Coming from a background of covering high school and college sports, the idea of writing with a deadline in mind is essentially beaten into your head. And it all makes sense. You know that at a certain point in the evening, the section has to get laid out and the paper has to go to print. Unless you’re working on something that absolutely, positively has to wait, you have to get it done, or you’re in trouble.
Ironically, even though many years have passed, the deadline thing has followed me to the world of resume writing, where the same rules apply, more or less. You’ve got X amount of time to finish up your customer’s resume, or they’re not going to be happy. And when they’re not happy, obviously that leads to consequences for you.
Now, imagine trying to pull this same deadline stuff when you’re trying to write fiction.
Doesn’t really work the same, does it?
In fact, it seems that setting a deadline on something as creative as writing fiction is pretty counter-productive.
Apparently, I learned this lesson the hard way. Years ago, being the eager writer as I was, I wanted to get Flagrant Foul out as soon as possible. So, I set a date where I could get the finished product (or so I thought at the time) uploaded to Lulu.com and ready to go.
In short, it was a disaster. Self-published with only a hastily thrown together Web site, a shoddy, plain cover and zero idea how to get the word out beyond the miniscule network I had online at the time, the original edition of the novel went absolutely nowhere.
This being my first attempt at writing a full-length novel, I could have just went ahead and said that’s enough for me and moved on to something else. As you can see, I had a better idea on the whole situation, heavily re-editing it a couple years later and slowly but surely building my network to include social media, a blog (This one, as it were) and a couple of guest appearances.
Still, it probably was a silly idea to rush, even if, at the time, I thought this book was going to be the end of the story for me, so to speak.
In the end, it was lesson learned, as many of them have been over the years. This is fiction, not the morning paper. Nobody’s putting a gun to my head to finish it.
Patience is a virtue. Eventually, I’ll figure that one out.