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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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By: Kathleen Pickering

heroin_powderDeadlines are like  heroin for me.

Hold on, now! Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never done heroin. And, I can say with an open heart and clean conscience that heroin is slotted nowhere in my life schedule.

However, I do have an addictive personality. So, I’m thinking that if it is irresistibly alluring to be addicted to something others consider awful, I am irresistibly addicted to deadlines!

I have self-published four books that required no deadlines. I had one other novel released by a publisher years ago. So, I’m pretty much a newbie to the workings from an editor’s desk. 

Well, last Thursday was my first deadline with Harlequin. (I know. Not a mystery, but hey, love can mislead one, kill another, or solve deep mysteries, no?) So, I am pleased to announced that I main-lined that first deadline directly to my editor’s in-box with time to spare.

What a freakin’ rush!!

That defining moment was capped with a lovely, complimentary email from my editor thanking me for meeting the short notice. She then went on to suggest that I should kick back and relax until the line edits came back.

I thought, “Huh? No way!” I NEED another deadline! That felt soooooo good. Having those characters run through my blood, live in my brain and rush into the keyboard to find a happily-eva-afta! I must, must, must do it again. Gotta have it!

But then, I thought. Hey, that was a lot of work. You don’t want to burn out. So, I took one day. Friday. I consciously wasted time to regroup, detox the adrenaline rush, and just enjoy that I’m a normal kind of gal. Maybe go shopping. Call a friend. Play with dolphins? 025_25

I’ve heard this sage advice from all my seasoned author friends: When you’re not BICHOK (Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard) be sure to waste your time consciously. Be aware that you have chosen not to write in order to regroup, percolate, smell the roses, drink the coffee and see what’s happening outside that closet in your mind.

Wasting time consciously in itself is healthy, but when you have an addictive personality such as mine, it’s hard to let go of the deadline craving. Without thinking twice, I may think I’m consciously wasting time, but I’m really using these hours to open a vein into which the next story can flow. (I’m sure the sage heads of those who know are nodding.)

The best high about being an author is that everything I do can trigger a story. I could, without trepidation, consciously waste time because the possibilities I might find would simply take me back to my dealer . . . um, I mean, editor.  (Coughing into fist with embarrassment.)It’s pretty clear that if I deliver another good story, she’ll give me what I crave most: a DEADLINE. Ahhh. It doesn’t get better than that.

So, I did it. I consciously wasted a day, with great abandon until the tug came back. The tremors began, and that hunger bit deep. I got on the keyboard to my editor and said, “Thanks for the excellent suggestion, but if you don’t mind, ten hours was enough. I’m hammering out my next proposal, immediately. I need another deadline fix. NOW!!

I should be feeling better soon folks. No worries. Smile

So, tell me, my writer, artist, and business-minded friends. How do you consciously waste time between creative processes in order to rejuvenate?


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