I have several clients who are in the middle of writing books under deadline for the first time. If you’ve been laboring for years on your own, hoping for that publishing contract, be aware that with the contract comes new pressures! I thought you might be interested in this email correspondence I had with a client.
I am in need of your prayer. I’d love nothing better than to say that everything is hunky-dory and wonderful and that I’m enjoying this publishing experience to the fullest. However, I’m finding myself bogged down with tons of stuff, my attention everywhere but on the second book, and now that I’m two months from deadline, I’ve decided to admit I’m not perfect and that I need help.
Please pray for me that I get and stay focused on my project and that I’m able to meet my deadline, and not only that, but that I am able to turn in better than mediocre work. At this point in the game, I’m a bit worried about it all, and as I’ve mentioned, everything is pulling on my attention, so the devil is hard at work on me.
Dear Frazzled Author,
Oh how WELL I know that place. When you have a tough deadline, everything seems to conspire to keep you from meeting it. Sometimes it feels like climbing Mt. Everest.
Yes, I’ll pray for you. Just be aware that every writer deals with this; not to mention that this is your first “under deadline” book so it’s bound to be MUCH more of a challenge. This is normal!
If there’s any piece of advice I can offer, its “take your own words to heart.” You said, “I can’t do it myself” and that is the truth. Now’s the time to consider various ways to call in the reinforcements. Get more help with cooking, grocery shopping, housecleaning if possible (delegate!) Set up a schedule for each week (it can be different each week, just as long as you make one) where you have protected writing times. Sit your family down if necessary and let them know: “The next 60 days may be tough on you but I really need you to step up to the plate!” It might be hard on them but that’s okay; this is a learning curve for your whole family. They need to learn that when you’re on deadline, there is always going to be a period of time when they’re pretty much on their own. Behind every successful writer is a supportive family who mobilizes to pick up the slack when necessary.
I had a period of time last year when I simply couldn’t handle everything. For those few months I had a housecleaning service and I utilized some local dinner-preparation services. Our family really came together to handle it all, and nobody was the worse for wear! When my kids were younger, I had a neighborhood pre-teen come in and be a “mother’s helper” so I could write.
It takes intentional preparation to make this work. Get your family and even friends involved, and get whatever help you can.
Also, prayer really helps! (And I submit that it’s not always the devil out to get you, it’s just the normal course of life.)
Your Always-Full-of-Advice Agent
Experienced writers out there: Give us your ideas for getting through those last few weeks before deadline. What are your practical tips for making sure you have the time you need? What advice do you have for dealing with the mental & emotional strain?