And I feel under pressure because of it.
For the first time in this novel-writing odyssey on which I’ve embarked, I have a hard deadline. Although I have continually set deadlines for drafts and created schedules for myself, these have all been soft. What I mean by that is that if I missed the deadline, the only real consequence was my personal disappointment. Now I have a deadline with a real-world consequence. At the end of last week, I hired a line editor to review my novel.
My novel is due to him at the beginning of August. Within the last few days, it has hit home for me that I have two short months to get all of the editing, changes, and fixes in place before sending it off. For all meaningful purposes, Aug 1 is the deadline for me to complete the book. I know that I will have lots of changes to make after the editor reviews it, but these are going to be line edits. In other words, tidying up grammar, inconsistencies, and what not.
I know that two months sounds like a long time, but it’s not really when you have a day job and a son. But the real pressure is the sense that I now actually have to drive the book to completion. No more tinkering and wondering. No more bouncing ideas off of people. All sales are now final! In other words, I am feeling stressed because I am rapidly approaching the point where I am out of time to make it better. And I can’t dilly-dally with plot anymore, either I fix some things, and improve them or I don’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I think a deadline is a fine thing and I’ve known for a while that at some point I would simply need to call the book done. I am also of the mindset that I would rather have a couple of moderately good books on the shelf where they can be read than an excellent book that is still being tweaked two years later. It’s just that there’s a reality about this particular deadline that makes it scary and stressful – it has a bright yellow sign that says, “Point of No Return.”
So now, for the next two months, everything, all of my copious free time, really does need to revolve around getting this book done. As much as is reasonably possible with the aforementioned day job and son. And so I worked Friday evening, I’m going to spend most of tomorrow on it, and mornings and evenings this coming week.
The other impact is that the publication date is now set (almost). I will get the book back in mid to late August. I anticipate a month to punch the edits in, but since things always take a little longer than I expect I’ll say 6 weeks. So Oct. 1, the book will be final final. A month for final production and then the question is do I launch it Nov. 1 or on my birthday Nov. 8?