#MidWeekPOV #Deadlines and Revelations

deadline

For the last three weeks, I’ve been clomping around the house, snarling at everyone within range, including the cats and dogs. I’ve grumbled and fretted and whined and complained, and generally let stress become my constant companion. Why? Because my . . . *shudder . . . DEADLINE was approaching, and I wasn’t making fast enough progress on finishing my fifth book.

I railed at every delay, shaking my fist at the sky, and shouting imprecations. Okay, maybe not quite that much drama, but I can assure you, I was not a pleasant person to be around. Ask my husband. I had set my mind to having this book published before the end of May, and it seemed obvious to me that the Fates were conspiring against me. The last edits were hampered by everything from me falling ill (Stress-related? You think?) to an uncooperative internet that had emails taking up to six hours to reach my editor.

Oh, it was SO unfair, and I was just totally wrecked by the very idea that I was going to miss that hideous,Β  looming deadline. It became a certainty, and there was simply no way around it. Even tossing and turning for two straight nights didn’t improve the picture. (Imagine. As if that ever solved anything.)

But guess what? Yesterday morning, I awoke calm and stress free. (Mostly. Let’s not try to alter my basic make-up, here.)Β  Somewhere during the night, I’d had a revelation, to wit: I am not in control of Time. Not on a cosmic scale, or even on a day-to-day basis. It is far beyond my capacity to do anything about Time, other than aim at certain, usually arbitrary goals.

And therein lies the other part of my revelation. My deadline, which I’d been slaving and sweating and stressing toward reaching, was arbitrary. Arbitrary. As in, “Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system. Whimsical. Capricious.”

Excuse me? Whimsical? Capricious? Well. In a word, yes. I did it to myself, for no good reason other than I thought I could have the book done by that date. And then I beat myself up day and night, because it wasn’t happening the way I planned. How stupid is that? (Rhetorical question. Please stop shouting out the obvious answer.)

The bottom line is, I set that deadline, and I could, by golly, eliminate it! I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen firsthand how many times release dates get pushed back, even by my favorite authors. Not naming any names here ( Jim Butcher), but it happens. And the world doesn’t stop spinning on its axis. Rifts in the space/time continuum don’t suddenly appear. Life finds a way to forge ahead, with or without that particular book on the Kindle Store shelves.

Revelations rock! Yesterday, I smiled at the morning sun, and strolled outside to water my slowly recuperating garden, just as if I had all the time in the world at my disposal. What happened, you ask? (You did ask, right?) Simple. I let go. Of the stress. Of the worries. And mostly, of the freakin’ impossible to reach deadline!

***

How about you? Ever stress yourself out in this way? Setting impossible to reach goals and then smacking yourself around because you fail to meet them? If so, you might need a revelation of your own.Β  Deadlines? Put ’em to rest!

deadlines

 

44 thoughts on “#MidWeekPOV #Deadlines and Revelations

  1. I’ve been there, too. But then I get frustrated that I had to move the deadline! Still, you’re right. Deep breaths, I tell myself. No one will die if I miss a deadline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep . . . not even YOU. πŸ˜€ I’m no longer frustrated at all. I’m focused on making this book as good as it can be, and finding some new ways to promote the launch, when it’s ready to go. I’m happy. πŸ™‚

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  2. Oh, how I love the picture. It’s the perfect representation of our frustrations. Good for you that you came out of that gloomy phase in your life!
    But at least it was something you imposed on yourself. What about deadlines not respected by publishers/editors? Like signing the contract in 2012 and the book not being ready yet?
    Now that you realized it’s no good fretting, you should bake a cake for your husband, recipient of your moods!
    Glad to hear the energetic, positive Marcia is back. Reloaded!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carmen! You bring up a good point. I have no answers for what to do about deadlines enforced (or IGNORED) by others. I suspect that’s one more reason why I’m self-published. I don’t want anyone telling me what I’ve got to do, and when. That really would push me over the edge! As for my husband, I don’t bake, sorry. I’m the designated EATER in the crowd. πŸ˜€ Maybe I’ll take him out for dinner somewhere nice. That should do it. And I don’t even have to cook! πŸ˜€

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    • I should think so! πŸ˜€ Thanks, Marie. Everything IS relative, but beating oneself up for no good reason is just STOOPIT!! That’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it! πŸ˜€

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  3. Oh, Marcia I know just what you mean! Because of family circumstances I am months past my deadline. It’s so dispiriting. I have had to make the decision that I need to back off social media as much as possible for a few weeks but then I take a peep and old friend are there sharing my posts etc. What to do! The Tenby Book Fair is in September and I’m interviewer the authors (something I love doing) So… anybody got spare minutes please send them my way, I’ll make good use of them and fashion them into an eight day week. Promise!! Glad you managed your own deadline, Marcia. Good luck with it.Jx

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    • Oh, I failed totally at my own deadline, Judith. But I don’t care, anymore. I realized the only thing I had any control over was my reaction to it, so I QUIT allowing it to consume my every waking minute. I let it go, and now I’m working away at a normal pace, without that sick-at-my-stomach feeling causing me to be miserable.

