The Alternate Universe of Tight Deadlines
It’s hard to think in the midst of writing for a tight deadline. Some days it’s even hard to breathe. Having my head down means I often forget which day it is and what time it is. These days my mind works way faster than my body does, and I run out of stamina and need to sleep long before I run out of words to write or ideas for more words to write.
Tight deadlines have a way of stripping me bare and, believe me, I don’t mean in a sexy way, urgh! What I mean is that my world gets stripped down to write … eat and sleep when I must, force myself into a couple of workouts – as much as anything because that keeps my brain sharp. Then I do it all over again. My head’s always buzzing from lack of sleep, and each day the deadline closes in, I become less and less social, more and more reclusive and less and less aware of everything else around me. Every time I’m faced with a tight deadline I swear I won’t do it again. Every time I wonder how the hell I’m going to get through it this time, and every time I promise myself I’ll go easier on me next time. But I never do.
In some ways it’s like being in an alternate universe in which everything revolves around writing and story … er … wait a minute. I always live in that universe. In some ways it’s like living in an alternate alternate universe – one that fits a little tighter, with edges that are a little rougher and a whole lot more intense.
Tight deadline as the year closes in around me seem to be a place in which I find myself every year. I suppose it’s the shape of my life, the unconscious ebb and flow of who I am as a person and the desperate race to crowd just one more thing in before the year runs out and becomes history, one more thing that will broaden the definition of me just a little bit more.
The thing that truly drives me crazy about tight deadlines at the end of the year is that there’s so much more I wanted to get done before the year runs out on me. I know all writers suffer from having way more ideas that they ever have time to write, but the suffering seems worse as the year draws to a close.
Nothing feels quite right, the world around me is completely out of focus, and I only feel truly myself when I’m working on the story. I do whatever else I have to do in a fog of self-doubt, while thoughts linger on the WIP and what I wish I still had time to write.
I’m excited that it’s Wade’s story that will close out 2014. And as is always the case, the unfolding of the story is an adventure and an experience
that leaves me wanting to see what happens next. I don’t think any character has surprised me quite as much as Wade has, and as I press on to finish before the end of the year, I find myself once again tunnel-visioned and oblivious to almost everything else around me.
I apologise for the abundance of posts from the archives at the moment, though I’ve done my best to pick out some of the best. I apologise for being somewhere else, even when I’m here. I’m happily writing away in Wade’s Dungeon, and if you were there with me, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else either. I promise to invite you all in early next year, and you can hang out there as long as you want. But for now, it’s just me and Wade and Carla ordering pizza and drinking way more coffee than we probably should.