Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sometimes a deadline can provide inspiration

I'm a fast writer. If I work on a story longer than 4 months, I get stale. The characters get flat. The plot drags. So I always keep an eye on the calendar when I write.

I started playing around with my latest manuscript in the spring. I had some ideas for a book, I played with them, I made a tentative start. Then I got sidetracked when I discovered I might have copyright issues. I was using Winnie the Pooh as my base, so to speak, and (long story short), I found out that I couldn't do that.

So I had to re-task what I planned to do with a new story. Stumper. I decided to pick a story nobody could copyright: Robin Hood. Ok, good. There's my starting point. I started the book on June 1. And I picked at it all summer. I wrote a page here, some words there -- oh, I wrote every day but I wasn't inspired to write it. I just didn't feel the love.

August rolled around and I realized I had 9 chapters done, out of 17 or 18 needed. I had set an artificial deadline for myself of Sept. 20. You see, my DH and I go on vacation around that time and that's always my unofficial kickoff time for me to go back and work on my sci-fi series. I like to work on that in the fall/winter. It's a 10 book series, 3 books are already published (the last 3 in the series), I have 2 written, #3 is plotted, and the rest have solid ideas. So there's many years of work there.

Well, there I was, in August, and I had 9 chapters to go. I didn't quite panic, but I did try to knuckle down. But I had house guests for 2 weeks, I had a family reunion to plan and host, I had travel, I have the never-ending lawsuit (oh, now *that* is a story to tell someday).

So I got to September 14 and I realized I had about 8 days to go. 8 days to write at least 6 chapters. I was on chapter 9, almost chapter 10. I need at least 17 to wrap up the book. Could I do it?

Yep. I sat down and in three days, I wrote 30,000+ words. 6.5 chapters. I literally sat my butt in the chair, put my hands on the keyboard, and I just wrote for 3 days. Oh, I took breaks: went out to a concert, did a bit of shopping, watched some football on TV. But the main focus of that weekend was to FINISH THE DAMN BOOK. I have never NOT finished a book I started, and I wasn't going to start now.

And I did. I still have editing to do, tweaking, a re-read and some fixes. But it is 99% done. I'll set it aside now for a few months, then re-visit it, oh, in January maybe. I'll read it with fresh eyes, make the necessary changes, then send it off to my beta reader to review. Then I'll publish it.

So you see: sometimes inspiration can come from desperation!


Margo Hoornstra said...

Funny what we can accomplish when we really put our minds, seats and fingers to it. Inspiring post. I needed that. Thank you.

Jannine Gallant said...

OMG - You're amazing. I bet I could do that, too, if I turned off the Internet. It is the bane of my procrastinating existence!