Day 27 of Speedbo. Once again this is your reminder that Speedbo isn't simply about writing a book. It's about challenging your personal status quo. Your norm. Your comfort zone.
Speedbo is about changing your future. You can do much more than you realize and with God's help, your vision can come to pass. "God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could ask or imagine." Ephesians 3:20-21
Just so you know that you aren't alone, I bring you deadline tales from the trenches. Tales from some of your favorite authors.
Had to be a God thing... I was six weeks from deadline with a book that was not working. After I realized the prince and my heroine had yet to meet and I was on page 192 (ha!) I started over again! But I could muscle up and do it. I had a good feel for what I needed to do. It would take 5k words a day to get it rewritten and submitted on time, or with the few days of grace offered by my editor, but I could do it. Then, bam! Menopause steamrolled into my life. Literally at 2:30 in the morning. I couldn't eat, sleep or think. I was tired, melancholy and at night, I'd tremble. Like a scared pup. Try to sleep when your heart is pounding and your body is quaking! This left me exhausted and as creative as a rock. Worse, I didn't care. I wanted to quit. I'd lay on the Florida room couch in the morning's wee hours and imagine calling my publisher to tell her, "I quit. Done. Outta here." Then I'd wait for the peace to come. It never did. Not in those moments. Only when I said, "Okay God, I'll stick with it." Then the tiniest sliver of light broke through my hormone soaked darkness. Every day, I'd climb the stairs to my office and write 5K words. I had no idea if they were any good. I'd cry in the middle of a scene. And not because the story was so touching. Because I was a mess. With the support of my husband and my publisher, and my writing partners Susan May Warren and Beth Vogt, I lived to write another day. That book went on to earn a Starred Review from Booklist. God, in the midst of my extreme weakness, was strong! He has my heart forever and ever! #keepwriting.
Rachel Hauck, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author-The Wedding Shop.
It was a dark and stormy night, and my manuscript was due the next day. Hubby, my beta reader, plowed through the pages of the final draft and smiled when he came to the end. “I liked what I read,” he said. “Although I thought the scene you repeated worked better later in the story.” My eyes widened. “You read the same scene twice…in different sections of the manuscript?” He nodded and showed me where he had marked the pages. “Here’s the scene initially,” he said. Then he turned to a later chapter. “And here it is again.” Silly me! I had moved the scene, but I had failed to delete the original text. Thankfully, hubby caught the error. I corrected my mistake and, early the next morning, sent the story to my editor. Wonder what she would have thought about those duplicate scenes? Probably not much. Thanks to hubby, my deadline had a happy ending.
-Debby Giusti. Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author. Amish Refuge.
While trying to meet one particularly challenging deadline when my kids were younger, they had gotten to point where every evening, one of them would see me at my computer and say, "So we're on our own for dinner again tonight?" :) When I finally turned that book in, you've never seen such happy faces as when I told them, "NO! You're not on your own! Tonight...we're going out to celebrate!" (Who could be expected to cook that first night back to real life?!) I have to say, though, that families are resilient. I don't think my kids are scarred from eating cereal and frozen pizzas near deadlines over the years. :) They're now young adults who are proud of their mom for battling through the tough times to pursue her dream.
- Missy Tippens. The Doctor's Second Chance.
- Julie Lessman. A Glimmer of Hope (Free Download).
I’ve been on a constant deadline for almost 3 ½ years now. In those years I’ve written and edited 8 ½ books. The constant pressure has taught me a lot. I’ve always been a scatterbrained person prone to forget things. But honestly, I think the constant deadlines have made me more focused, and I actually forget fewer things than I did before I started getting contracts and having deadlines. I try not to make my family suffer just because I’m on a deadline, but they do pitch in a bit more when they know I’m behind and/or the deadline is drawing near.The main thing to suffer is my house. I can’t even tell you when I last did a thorough cleaning. Let’s just say that people are not welcome to just drop by and stay for a visit without weeks of prior notice!
-Melanie Dickerson. NYT Bestselling Author. A Viscount's Proposal.
Deadlines can be a tense time. For most deadlines, I don’t get too anxious. When I hit send, I usually feel pretty confident that I did my best. I know that I can still make changes in the round of edits. Except for the FINAL DEADLINE! That’s when anything I miss will be forever out there for the world read. Why’s it in caps? Because that’s when my anxiety reaches an all-time high and I tend to get a little intense. Thankfully, my family has learned to read the signs of Mom-in-deadline. Usually, this period is very short. Like a week. Most times it goes smoothly. But one time, when I was finishing up one of my books for my Amish Country Justice series, I hit a major technology snag. Okay, maybe not major, but it felt like it. I was plodding along when I suddenly saw that my word count had gone down. By around 100 words. Somehow, I had erased an entire conversation. A really important one. I tried the undo key. My cursor flew back to something I had typed pages earlier. My words were gone. I have no clue what happened. I was able to go back to an earlier draft and copy and paste the conversation back in. By that time, I was really panicking. What if I did it again, and didn’t know about it? I finished editing and then sent it off to my wonderful critique partners, who read it to make sure everything was in order and read smooth. They gave it thumbs up. I truly believe that God alerted me to the problem.
