Friday, February 22, 2008

Sit and Deliver (with an Update)

Maven Jacqueline Barbour Hello, Mavenland! Long time, no see!

Is it just me, or does the pace of life seem to get more and more frantic and exhausting? It's been one of those weeks here in Jackieland. I won't bore you with the details, but I will give you a 30,000 foot overview. On Tuesday night, my ten-year-old son competed in a Battle of the Bands at the local middle school (they didn't win, but since they literally started practicing together last week, they did a fabulous job). The same kid is also crossing over to Boy Scouts on Sunday, which meant lots of last-minute scrambling to complete achievements and ranks and whatnot. On top of that, my younger son's sixth birthday is on March 2 and I've been fielding RSVPs for the party. (Thank God Chuck E. Cheese is doing the coordination, lol. I do believe this may be the first time in my life I've actually been grateful for the existence of such establishments.)

I think I have expounded before on my problem with goal-setting. Or perhaps, more accurately, goal-achieving. I have very difficult time adhering to them if I am the only person to whom I'm answerable for meeting them.

Yet, in the midst of all this madness in my "real" life, I have agreed to meet certain deadlines for completing the remaining novellas in my Gospel of Love series. Now, I don't mean to imply by this that the books are already under contract. They're not. But I do have certain timelines I have to meet if I want the four novellas to be released in short succession, beginning with According to Luke in June and ending with John in September.

Why did I do this? Because while I don't do goals well at all, I do deadlines fantastically well. There's something about having a hard and fast date by which a project must be completed that motivates me and keeps me on task. I am one of those people for whom the work always expands to meet the time available. If I have an indefinite amount of time to finish writing a manuscript, then I will take an indefinite amount of time to finish it. Meaning, in most cases, never.

I notice, however, that deadlines don't work well for everyone. In fact, I know some published authors who simply despise them. For whatever reason, putting their muse on a clock just makes them crazy. And yet, this is a business in which successful writers must be capable of working in both environments, to be motivated both internally and externally.

I'm still working on that internal motivation thing. I know I can sit and deliver these novellas on the schedule I've had set for me. I'm a lot less sure I can go on from there to write the "bigger" book I have planned for which I have no clear market, let alone no clear deadline.

Of course, now I am forced to confess that, even with all that external motivation, I didn't write a word yesterday (unless you count this blog post, lol). What did I do? Why, I built my very first book video trailer for Wickedly Ever After! It's not quite done yet--I still have to find some music I like and buy the images--so I can't share it with you today, And wow, what a fun way to spend several hours of my life. You can see the trailer here. And I must say, I'm quite pleased with the results.

YOUR TURN: What motivates you? Do you love deadlines or hate them? Do you love goals or hate them?


Diana Peterfreund said...

What motivates me?


Angie Fox said...

Great title - Wickedly Ever After. Are you going to post the trailer when you're finished?

My critique partner motivates me. We have things "due" every Monday. Just having someone else notice when I don't have my things in order makes me focus. Now I just need to find a gym/workout partner, instead of kids who literally cheer when I blow off my workouts.

Kelly Krysten said...

I definitely would love deadlines. WIthout them I'm an unmotivated mess who sits around thinking about writing, but never does it. Great post MAven Jackie.

Vicki said...

LOL, I love your answer Diana.

I have to have deadlines, and since I'm still editing, it is apparent that I did not make them this time.

Bill Clark said...

I'm definitely a deadline person. In college, I would always pull an all-nighter to write that pesky paper, because the deadline was classtime in the morning.

Of course, I had been mulling the paper over for weeks beforehand, usually wondering what the heck I was going to say. When I finally sat down to write it, my subconscious went to work and practically dictated the words to me. I was always of the opinion that the paper was better because it was written in one fell swoop of creativity rather than having been drafted and revised to death.

So yes, gimme a deadline (as my publishers did) and I will give you a pretty good product. The problem, however, is that when writing on my own, deadlines tends to be fuzzy to non-existent. This is not good. I do my best work under pressure, and if there's no pressure, there's not a whole lot of work worthy of the name.

I guess I need a keeper, or someone to set deadlines for me and enforce them. Any volunteers? :-)

Ericka Scott said...

I do pretty good with goals...and really well with deadlines.

My muse, however, hates deadlines and about a day before anything is due, she disappears (the *itch) to drink frou-frou drinks with the cabana boys and leaves me to finish up all the grunt work.

Vicki said...

Love the trailer!! And major congrats on the STAR win! How cool and exciting is that. :D

Keira Soleore said...

Goals and schedules and mentors who keep me in line...

Darcy Burke said...

Wow, spicy trailer!! What a cool thing. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

I'm really trying to use the joy I get from writing as a motivator. I find that's easier if you don't allow big gaps in your writing (a day or two is liveable for me, but beyond that and I start getting cranky). Uncranky Darcy is a good motivator. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Good luck with all those deadlines. Since I'm not published, I'm setting my own deadlines, and I'm the only one making sure I complete them. But you know what's helping? I have an Excel layout where I can enter all my writing. On a good day it congratulates me, and on a bad day it tells me I'm not allowed to have any chocolate. It's amazing how hard I'll work just to have those pre-programmed congratulations at the end of a long day of writing.

lacey kaye said...

Just saw the trailer. It's awesome. Check it out!

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens