Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy fame) is quoted as saying "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Whether or not he actually said this, boy is it true.
Of course there are deadlines, and there are deadlines. I’m generally pretty good at meeting deadlines that have been set by others (like my employer, my publisher, or the gas & electric company). And I’ve never forgotten my wife’s birthday, or our anniversary (37 years this year, so not bad, if I do say so…)
Deadlines I set for myself? Not so much. I set a deadline of March 31st, 2016 to finish the final draft of my current work-in-progress, Desperate Knights.
Then I set another deadline. April 30th this time.
“Whoosh.” There went another one.
End of May? Yeah, should be doable.
“Whoosh.” Wow, that one was traveling pretty fast.
June? Nah, let’s move it to July 23, my birthday. Finishing this book will be my birthday present to myself.
“Whoosh,” Yet again.
Wowza. Where did all that time go?
I guess it might be different if my only job was to write. Unfortunately, my creditors like to get paid on a semi-regular basis, so I have to work the dreaded day job. Which isn’t as bad as it could be—I have flexibility and normally only work a forty-hour week. Not like the bad ol’ days when I was in retail management, where the motto was “You get paid for the first forty hours. The second forty, you work for free.”
But after the day job is done, there’s my loving wife to spend time with, house-stuff to take care of, commitments to honor, books to read ‘cause I promised I do those reviews, and a lot of time spent trying to promote the first book in the series so people will want to pony up for the second one when it comes out.
All time that I could be spending writing, I’m ‘wasting’ on those trivial things that are required to keep a home and a relationship on an even keel. Because I don’t want to be living and writing in a cardboard box; I certainly don’t want to look for someone else to proofread my manuscripts…
And of course the internet is, as advertised, a major time suck. Oh, I’ll just check email. Oooh, shiny tweets on my twitter-feed. Ooooh, someone liked my Traitor Knight Facebook page. Wait, where did that two hours—no, three hours—disappear to? What the heck?
Ok, so I’ve pretty much got book two done. I just need to finish revising the last 75 or so pages, and make a couple of scene changes along the way. But it’s nearly done, really. I should have it finished by… oh, July 2017…?
Nah, let’s call it August 15, 2016 and be done with it. Hey, I can meet a deadline. Right? Right? Bueller?
Keith W. Willis is the author of the award-winning swashbuckling fantasy Traitor Knight. He lives in upstate NY with one wife and no cats. He does not drink coffee, but does consume copious quantities of tea. When he's not busy with his day-job, managing an eclectic group of database content editors, he can be found working diligently to finish Desperate Knights, the second installment of the Knights of Kilbourne saga.