-Dana R. Lynn. Plain Target.
I recently finished a novella for the Classified K-9 Unit continuity series, which started in March. The story is set at Christmas time and I had it in my head the word count was 35k. I’m a heavy plotter so when I was finished with my plot I thought, eek, I have too much story here, so I paired it down and work hard to make the story come in as close to 35k as I could. I ended up a thousand words over. But I was finished early which turned out to be a blessing because it turned out my word count was 30k. Ugh! I was 6k over. I’ve never had to cut so many words before but over the next two weeks I chopped and chopped until I finally was able to turn the book in on time with the correct word count. Whew!
-Terri Reed. Guardian (Classified K9 Unit)
Anyone who knows me will tell you I can be a real spaz. Back in December 2014, I was working on a manuscript that would end up being Her Small-Town Romance. In order to stay on track with my writing goals, I needed to finish drafting the book before Christmas. I didn’t want to spend the beginning of my kids’ Christmas vacation stuck in my office all day, though, so I gave myself a new deadline—the Friday before their break. The day arrived and I still had almost ten thousand words to write. With the help of a large McDonald’s Coke and my trusty M&Ms, I wrote for twelve hours straight. I didn’t even break for dinner. My husband thought I was nuts and slid a plate with some food on it to me around 8pm. I paused for a few bites, but kept going until I typed The End around 10pm. I giggle about it now, but it won’t be the last time I push myself to meet a crazy goal. I’m just wired that way!
-Jill Kemerer. Hometown Hero’s Redemption.
Jo Ann Brown, Publishers Weekly Bestselling Author. A Ready Made Amish Family.
And to protect..everyone, we have a few anonymous tales.
The book was due, and I had three more projects in the queue, which meant I couldn't dilly dally. I had 30k words and I realized NOTHING was working. The characters weren't working, the story wasn't working, the plot wasn't working. I was shaking. Literally shaking. I asked for a short extension and rewrote the entire book in 22 days. I only kept about 3k words from the original proposal, which meant I wrote 67k in 22 days. Then the flu came sweeping through our house. The book wasn't great, but it wasn't as bad as you'd think. Worst, most miserable experience of my writing life. On the good side, writing a 20k novella in month felt like a breeze after that! -Anonymous
Once I wrote a proposal with a false engagement, and the editor's notes said that she didn't like how the engagement was written. Misunderstanding the direction, I took out the entire plot line instead of making the engagement more believable (what she meant). I was finishing up the book when the editor asked me for titles. She rejected all the titles and asked for a title that included a reference to the false engagement. The book was due in two weeks. I had to write the plot line back *in* to the book! Lesson learned. When in doubt: Ask. -Anonymous
I've always believed I was a slow writer. That is until one particular deadline. The story was plotted out. Being stuck should NOT have happened. Yet, it did happen. When the solution finally hit, I wrote twenty-five thousand words in two days. I no longer tell people I'm a slow writer. -Anonymous.
Deadline Quotes from our Anonymous Authors.
My son once said, "That's about as believable as when mom says she's going to finish a book before deadline." Sigh. Even the kids know.
My kids don't even blink when they find there is milk in the pantry (instead of the refrigerator) during deadline week. They've learned that mom is there, but not 'there.'
I once fell asleep on the space bar and added 1,011 blank pages to the document. It took a long time to delete all those pages.
I told my husband, "Remember, I'm on deadline this week." He rolled his eyes and said, "How is this different from every other week?"
My children grew up with their mother as a writer on deadline. From an early age, I heard my daughter explain to her siblings that, "Mom is in her happy place." Meaning I was definitely in my head and not on this planet.
An Urban Legend Deadline Tale.
As an unpublished author, new to RWA, I heard the story of a multi-published author who entered the Golden Heart when she was an unpublished newbie. She didn't just enter. She entered by overnighting her entry at what would have been a whopping cost, at the last possible minute. In those draconian days, we had to print out our entry and snail mail them. This nameless legend finaled, and won her category of the Golden Heart and went on to sell that book and many, many more. This tale kept me entering the Golden Heart year after year. And I finaled twice.
-Tina Radcliffe. Rocky Mountain Cowboy.
Now, in this last week, we encourage you to press on! But before you do, we'd love for you to share your own deadline tale! No matter what the deadline was. Like that time you were late for church and showed up with your shirt inside out. Come on, you know you wanna tell us! Leave a comment for a chance at this fun giveaway!
Card Catalogue Note Cards with Envelopes that look like check out sleeves from old library books. Two winners. A reader and a writer. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.
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Don't forget that the end of Speedbo means revising. You can sign up for Tina Radcliffe's month-long self-paced class, Self-Editing for Beginners, that runs April 3-28 here. If you have already taken the class, you can audit for free if you need a refresher. Just email Tina.