Deadlines – making an honest woman of me

Posted: October 11, 2009 in Writing, YA Fiction
Tags: , , , ,

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
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I love deadlines too.  Knowing what I must do, and by when, focuses and calms me. Meeting the deadline becomes a point of honour.

I become more productive. I tell my kids, friends and family how many words I have to write – each day, each week, each month. I commit. Publicly.

A deadline keeps me honest. Without one, writing can too easily be squeezed out by work and personal commitments. A big intimidating deadline muscles writing to the head of the queue and keeps competing pressures at bay for long enough to get the work out.

Nearly seven months ago, a story idea sank its teeth into me and wouldn’t let go.

I wrote about it in One-dog Woman back in March, saying “I’ll be keeping the door closed on this one for a while…The new work-in-progress. One for the kids.”

Two months later I had written about twelve thousand words of Henry Hoey Hobson. No deadline pressure, so I shelved it for a couple of months while I launched and promoted my first novel, Dust.

I came back to the manuscript in August when I sold the story to my publisher on the basis of the first four chapters and a synopsis.

She wanted to publish Henry Hoey Hobson in August 2010; could I deliver the complete manuscript by 5 October?

Hell, yeah. In just over eight weeks, I wrote another forty thousand words, edited the manuscript and met my deadline.

Would I have finished Henry Hoey Hobson on the last day of the September school holidays without the pressure of a deadline?

Hell, no. I would have read that pile of books next to my bed at the beach.

But that’s OK, because I’m going to read them now. Soon as I get this publishing contract out of the way. 😉

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Comments
  1. Steph says:

    Yay for deadlines!
    I have to say, I’m the same with schoolwork — if I have to get a project in by a specific day, I will, but if it’s an optional-submit-whenever-you-like type thing, it’ll get pushed behind everything else I have to do.
    Can’t wait till Henry Hoey Hobson comes out!

  2. Lynne Green says:

    You hard-working little treasure. I’m looking forward to it already.

  3. You are a legend and inspire me no end! I remember during a writing race when you started Henry and here you are with him traversing the literary birthing canal. Hearing this does make me twist my left leg at a rather awkward angle and kick myself hard in the rear end. Thanks. I needed that. And congrats to You and Henry. See you at the launch. I can’t wait to hold him in my hands.

  4. That is seriously fantastic, Chris! Go you writing machine.

  5. Michael says:

    Fantastic Chris! You put me to shame.

  6. Adair Jones says:

    This is great news! Congratulations, Chris.

  7. Go Henry! And Chris! That’s brilliant news. You’re incredible, do you know that? I love a deadline too, although until now they’ve always been self-enforced – certainly helps to shift those reluctant stories 🙂

    Still love the title, and I know I’ll love the book just as much.

  8. Joanna Gaudry says:

    Fantastic, Chris. Congrats! Joanna :))

  9. Angela Sunde says:

    Congratulations, Chris. You are amazing.

    Angela:)

  10. chrisbongers says:

    No, just boring, I’m afraid, Angela. But damn it, it sure feels great to finish this one. 🙂

  11. meg says:

    Fantastic, Chris – you’re a legend (and Henry too!!)

    In November we’ll be having bi-weekly Writing Races. Hope we see you there, if you’re ready to hit the keyboards again by then! I’ll post more details soon xo

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