Wishing all of our friends and readers a very special and meaningful Memorial Day, and offering our deepest gratitude to those who have served our country and given their lives that we might enjoy the freedoms we are so privileged to enjoy. May we never forget the sacrifices they and their families have made.
I am on a deadline crunch this month, with my first draft due to my editor on May 31. Ack! That’s this coming Saturday! I’m sure my husband would tell you it’s a good thing I only write one book a year (or very rarely two) because deadline time around our house is usually not a very pleasant experience. Least of all for my hubby. Poor guy! (Look at him! Isn’t he a keeper?)
As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I tend to need to rewrite the first half of every book umpteen times to reflect the ways my characters have changed and grown as I’ve gotten to know them. I may have spent the better part of a year researching and developing characters, but until the words start piling up, it doesn’t appear I’m making progress. Once I reach the one-month countdown, the writing comes easier and I can crank out two thousand words a day, twice my normal output.
Unfortunately, that can only happen if I keep my tail in this chair and write. Long hours. Every single day. Until the book is done. And that means saying no to so many things. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at this as I’ve gotten older, but instead, it seems the older I get, the harder it is to say no, and the more precious the things I need to say no to. When May 1 hit, I had only two (count ’em, 2!) events on the entire month’s calendar (not counting church on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings, and a haircut, which I planned to combine with my usual weekly visit to see my mom.) I’d warned my sisters and brother that I probably wouldn’t make it to see our mom quite as often this month. I put off several lunches with friends, including a birthday celebration (MY birthday!) until after June 1. I said no to a ton of requests to write endorsements or reviews, or to judge contests, or other publishing-related requests.
And still… STILL, the calendar somehow filled up. Not all the interruptions were bad. In fact, most of them were lovely. My daughters surprised me and drove 9 hours to spend Mother’s Day with me! Yes, I might have lost two full writing days, but my sweet girls did all the grocery shopping and cooking and cleanup while they were here, AND left us with a full week’s worth of leftovers, which made up many of the lost work hours.
But I’ve had to say no too many times this month–this entire spring, really–including canceling a trip to visit precious grandkids. And I find myself praying that when I finally emerge victorious with a finished book and a few weeks off to celebrate, that my friends and family will all still be speaking to me, and that I won’t have to spend too much time doing damage control for all the things I’ve let slide.
Does anyone else feel this way when you have to say no because of work commitments? Do you feel guilty because what is urgent crowds out what is truly important? Do you feel sad because your necessary “no” sometimes means missing something that will never happen again? Do you feel like you’ve let people down and hurt people’s feelings?
I’d love to know how you deal with this. Other than moving to Siberia. Sigh. How have you put boundaries in place? How have you learned to make wise choices when so many worthy things compete for your attention? Help!