Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Greetings From Deadline Hell
by Maggie Marr
In this cycle we Girlfriends are blogging about the Crazy. While many have blogged about crazy characters and crazy stories, I am blogging about my own personal brand of Crazy: Deadline Hell.
Every writer who has ever put pen to paper has felt the press of this Crazy. It starts to form as we push up against those ever present (and for me necessary) deadlines whether self-imposed or because a manuscript is due to a House. This year, my deadlines are self-imposed so I have no one to blame but me--ah smell the scent of self-punishment as we embark on this journey.
First there is the: I can get this done if I do x number of pages per day. This, usually starts for me, in revisions at about the T-30 day mark. I do the math. I mark the calendar. I inevitably fall behind. As the page count of actually revised pages falls further and further behind and the day-count grows greater and greater, I sink into a firm state of denial. I redo the math and think calmly to myself: Of course I can revise 179 pages in 3 days--really who can't?
(Cue maniacal laughter.) Bwa ha, ha, ha, ha!
At the T-48 hour mark there are certain things every author embraces and certain things every author gives up. A little list of my faves.
1. Sleep. Who needs it? Why would anyone want it? Especially in the depths of despair of chapter 14 which has no reason for existing. My brain works BETTER without the zzzz's.
2. Coffee. (See 1.) In order to inhabit any deadline one must guzzle coffee as if the nectar of the Gods. Fortunately I can thank college and grad-school for this little nugget of knowledge.
3. Showers. Forget about it. My computer doesn't have a nose. We're all good.
4. Children. I had two before the deadline, and fingers crossed they are smart enough not to throw knives and play with fire, because at this point it will take a 3-alarmer or a laceration to get my attention from this damn book.
5. Friends. I'm an introvert, they get it. Plus they know I'm a writer which makes me inherently odd.
6. Communication. None. My characters are getting everything I have.
7. Sunlight. Maybe if I can stand up after 14 hours and it's still daylight, I might haul the computer outside and work. Then again, I'm fair-skinned and easily burned. Hello darkness my old friend...
8. Pajamas. Come to Mama! Truly the biggest perk of any deadline. Their is no expectation that I clothe myself in the traditional sense. I could (haven't yet, but hey, it's early in my career) go to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, and even the mall in my pajamas, wouldn't even flinch. I'M ON DEADLINE!
9. Email/FB/Twitter. Distraction? Did you say distraction? Yes, I want a distraction. Okay, just for 5 minutes...oh my God it's been TWO HOURS! WTF! I am on DEADLINE.
10. Food. Only the essentials. Chocolate, potato chips, and chocolate. Did I mention chocolate?
And finally--PANIC. Okay, not really something we want or should embrace as writers, but hey fear can be a motivating force.
So this is my current cup-o-crazy, the Deadline Hell. Please add your little nuggets of Crazy in the comments and once I turn this manuscript in (PLEASE GOD LET ME TURN THIS MANUSCRIPT IN) I'll let random.org choose a winner and send you a copy of Can't Buy Me Love. That's of course after I check on my children, sleep for a week, shower, put on some clothes, eat a salad, call my mother, and go outside.
Maggie Marr is an author, attorney, and producer. She used to be a motion picture literary agent in Hollywood. She is the author of Hollywood Girls Club, Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club, and Hollywood Hit. She also writes the new adult Glamour Series. Hard Glamour and Broken Glamour are out, and Fast Glamour is KILLING HER. Can't Buy Me Love is the first book in her Eligible Billionaires Series and One Night For Love, book 2 will publish this summer if she lives through her revisions of Fast Glamour. Courting Trouble is book 1 in the Montecito Montgomery Series, which Maggie dearly loves, but for some reason doesn't sell as well as the rest of her books. Courting Trouble is only .99 cents. For only .99 cents why not give it a read? Maggie lives and works in Los Angeles. She has family and friends who are gracious enough to welcome her with open arms each time she turns in a book and exits Deadline Hell.