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IWSG - Best Laid Plans

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for June.  

IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list. 

One thing about being a writer that makes me anxious is meeting deadlines. I'm a responsible person, and I'm usually very organized, but not everything is within my control. The fear of getting involved with a publisher and then being unable to turn out a finished product fast enough sends my sympathetic nervous system into overdrive. It's one reason I lean toward self-publishing.

I recently went on hiatus to write, and I got quite a lot done. Then life happened. Suddenly my box of meticulously laid plans was ripped from my hands and dumped upside down. 

I was nearly done with the first draft of my current WIP. The end was in sight. I could practically taste it. For weeks, I walked around with a perpetual smile on my face, happy. Heckecstatic. 

Now I've had to give up on finishing before the kids get out of school and publishing before the end of the year. I'm more depressed than when I killed off a beloved character in my second book.

And I'm nervous. I'm not beholden to anyone's time line but my own, and yet the thought haunts me: What if I'd had a book deal already? What if I'd made promises to someone other than myself? Legally binding promises?

Does anyone else feel this way?
How do you deal with it?
Did it affect which publishing option you chose?

Announcements, etc...

Mark your calendars.
Lisa Regan's book Aberration releases tomorrow.

For more info, go to her blog.

Natasha Hanova's debut, Edge of Truth, releases tomorrow, too!

You can find her website here.

One last thing...

Are you a 'noreply-comment' blog visitor?
Can people reply to you via email when you leave a comment on their blog?

To find out, leave a reply on your own blog. When the email notification comes, if the email address it shows for you is, then you are one of them.

How do you change this setting?
I found a great blog post about it here, complete with screen shots and instructions for both Blogger and Google+.

Thanks for visiting. :)


  1. My real life is hectic on a daily basis. And from time to time gets ripped from my hands like yours did. I worry about that somewhat if I were traditionally published, but it was not a major consideration in my decision to self-publish.

  2. I write on deadlines for articles frequently and it spurs me on to know that there is someone else depending on my ability to be timely. However, recently I wrote and submitted an article and almost went into full-blown panic because I just couldn't corral the ideas and information into a readable format. Somehow I got it done, and thankfully, it turned out well, but WHEW I was on edge with it. I think self-imposed deadlines are the very hardest! By the way, did you change the blog look? It's nice.

  3. Hi Melissa, I think deadlines are just meant to give us a general idea for when WIPs are supposed to be done. I remember I gave myself until October 3 to be done with my last project, but as you say, life happened. I did feel bad at first, but on top of writing we have other obligations so it's okay to not beat yourself up. Also, at least you're attempting to meet your deadlines. Some people say they want to write a novel but never even get started. You're already ahead. Good luck to you!

  4. I have a very, very busy 5 year old and an in-awe-of-the-world 11 month old-- my time is on their time. It's discouraging sometimes! I see these other Mom's that pump out books like nobody's business and I just can't fathom how they do it!

  5. I'm sorry that life got in the way of your plans, I can understand how discouraging that can be. Try not to be too hard on yourself about it.

  6. I'm scared about deadlines, too, but that's what practice and communication and finding the right person is for. Good luck on your plans!

  7. Self-imposed deadlines are always the toughest! I don't think you should be hard on yourself about not making one, especially if life got in the way (as it so often does, esp. at an interesting part in our drafts!). Maybe set a more tentative deadline, like "I would like to get this chapter done sometime by the end of June, early July." And if you accomplish it, reward yourself. I think when you get to the point where someone else is imposing that deadline, you'll find a way to get there.

  8. Deadlines are pretty scary. I think that's why some writers have decided to self publish--they don't have to worry about deadlines other than the ones they've set on their own.

  9. I think many things happen for reasons. Some may consider that a cop out, but I truly believe it.

    Maybe it's just not time for you to complete your story, yet?

    Maybe there's a reason you're behind on your schedule.

    Bruce Lee used to talk about being 'like water' and flowing along with life. Speaking from experience, I know that being too rigid can, sometimes, hurt more than help.

    You'll be fine :)

    1. That thought crossed my mind - that it wasn't meant to be. But the situation is still disappointing.

      I know it's selfish, but I've been so UN-selfish for so many years, I just want some time for me and a finished, published novel to show for it.

  10. I feel like that all the time. I'm always setting deadlines for myself and then fighting all my other commitments to meet them. I try not to be to hard on myself. I agree with Juliet that self imposed deadlines are the hardest.

    And thanks for stopping by to welcome me at thewickedqueensmirror.

