Bedsores & Deadlines

When I signed with Tyndale to publish my debut, Crossing Oceans, it was only half-written. It had taken me a year and a half to write the first half, but I only had four months to write the second.

I never thought I could do it. But by God’s goodness, I turned it in with two weeks to spare.

Now, I find myself on a far tougher deadline. I’m down to two and a half weeks to write the last 1/4 of my sophmore novel, Dry as Rain.
I’m still working part-time as a nurse, I’m a wife and a mom to 5 and I’m doing interviews, book signings, you name it to promote Crossing Oceans. You’ve heard me say it before, but it’s worth repeating, you only get one chance to debut, make it count.
As if all of this pressure wasn’t enough, I’m reminded from little industry birdies that an author’s sophmore novel can make or break her career. You have all the time in the world to write your first novel and so it’s edited, critiqued and written to perfection, but if your sophmore novel is a dud, the common belief is that no matter how good your debut was, readers will not be picking up your third.

Talk about pressure. Man.
So, how am I coping with the stress of this deadline of doom? I’m praying of course. Praying a lot and believing God will do for me again, what He did for me before.
I’m waking up, and parking my butt in the spot I’ve worn on the couch, with my trusty laptop resting on my legs dawn to dusk every day. Sure I’m getting bedsores, these things are to be expected, but somehow, someway the girl who writes one chapter ever two weeks when she’s not on deadline is now producing a chapter a day, (most days).

You’d think my writing would be suffering, wouldn’t you? It makes sense that it would. Oddly enough, it’s not. One surprising thing I learned from writing Crossing Oceans was that fast or slow, pressured or not, you can’t tell the difference between the chapters I slaved over and ones that flew from my fingertips with speed and ease.
The best scene of Dry as Rain, (my sophmore novel in progress), is the one I wrote in a day, sent to my crit partner, Ane Mulligan, had her shred it and tell me “no, ma’am”. In about an hour I rewrote it, and sent it back to Ane’s rave reviews.
Nonetheless, even when you’re someone who works well under pressure, deadlines suck. They stress me out, make me bite my nails, hiss at my kids, ignore my husband, and gain weight, but the work itself is not suffering even if my bed-sore covered bottom is.

Funny what you can do when you have to.

I’m curious how you all handle deadlines. Do they stess you out? Do you find you make a way to meet them somehow? Do you find your work suffers from pressured writing?