Sunday, 26 October 2014

Deadline dramas

When I started this blog it was a way of letting off steam. There was quite a lot of whinging, a little moaning and more than a bit bewailing. Occasionally I'll read an old entry and immediately I'm back there, back failing to final in yet another competition, back filled with excitement for the competition after that - only to plummet again when once again I got nowhere.

And then there are the highs,  the coveted NWS second reading when I realised that maybe, just maybe, the whole idea wasn't a total waste of time after all.

Now blogging feels like a procrastination. If I'm putting words down they should be words on my work in progress. Writing time is both a luxury and a necessity, I can't afford to waste a moment *whistles and ignores Twitter habit*. But I miss this blog, my diary of the last four years. And I wonder, if I was a full time writer, living my fantasy life in a cottage by the sea, rising late (I am no lark) to walk the dogs, then baking bread (wholesome fantasy life alert) before sitting down to a productive day of writing, would I really have no time pressures?

The truth is I have a real love hate relationship with deadlines. Obviously they cause me stress, panic, they make me yell at my family and collapse in a not-at-all dramatic fashion. Sometimes I actually wail, a little like a banshee.  Deadlines are responsible for at least a third of my wine intake and well over half of my biscuit intake yet contribute nothing to exercise or the eating of vegetables.

And yet... they sharpen me, crystallise everything I am trying to achieve. I have contracts to deliver four books this year, and I wrote the vast bulk of each and every one of the finished three near the delivery date - I can trick myself with a fake delivery date, that works as well. The first few weeks I have such good intentions - I sit there, during my allotted writing time, page open and fingers ready to go. And my word count is pitiful.

But, during that time, I am learning. Learning who my characters are, what makes them tick, how they'll react so when I'm up against the a looming deadline it's all there in my head, ready to be transferred onto the page.

It's not the most efficient process but it's my process - for now anyway. I just wish there was more time for baking and blogging. Maybe when I get that cottage by the sea. One day.