Saturday, February 18, 2012

Seizing the Day

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
"Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future."
~ Horace

I was talking recently about whether a writer was a plotter, planning out a novel before beginning, or a panster, writing to see where the characters end up (I'm a panster). Then add in procrastination, of which I am very guilty – putting things off far too much. My musings were caused by a frenetic weekend of writing recently when I changed a 3,000 word short story into an almost 16,000 word short novella for a competition. All my own fault, as I’d forgotten about the closing date until the last minute. But I'd always wanted to make that story longer.
So I had two options: to shelve the whole idea, or to make good use of any time I had over that weekend to achieve another completed piece of work. I chose the latter and, like many other writers, discovered the difference a deadline makes to finishing the work. Although I’ve had many short stories and articles published over the years, I’ve started too many novels then abandoned them before completion. That weekend reminded me of the importance of seizing the day while we still have the chance, for it might never come again.  
My father, two brothers and a brother-in-law all died far too young and without warning; one day they were there, the next they had gone forever. All the plans made for retirement with their wives came to nothing. So I’m now going through all those half completed pieces of writing in the hope of turning them into publishable novellas or novels before it’s too late. If I could just stop procrastinating!
Rosemary Gemmell
Dangerous Deceit, Champagne Books and Amazon


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Everything other than death deserves your immediate attention. A deadline is focusing. I don't like it but I've found it useful.

We should always live as if today is our last, not because it might be, but because everything we do matters and we can't undo it if we aren't here.

Stay around, Romy. You are special.

Jude Johnson said...

Well said, Romy. I've seen too many people wait all their lives for a chance to do what they want and then pass on. I have things I've yet to do, but making the most of each day gets me closer to achieving those goals. The only thing holding me back from my grandest plans is funding. Soon as I can get Bill Gates to adopt me as a charity, I'm traveling the world! ;-)

You are impressive, Romy. Keep going and enjoy the ride!


Big Mike said...

Surviving cancer will slap ya right in the face with that life lesson, unless of course you decide to remain blind to God's gift. It's one of the reasons I culled back from four stories a year to two. Spending way too much time in that damn dungeon with my muse.

Michael Davis (

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Julie, Jude and BM - I guess we all learn these lessons some day.

CC Kaufman said...

Live in the moment. I try to make that moment a happy one!

January Bain said...

My trick for not prograstinating is to set a deadline (before!) the actual deadline. Works for me. Some of my students even use the idea now. Gives me a better sense of control.