Thursday, May 3, 2012


As an unpublished author, I used to dream of having deadlines. I knew that participating in National Novel Writing Month gave me energy to get to 50,000 words in a month (and it still does), but with the last book I turned in, I've found that not all deadlines are fun. Sometimes, they're downright painful. Life is exploding in one way and then another, and you're dodging the shrapnel of life while trying to soldier on toward the end goal.

This recent book was like that. I went through a broad range of emotions, everything from wondering why I decided to pick up writing all the way to hey, this is pretty good. Those emotions aren't rare. I've felt them before occasionally, but instead of with months between, it was with days -- or even hours.

Here are a couple tips I found while in the trenches (yes, I'm going to town with the military theme, aren't I?):

1.) Try to remind yourself why you initially wanted to write the story. Sometimes when I'm up to my neck in stress, it's hard to remember why in the world I decided the story needed my attention right then and there. Once I went back to what sparked the enthusiasm in the story, it was easier, and I rebuilt the tiny flames of passion, figuring out what I was doing and why.

2.) Find something that relaxes you and do it, whether it's reading, getting a massage, playing computer games, or taking a walk, go for it! Getting a little time away for half an hour or so re-energized me since lets face it... how much work can someone really get done when they're crispy and at their limit? Probably not as much as they'd want or need. That said, don't let half an hour reading turn into two hours. You're under a deadline! No running away allowed! :-)

What tips do you guys have, writers or not, to keep you on track when you're under a tight deadline?

Sarah Mäkelä

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