlights of my lofty deadline experience:
- At a certain point, I could no longer delay a trip to the grocery store, due to the absence of such luxuries as toilet paper, and even more essential, coffee. In a desperate rush to return to my story, I embarked upon a rare session of attack shopping. Imagine my surprise when unpacking to find I’d purchased scented toilet paper, decaf coffee, and gerbil food. I don’t have a gerbil. Thankfully, I didn’t realize my tee shirt was inside out until I returned home.
- I poured salt into my juice glass,
- And put the milk carton in the cupboard.
- The more sleep lost, the more emotional I become. I cry without warning at words like “longing and yearning.” The lyrics to “Brandy,” by the group, Looking Glass, provoke hysterics worthy of an Oscar for Most Disturbed Performance in a Documentary.
- I called my granddaughters by the cat’s name,
- And suffered from a sudden inability to spell the word, “than.”
- I indulged in late night blurting of such brilliant original song lyrics as, “It’s All About Passion,” “Misunderstanding Makes a Real Bad Mess,” and “Be Yourself, or Get on the Shelf.”
When all is said and done, I don’t regret a minute of my deadline hijinks. I learned a lot about completing a book in shorter amount of time. And nothing beats the rush of pushing the “send” button at the end of all the hard work.
How about you? I’d love to hear about your deadline experience, be it self-imposed or publisher-motivated. And feel free to make stuff up.
She spent her childhood running wild on an Idaho mountainside. Although she’s lived across the U.S., she is still an Idahoan at heart and a notorious potato pusher. She has a degree in Human Services and worked as a roofer, a hoofer, a computer data entry operator and a stay-at-home mom.
Music has ruled Jennifer’s world since birth. She shimmied out of the womb with a bad case of Boogie Fever, but soon fell in love with the lyrics, how the words fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. Jennifer has dreamt of writing romances since reading Wuthering Heights at the tender age of twelve, and now lives that dream, using music on a daily basis to uplift and inspire her writing. It’s no coincidence that Ian, the hero in Mercy of the Moon, uses music to win heroine Maggie’s heart.
She lives in rural Florida with her husband and Great Dane puppy, and enjoys frequent visits from her three grandchildren and three grown children. She feverishly lobbies for the return of breeches and would really love to see her husband of thirty-five years in a pair. Jennifer can be found online at: JenniferTaylorWrites.com