Sunday, December 18, 2011

Deadlines and Procrastination

As any of you who have read my previous posts will know, I'm not a huge fan of editing.  In fact, if I can find an excuse to not edit (such trying to decide on a new desktop for my computer...because that's oh so important...) I will do it.  Take, for instance, this very blog post.  While I may have to have a blog post up by midnight tonight (or risk being turned into a pumpkin...don't ask...) I didn't need to do it right now.  I am, though, because I turned the page and stared in dismay at all the purple marks.

Another thing I've never been good with is arbitrary deadlines.  I like to set a dead line for editing (Like, say, the first ten chapters done by the fifth of December) then let it pass by with a shrug and perhaps a comment about how I can make up the time later.

So now it's the 18th, and I'm still working on those first ten chapters.  (Yes, I do realize how pathetic that is.)  Unfortunately I happened to go on the ABNA site the other day and realized that I do, in fact, have a very solid deadline.  One that I have been ignoring, and basically telling myself that I have lots of time to do it.  When I saw that January 23rd, suddenly I realized that my math wasn't working.  It may seem like a lot of time, but I have a lot to edit.  And putting it off was just going to mean that I would end up with a second rate book in the contest, rather than something I can show off with pride.

Last year my submission was the first novel I ever wrote.  I wrote it during nano, in the first two weeks.  It was just barely over the 50k mark, and I edited it in a month before submitting it to the contest.  I made it into the top 250 of 5000 in the YA section of the contest.  This year, I wanted to do better.

I was doing well, too.  The book was written over two months, with me giving it  more thought than I did the first.  It had far more planning and world building in it.  I even submitted the first few chapters to my critique group and have beta readers all lined up.  Unfortunately I put off the editing for so long, that I'm now in the same boat I was in last year.  This is going to be one of the quickest editing jobs ever, and it's all because of Procrastination.

There's really nothing I can do about that now, though.  I have to just get down to it and get this book edited.  I have to stop procrastinating!

So I did the only thing I could think of.  I gave myself a deadline, then asked other people to hold me accountable.  My beta readers, to be precise.  I told them when I wanted to have my chapters to them by, and told them they had free reign to bug me for them, criticize me if they were late, and generally make a nuisance of themselves until those first ten chapters (which will end up being 9 chapters, as two of the chapters were amalgamated...) in their drop boxes.

I think it's working.  I'm not done (obviously) but I'm much closer than I would have been if I didn't know there were people who were going to yell at me if I didn't get these chapters sent out by midnight.  But what I need is for someone to take away all of the things I use for procrastination.  This would just be an experiment, as I'm fairly certain that, even with everything taken away, I could still find a way to procrastinate, but it might work for a while.

Any takers?

Didn't think so.  Oh well, time to get back to editing now.  See you all next week!

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