The trouble with deadlines

I mentioned recently that I was planning to release the next book in April, although I hadn’t yet set a firm date. I’m glad I didn’t. You see, I’ve run into some trouble.

Apparently, I’m turning into one of those people that doesn’t respond well to deadlines – even if I’m the one who set said deadline. As soon as I decided that was when I wanted to release the book, things seemed to just kind of fall apart. My plot won’t cooperate, things that were supposed to happen didn’t happen or happened in a way that didn’t work, and I just got so unbelievably frustrated.

So now, here I sit, with a nearly finished book that is about as cooperative as holding water in your bare hands, and no idea what to do with it. So, I’ve done the only thing a writer can do at a moment like this: thrown a fit. Okay, not really. No, I got to work on another book. It’s an idea I’ve been toying with and an idea for bringing it fully together came to me as I was cursing the other book for not coming together. So, I figured I’ll work on it for a bit and one of two things will happen: either I’ll figure out how to make Ripped Away work so that I can finish, edit and release it, or I’ll finish, edit and release this new one.

What I find so strange about this experience though, is that it’s a first for me. In the past, I’ve often found I work better under a bit of pressure. Not the “this project is due in five minutes and I haven’t even figured out what I’m supposed to do with it!” kind of pressure, but more along the lines of “finished with only a few days/hours to spare.” When I used to write for Examiner, the pressure of writing five articles per week for two different titles was somewhat exhilarating. Of course, after a while it did become exhausting, because it was all I did, but that came later.

But for some reason, when I set this deadline, it threw me into some kind of tailspin. It was a perfectly reasonable deadline, more than enough time to do what needed to be done. Truthfully, I shouldn’t have felt pressured at all. So I’m not at all sure what happened this time around.

This will drive me nuts for at least the next week. No more deadlines for me! (For now, anyway!)