Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Dreaded Deadline

Guest Contributor Morgan Shamy
 Alert! Alert! Someone has hacked the YAtopia blog. I repeat, there has been a breach. Code red! Code red!

Are you all running around screaming, diving for your secret stash of weapons ready to defend your favorite blog to the death? What? You don’t keep a knife under your pillow for such occasions? Er … I mean, I don’t either …

As you all know, the great Leigh Fallon fell and suffered a concussion on Sunday night. So, as it states in her will, I, Morgan Shamy am to take over all her writing responsibilities until the said party is fully recovered and well. Which includes, (in fine print) finishing all of her final proofs for The Carrier of the Mark, writing future sequels, and showing up for all signings/movie premiers. So, of course, I’ve been sneaking daily doses of cyanide into her morning coffee—just enough to keep her down so I can bask in the high and mighty life of an established author. I’M KIDDING! Laughing yet, Leigh?

Okay, okay … let’s get down to business. We’re talking DEADLINES. The dreaded ‘D’ word, right?

No, I’m not officially cool enough yet to have a ‘real’ deadline, but I had an author friend of mine who challenged me to get my WIP done by March 17. I took this challenge VERY seriously. For the past two months, I’ve been waking up at 3:00 am, 6 days a week in order to have some silent writing time. Because let’s face it, when the demon spawn wake up, it’s all downhill from there.

And man! It’s AMAZING how much I’ve accomplished in these past months! Roll with me here for a minute: Do you know the part in movies where the MC gets all motivated to change their life and the inspirational/jammin’ music is playing and there’s a whole lot of sweating, pushing, and fighting to attain that one single goal? Are you following me here? Think Rocky.

That’s me. Without the facial bruising and slurred speech. I will have a complete MS this Thursday. I have pushed, forced, squeezed, prodded and cried in order to get these words out. But yes, I will. Be. Done. Because that’s what my goal was. Yes! I’ve made my deadline.

Or have I?

And here’s my biggest fear: Have I forced the story out? Have I tampered with the creative juices that flow naturally only when those inspirational moments hit? Has the right story not come out? Could it have been better? (and I’m not talking editing/polishing here, I’m talking right down to the heart and structure of the story itself)

Would it have been better not to set a personal deadline? But if I hadn’t, would I have come as far as I have?

See my predicament?

I don’t have the answer yet. But what I do know is that yes, there are times when the magic is flowing so hard it’s like a dam has burst. My fingers can’t type fast enough. But, it’s also in the rocky moments when I have to force myself to write, that I learn something new.

So let’s kick it to you peeps. Who writes better under pressure? Is it better to set a personal deadline and push yourself to get results? Can you force brilliance? Or does brilliance come and go whenever inspiration hits?

Crap! What time is it? I was supposed to have Leigh’s coffee to her an hour ago …

(Our lovely friend Morgan, pictured above, is a 29-year-old aspiring author currently living in Eagle Mountain, Utah. She caught the writing bug while her three-year-old battled cancer, and hasn't been able to stop since.)


  1. Yay, Morgan! So happy to have you on YAtopia today! And I seriously almost cried with pride when I saw that you'll be done by your deadline!!! You'll deserve a green beer for that, lassie. :)
    I have to give myself a deadline. I didn't for the first book, but now it's necessary. Sometimes you have to force yourself into creativity mode, but once you're there, the imagination usually takes over. I think that's how most paid writers have to work - with deadlines and pressure. There's nothing like the nudge of a looming date to kick my butt into gear and make me focus.
    Thanks again, Morgan. I hope Leigh enjoys her coffee, hehe.

  2. LOL. This is such a funny post. I hope Leigh's feeling better and enjoying that coffee of hers. Think it'll give her enough spark to get up and write a little? :)

    It's easier to see results when I set a personal deadline; otherwise, there's so much going on in the world that it's easy to relax and get nothing done. Sometimes, it's slow-going, but the results stack up; and sometimes, I actually write a good scene when I'm working slowly (because I have no idea where the idea's going to take me).

  3. Yah for Morgan!

    I often have too many deadlines I try and meet. I know I have to scale back and make my expectations more realistic.

    I write best with a self imposed deadline, and writing away from the home - the beach is my favourite spot to write =D

  4. Whahaha!!! Yes, Leigh got her coffee this morning *wink* :D

    Wendy, I liked how you said 'you have to force yourself into creativity mode, but once you're there, the imagination usually takes over' <----this is a healthy balance, I think. Even if u have to force, the true creativity comes out! I like!

    Kris & Sharon: lol!!! I wasn't sure if there were others who set personal deadlines--it's great to see! And since you're both fantastic, it can't be a bad thing at all! :)

  5. I always used to set deadlines. Had a color coated calendar and all that mess. :P

  6. Color coded! Haha! Evie, you're the best! That doesn't sound like a mess to me! :D

  7. Thanks for blogging with us, Morgan.

  8. I tend to go the brilliance route with the detailed outlining I start with. I do my best to bring the brilliance as completely and uninhibitedly in the outlining stage. The drafting stage tends to be my Rocky theme song scene, and brilliance and JUST FINISH FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE combine in the revising/editing phase.

  9. Ah ... I see, Kathryn! And this is where I will definitely do things different next time. Thank you for bringing this perspective into it!

    *Rocky theme music stuck in my head*

  10. Har har har! "Adriaaaaannnn!!!" *que the music...* do.....do do do......do do do.......... Do do dooooooooo!

    Excellent blog post!

  11. And look what Morgan made me do - gave me a kick a couple of months back, and now I'm on the road to untangling my dystopian/sci fi tangle.

    There I was whinging about kids and work - and there Morgan is with a tiny baby on her lap, typing away in the middle of the night.

    I gave myself myself a different dealine - word count: 'Surely when I get there, it'll be done'.
    No, it isn't ...

    Hanging to see Shadow Watchers complete, Morgan - really something special!

  12. Jen: You are a crack up! Your Rocky theme song sounds a bit eighties & stalkerish :)

    Anni: Thanks soooo much! And your new project sounds amazing!!!! Wow! Can't wait!!!

  13. I'm sounding a bit like Rocky at the moment with all the drugs Morgans been feeding me.
    Adriiiiaaaannnn *said slurred with fat lip*

    Morgan, you did an amazing job today, I doubt the YAtopia brat pack will want me back after such a stellar performance.

    As for deadlines... I thrive on them. I can work at an amazing pace if I have a deadline and most of the time it gets my creative juices flowing. I work great under pressure. The rest of the time I get distracted by twitter, facebook, blogs, google, and anything that comes under the heading of 'procrastination friendly'

  14. Oh and thanks for posting today! Because of you I've just finished my proof edits!! Woohoo!

  15. Yay, Leigh! That's so freakin' exciting!!!

  16. Need I 'Gah' again, Leigh??? Haha!! Woot! Woot!

  17. Morgan - it's not new - same story lol.
    Leigh, hope you're ok now & woo! on finishing your proof edits!

  18. Thanks for stopping by Morgan!

    I usually (let's say 87%) do better with a deadline - even an artificial one as long as there are people who will publicly humiliate me if I miss it!