chopsticks. I try to make both work, but life gets in the way of time and those
chopsticks get in the way of a full stomach.
looking), what happens to our dreaded deadlines?
What do you do when one looms while you’re tackling life issues?
suggest that we ought to have taken
delays into account and been ahead of the game. Once upon a time, I was that person: researching early to finish
the paper before its due date or studying early to ace the test. When a task loomed,
my motto was “Get up, get it done, and relax later.”
left my organizational skills on the floor of my editing job. It was easy—it is easy—for me to edit, pare, revise,
and organize others’ tomes or even my own fully realized story. It is
painstakingly difficult for me to plot my way through a first draft in a way
that doesn’t require cut and paste and flip and toss during the rewrite phase.
of its editor. I only needed to write 100+ pages. That’s nothing, right?
fury—or delight. Shouldn’t a poet be good at short?
without a lot of work over a long time. Without a kick from one of my critique
partners. A rewrite. A missed deadline—happily, though, merely a self-imposed
one. (If I’d been under the chopping block, my old habits would have reasserted
themselves, surely, and kept me up nights or roused me at daybreak.)
last year will move into the hands of my editor soon. It is now March.
excuses: a new grandbaby and time dedicated to him, his mother, and his sister. Travel,
illness, chores. Stuff. But I could have written during the evenings or early mornings
or any time at all that wasn’t offered up to the pleasure of being with my
but I had choices in each case. A fork, for instance. Or time management.
The push that propelled that novella into completion had
nothing to do with a deadline and everything to do with the tug of another
book. The characters of my next story whispered their worries in my thoughts and
in my dreams. But I couldn’t allow myself to return to them until this one had
The End typed on its final page.
life? Do you outline your day, your month, your writing? Do you use a flow chart? Are you faithful in
following through with expectations, either self- or other-imposed? And what
propels you to finish something that’s no longer fun?