  11. Sorry you were derailed.
    When it's one of those publisher deadlines, you find a way or die trying. Since it's not, don't beat yourself up. Reset your timeline.

  12. Congratulations to Lisa and Natasha!

    I understand wholeheartedly the feeling of deadlines! I think I really wouldn't have survived if I had signed with a publisher, I would hyperventilate everyday and not get anything done lol

    I try to make realistic deadlines for myself but I don't always meet them, not by choice but as you said... life happens. Try not to be too hard on yourself, I always make myself feel better by saying that I wouldn't want to publish something that isn't ready anyway :D

  13. I completely understand this fear. It's why I'm so relieved that I'm in control of my own publishing and IF I have to move my deadlines for some reason, it's okay. (Well, until after I organise a launch and an entire blog tour. Then I kinda feel like I HAVE to make things happen on time because lots of other people are involved!)

  14. I like to think (hope) that if I had a publishing deadline I would be able to meet it but you are right it is pretty scary and life has a tendency to throw us a curve ball from time to time! Keep on track and I'm sure you get there.

    IWSG co-host

    1. Nope, that was the thing. There was NO way around it. :(

  15. That little thing called life can be quite disturbing sometimes.

  16. It is pretty intimidating when you do have a deadline, I'm not going to sugar coat it. I have that whole problem with life steamrolling every single plan that I ever made. But it's like with any deadline and we've all had them at work or when you're planning an event. Somehow, you manage to meet it. (Or you ask for a little, teensy weensy extension!). A really great author said to me recently, "I'm not a fan of real life". LOL. I feel the same way sometimes.

  17. I hate deadlines. I mean DEAD lines? That's so harsh. Yet, I know they're necessary and I do try to meet them. As to the perfectly ordered system going to pot . . . happens all the time here. :-)

  18. Oy, so I am (or was!) a no-reply gal. Huh. Thanks for the heads up, Melissa.

    As for meeting deadlines... I'm in that predicament at the moment. O_O I'll let you know if I make both of them. Instead of blogging, I really should be revising.

  19. Oh Melissa... yes, yes, YES. I sooooo get this. I hear you!!!!!! The thing I'm trying to master right now is to not let where I am writing-wise to affect my happiness level. But it's hard to differentiate the two. But I'm working on it. If you get it figured out, you must tell me the secret! :-)

  20. The best laid plans always seem to go to pot, leaving us depressed and stuck-on-stupid. Sometimes the best plan is no plan. To go with the flow of life and lead with our heart. Whenever I try to meticulously plan my "plan of action" life laughs at me as it's throwing its curve balls.

  21. I sometimes place self imposed deadlines on myself, which is good because it helps me get things done; however, recently the pressures have overwhelmed me. I can't even imagine how it would be to have a publisher breathing down my neck, not that I don't want that. haha Well, write on!

  22. That's so funny my IWSG post has a similar theme. Right now I'm at the stage where I don't quite know how long it might take to write a book. I've got the first draft part down, pretty much, but the revisions are giving me fits.
    I've never worried about publisher deadlines for some reason though, and I don't know why. Maybe because they seem quite leisurely to me? (I'm assuming I'd have revision worked out by then!) Or maybe because if I HAD a publisher, I'd figure out a way to ditch out of my day job and make time?
    I know life sometimes shoots unavoidable arrows our way, and I imagine contracts would have clauses for that. What if the writer becomes ill? It seems that can be worked out.
    No worries, Melissa! Do the best you can because even small steps add up to progress.

  23. I find that when I have a deadline, I move that project to the top of the pile so I'm sure to prioritize it.

  24. I find it pointless to worry about what could have been. Much better to focus on what's happening now.

  25. What I did (by accident) was become unemployed for 6 months and then go on a drafting frenzy where I never actually stopped to revise anything. Then I had a nice backlog by the time I got an agent, which is great because my day job is very detrimental to my productivity. :/

    But I totally understand the fear. It will work out when it happens, I'm sure if it!

  26. Hey:)

    I take it you've never worked in a newsroom? Good gosh, I think most of my pre-kids hair loss stems from deadlines.

    But, deadlines are just another thing you, as an awesome Writer Mom would just fold into your day, especially if it were Legally Binding :)

    Me? I slept less, but have always made my deadlines:)

    PS: Special thanks for stopping by and commenting on my recent D-Day post.

    CSM Ryan's story has received an incredible amount of support.

    A HUGE *Thank you* to DL Hammons - and all the Blitzers :)

    Bill said to let everyone know he really appreciates all the personal comments directed his way :)


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