Friday, November 05, 2010

There is no such thing as the "perfect time"...

I've been very cranky lately because I thought I'd be finished writing my manuscript and essay for my Masters degree by now.  I thought I'd be finished by the middle of November.  I thought it would be a hard slog to cross the finsih line and then I could shift my focus onto different things...

Instead, it's the 5th of November, and right now it looks like I'll still be working on this until the 18th (if not longer, because my deadline has been pushed back so many times now that I don't dare count on finishing at any specific date anymore).

I felt really angry and frustrated by this.  As a friend put it today, I like to work to a deadline, I like to leave things to the last minute, working under pressure works really well for me because I put all my energy and inspiration into the last push.  When the deadline keeps being moved, I just can't keep up that level of energy and inspiration over a period of weeks beyond the original deadline date, it completely wipes me out.

So, anyway, I was feeling resentful of all the delays, and wishing I could just finish the novel and be done with it, whatever state it might end up in...

Then I was thinking about this overnight (insomnia is my constant companion at the moment), and I realised the resentment didn't stem from the writing and editing process itself, but from the timing of it.  With life being as stressful as it is right now, financially and so on, I'm just generally distracted and so, having a deadline looming over my head is adding to that stress and I want it gone!

Then it occurred to me...  In the REAL WORLD, if I was ever as fortunate and talented as my student colleague Catch to get a publishing contract, there would be editing to be done and lot of toing and froing and back and forth and going over and over parts of a manuscript and in the meantime life would not stop, or be conveniently low key.  There would still be home stressors, sick kids, big bills, dramas and so on, and I would have no choice but to carry on anyway because that is the truth of writing - life always gets in the way, and the writer must always just pick up and keep going no matter what.  You can't publish a shite manuscript just because it would be easier to stop editing while your going through whatever life is throwing at you in the moment.  No one would read a poorly edited book.

So, I've decided I need to adopt a new attitude.  This manuscript will be finished when it is READY, not when I'm ready to be done with editing it.

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