24 February 2011

I Need it Done STAT!! Okay, Maybe Not

I need a deadline. In our house, things are accomplished in priority order. I am not a list maker, because I don't even want to think about what is happening three months from now. I am only going to work on what needs to be done this week, or, at the most, two weeks from now. I want to be more organized, and I am making incremental improvement in that regard. But, basically, if I am not pressured to accomplish it, it won't get done.

Yesterday, I was reading the website dedicated to the NECRWA conference that I will be attending in April. The post detailed all the preparations being made, and how there was still space available if we knew of anyone who might want to attend. (And if you do, you can visit them on Facebook!) Then they mentioned that there were still open editor and agent appointments. I wasn't sure how to interpret this information.

The overall tone of the announcement made me nervous for the organizers. Have you ever sent out invitations to a child's birthday party, and when you don't get immediate responses, you fear your baby has no friends? That was the vibe. Of course, I know that can't be true, because when I went to book a hotel room, the whole joint was sold out, and I had to weasel my way into Delia's room. So, I thought maybe they were just overcompensating, in an effort to make sure their seminars are packed full of enthusiastic romance writers. (Are there any other kind? Don't you have to be somewhat positive in nature to believe in the triumph of love?)

However, when I read about the open appointments, I wasn't so sure of their booking success. I think one wants to ensure that the kind folks who have given of their time (or been paid to show up) are rewarded with lots of eager attendees. So, naturally, I thought I should help make those agents feel wanted. I would make an appointment to see whichever agent or editor was underbooked. I would take the next month to finish my manuscript, and the two weeks after that to shine it up, just in case the lonesome editor wanted a final copy. I would have a deadline!

I mentioned this idea to my friend, Janet, who I am sure screamed, "WHHAATT?? NO, NO, NO!!!" in the privacy of her apartment, but then took the time to calmly recommend that I not inadvertently set myself up to fail. I did, in fact, confirm with the conference organizer that it is highly recommended that one not take meetings until the novel is finished. So, I'm screwed on the forcibly created deadline idea. Now, I will have to resort to actual ambition to get the damn thing written.

I suppose I could try and trick myself, by pretending I have an upcoming meeting. We used to have a cleaning woman, but I let her go in an attempt to save money. And also because it drove me crazy that I basically had to tidy my whole house in preparation for the actual cleaning. The Captain recommended that I just imagine she was coming, pick up all the crap twice a month, and the house would stay in good shape.

I am never going to finish this book.


  1. I know! Like, why can't fake deadlines work like real ones? It's so not fair. Only in the last year of my first BA, I had so much to do, I was able to give myself fake deadlines--cause if some things didn't get done early, then nothing would be done on time. But I've never been able to reproduce it.


  2. Anonymous24.2.11

    I really hope the fake deadline works for you. They have never worked for me. Okay, don't use me as an example on this one, because real deadlines don't work very well for me either. Also, I can barely handle my blog. A book would certainly be my demise.

  3. I have to have the pressure to accomplish things. My house is never truly clean unless my in-laws will be here in an hour.

    How about you set yourself a deadline, give me your mailing address and if you make it, I'll send you a prize?

    PS "Stat"=youngish 90s era George Clooney in scrubs yummmm

    This works with second graders and it worked like a charm for me with getting several things done by promising myself a reward (I'm not being condescending here...I need the pat on the head, personally). It'll be like your gold star, only cuter!

  4. @ Megan: Hmm... you need to finish the book because there are those still left hanging...

    @ lora: Can I send you my mailing address, too? I need incentives! ;)

  5. @ Mabel: I also wish I could recreate the positive effect of stress. Right before I got married, I was working, finishing my BA, and planning the wedding. And I lost tons of weight. Why can't that work now? Now I sit, eating, staring at my screen for inspiration. What is the key?

    @Lora: Can I have George Clooney as my reward?

  6. Way to come through for Five. I am pleased that "every day he did NOT see you NOT sewing his beanie baby." or some such Five-ism.

  7. Miss Megan,
    Do you have beta readers or a critique buddies? Because they could set a deadline for you.

    They could tell you (truthfully or not) that they have only a small window of opportunity to review your work. If you miss that window, you're tragically inconveniencing your friends and colleagues. (I'm assuming that guilt, like deadlines, helps motivate you.)

    You could combine the guilt with Lora's prize incentive program. ;)

  8. @Carrie: That is an interesting proposal. All of my readers are people who know and love me, so perhaps I need to look outside that pool. Well, I'd still want them to like me, but perhaps not know me as well.

    I don't belong to a critique group, because I wasn't sure where to look outside of my local RWA chapter, which is a bit far away. But it's definitely worth investigating. Thanks!

  9. (Psstt...I forcibly created my deadline.)

    The editor that still has appointments open joined the party late, if I understand correctly. And the agent with appointments left is a "Junior Agent" who has been an assistant for three years, but agenting for only six months now. Also, she likes "dark" stuff, which isn't what most people at an RWA conference write. I think that's why they still have appointments open.

    What you need to do is tell me whether you're a positively motivated person, or negatively motivated. That way, when the conference comes around, I can treat you to dinner/berate you heavily -- as appropriate. ;)

  10. @Delia: How do you know all this secret agent stuff? When I'm actually ready, I need you as my advance woman. I am positively motivated, with fear and shaming on the side.

  11. Carrie's idea is an excellent one. It could be very motivating. But I'm certain that she meant that you should *add* beta readers not *replace* your old ones. I worry that your old beta readers might object, pout or possibly cry if they don't get regular contact with Clay and Sibby. Just saying - there could be repercussions!! ;-)

    Is there another conference later in the year that could serve as a deadline?

  12. @Janet: my beta readers cannot be replaced! I wouldn't dare. It would derail me, because I count on their astute observations and unending support.

    That said, maybe I'll shoot for the national conference in June, even though I won't even be able to get an appointment at that gig. But I will consider it my deadline for all my betas. I hereby give you all permission to nag.

    Oh! And if any one else wants to be a beta, let me know! That way, I'll have even more pressure!


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.