Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dead-lines

I have to apologize because I have not posted for a while because I have been trying to meet a deadline. Granted, it was a self-appointed deadline, but it still ate up all my time.  I was trying to get a revision to my review committee, and I was working on a certain part of my story that I wanted to be in the revision. I finally got the revision to them late last night.

I worked frantically the last several days to meet my deadline yesterday. And it's not because I put it off to the last minute; I have been working on it consistently. But I guess I have the same problem my husband does when he does home improvement projects: I don't plan enough time.

Whenever he tells me that a certain project will take X amount of time, I have learned to anticipate about 3X amount of time. And it's mostly just because he hasn't done that project before, or it's been a long time, so he has to teach himself as he goes. And then there are always unanticipated complications. Which all takes time. 

I remember one time we were replacing an outside door, only he forgot we didn't actually have that door because we were waiting for a different color to come in. But he started without me, so I could not remind him of that fact until I saw the door missing, the frame knocked out, and the cemented posts sawed off at stoop-level. Obviously, since it was an outside door, we could not leave it unfinished like that.  He had started the project in the mid-afternoon figuring it would only take him a couple of hours. At about 3:00 in the morning we were finally able to leave and go get dinner at Village Inn because they were the only place open that late.

I do the same thing with my writing. I think, "Oh, this isn't very much to do.  I'll have it done in X amount of time." I work on it a little at a time...until the deadline approaches. Then I work frantically to try to finish it in time for the due date/deadline. It's rare when I finish a writing project early, but it's not for lack of trying. I just need to start planning 3X amount of time. I guess I should have figured that out when an author told me he could get an entire first draft down in about 3 months spending two hours a day on it. Then he spends the same amount of daily time for the next year revising it.

Which all makes me think, why do they call them deadlines anyway? Is it because you kill yourself trying to meet them? Or maybe because when you finally reach them, you are so exhausted you can't do anything else? Which is why I'm posting this morning rather than working on my novel. I can't stand to look at it today.