It’s a Date – Wednesday Writing Tip

If you’re like 90% of the writers I know, you have an idea for a release date by the time you’ve begun your WIP. A lot of us do this. We set a goal date, and then write like hell to reach it. Sometimes we do, but when we don’t…

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Right?! Utter doom follows. But it doesn’t have to be that painful – missing a deadline you created in your head just because it sounded good shouldn’t feel like the end of the world. So, why does it? Well, for me, I often times judge how much time it will take me to finish a story based on my word count and the time it takes to reach my daily requirements to reach that amount. Oh, is this system flawed. Why? Because I’m human. And I have a life. And those things called children. I’m learning that setting a release date too early can result in complete implosion of my brain. Horrible things happen to my Muse. Even worse things happen to my WIP. I hurry. I rush. And then – editing HELL.

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I go through a guilt-fueled binge drinking week (coffee, people…I’m no lush. At least, not during the editing process when I need full function of my brain cells) and I consume more chocolate than any person should. Ever. In their entire lifetime. This sort of rushed editing leads to an overwhelming sense of doubt. I begin to think that what I wrote is tantamount to a giant heap of steaming poo. And nothing anyone says otherwise will make me feel better. By the 10th editing run, I’ve begun to forget how to spell the word ‘the’ and question the placement of a period at the end of a sentence. Painful. It’s a painful experience.

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And my editing turns into something worse. A mass murder of my manuscript that results in the overuse of the delete button.

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After another 100 pots worth of coffee is consumed, and I’ve stayed up so late that it’s early, and my kids forget what I look like, the manuscript will finally settle into something worth sending off to the editor. Because I love it, and I want my readers to love it.

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And once I DO manage to send it off to the editor, I will make a promise to myself that I will never again set that release date until I’m sure I can make it. I’ll sit back in my chair and take a deep breath, reminding myself that rushing is not worth it. That quality is better. And I’ll tell myself as I open up a fresh document, I’ll wait. I’ll wait till I’m close to the end and THEN pick a date for release.

But five minutes later I’ll forget that promise and two paragraphs in on the new WIP, I’ll be thinking about how many words I must write that day, and the next, and the next, to reach my weekly goal, to reach that release date.

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So. As I near the end of my current WIP, the one that I keep pushing back to make it right, I’ve realized that rushing to meet a release goal is simply not a smart move to make for each writing project. If you have a life outside of writing, or any kind of responsibilities that you must SHARE with writing, then it makes sense to hold off on that date. Just, you know, forget about it for a bit. Wait till you’ve peaked over the middle of your WIP and then start thinking about it. Or even later. Because then you can write the fun way, with less stress and more ease.

Not that writing is something that is ever truly easy. It should be hard at some point. If it’s too easy all the time, the writer isn’t learning much of anything new along their journey, are they?

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Enjoy your WIP. It’s okay to take your time with it so you are happy with the result. That is something no writer will ever regret. And this doesn’t mean you must throw out all of the goals you have for the release, because you can still organize your time – another tip that will wait for another Wednesday.

Happy Writing, everyone!

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