      I hope you are able to let go of the anxiety and stress, too, and be happy knowing you are doing all you can do. There’s no more you should ask, or expect, of yourself than that. It will be enough, because there is no more. πŸ™‚ Be good to yourself! πŸ™‚

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  4. My latest choking stress happened this past weekend. Schedules went out the window, guests arrived, my days were topsy-turvy and out of my comfort zone. I thought I’d have a stroke. I had to let go. Made a difference. Just like you. ❀ ❀

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  5. I’m so pleased you blew the self-imposed stress out the window!
    There’s nothing like being stressed for making you ill, which takes up yet more time, and ruins creativity. Not to mention making everyone around you stressed too!
    Well done for taking that step.
    I’ve given up setting firm deadlines (of the self-imposed variety) because I realised I’m never going to make them. I have enough pressure from the deadlines for my (thankfully) paid non-fiction writing, so although I set preferred deadlines for myself, I no longer get stressed if I can’t achieve them. I’m not going to make my July deadline on this latest book, I know it, but hey ho, it isn’t life or death.
    Probably. πŸ˜‰

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        • Oh, I do, too. Up until the point where it’s causing me to go berserk, when I realize it can’t be met. Then I just eliminate it, and finish off the last little bits as quickly and steadily as I can. I’m not one to go off and do other things while I have a book on the brink of publication. Except today, of course, since I DO have an Eco Tour to do. But I’ll be reading the prologue of the book, so that makes it part of the launch plan. πŸ˜€ And thus, A-OK to be doing in these last days.

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  6. I’m glad you resolved your stress Marcia, but what about us readers? I have been waiting and waiting for the end of May to read “The Harbinger”. Just looked on Amazon to see it it was available. Guess I’ll have to roll with the punches too! β˜ΊοΈπŸ˜‰

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    • *waving* Hi, Karen! Oh, believe me, I know about you wonderfully eager readers! I get asked about this everywhere I go these days. (Bev is going to go to the Dark Side if I don’t get the books to her soon!) You COULD say trying to please you guys is how I worked myself up into such a snit, anyway, since I don’t have a publishing company breathing down my neck. I really, REALLY wanted to have the book done by the end of May, and I tried. Oh, how I tried! (Ask my editor!)

      But the truth is, it wasn’t ready. And I figured you’d prefer waiting another week or two for a book that was done RIGHT, than me rushing it to production with errors or formatting problems.

      I started Harbinger in late October, so only 7 months ago, even though it seems longer. Publishing a new book every 7 months or so is still pretty quick, as these things go. I’m always trying to write faster, but a story takes what it takes to tell it well, which I hope I’ve done. And this one was tricky. Writing about demon dogs and men driven crazy isn’t easy, ya know. πŸ˜€

      Bottom line is, having a nervous breakdown over an arbitrary date isn’t smart. After all, if I go crazy, who will write the next Riverbend book, and tell you the story of the OTHER Painter brothers??? πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      Yesterday, I wrote my Author’s Notes, and started working on the blurb, plus trying to research the best categories to list this one in, so that new readers can find it. Plus, I’m figuring out how to launch the book, and if I want to run promos, etc, right off the bat or not. I’ve waited very late to tackle these questions, so some of them may end up falling by the wayside. (I’ll do it much better for my next one.)

      Good to see you here, Karen, and I promise I’ll have Harbinger done as quickly as possible. The book doesn’t do me any good sitting here on my computer where no one will ever see it, so I’m striving to get it done, get it formatted, and start getting it SOLD! And I hope you’ll enjoy it when it’s ready. (Hint: My favorite parts of this story deal with Mac and Rabbit’s growing bond. It’s definitely their book, with Sarah and Branna taking a back seat to the “men,” this time.) Soooooon, My Precious! Soon!

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  7. Sounds like a familiar tale Marcia. Only I’m one step ahead of you. I’ve done the self punishment thing. But the important thing is that we keep setting those deadlines, they keep us focused to try and meet them. Then if we don’t, we at least know we tried, and there’s always tomorrow. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH, I didn’t skip the self-punishment thing. I’d been doing it for over three weeks, when I realized how stupid and unproductive it is. Hence, the revelation. NOW I’m no longer beating up on me. Much. πŸ™‚ Goals, including deadlines, should give us something so strive for, but they should not be an excuse to have a nervous breakdown over something we created for ourselves. At least, that’s my story, an’ I’m stickin’ to it! πŸ˜€

      All we should ever expect of ourselves is that we try our best. If we’re already doing that, then the rest is a “turn over” thing. It’s out of our hands, and we should let it go.

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  8. I think resetting the deadline was a good move. Self-imposed deadlines can be a wonderful incentive, but if they result in us punching the walls and kicking the cat, then they’re probably more trouble than they’re worth. πŸ™‚

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