Dark Days – a writing dilemma…

Well, it’s finally happened. I’ve come to a point where I am staring at my current writing challenge, which is to write the remaining 29000 words of the 30k romance novella I am writing by the end of February, and I realise I am utterly, irrefutably doomed. Sure, I have ten days left, including today. But it is already late in the day today. Tomorrow I work. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I go away on a mini holiday. Saturday…actually Saturday could work. But then Sunday I am going to an all day music festival, next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I’m working again, and then it’s supposed to be finished (the novella, I mean).

I am looking at this schedule, and just simply cannot foresee any way in which I could write so much during that time. I mean, I can think of one way, but it essentially involves not sleeping at all – a path I find myself unwilling to travel down.

So, either I can just cross my fingers and hope for a miracle, I can invent a time machine, or I need to bend the rules slightly. I am still determined to finish 12 novellas over the course of this year, and I didn’t want the novellas to overlap into each other. But what I am considering, at least a little, is whether or not I could just make it that by the end of April, I have to have finished the first four novellas. In other words, I’ll give myself the next 2 months to catch back up to my schedule. This of course brings risks with it as well, but I don’t know if I want to have a breakdown just trying to force myself to write faster than I probably can over the next week or two.

It’s a tricky dilemma I face, and knowing me I will somehow find a way to finish this novella next week anyway, but I guess I just need to be realistic and consider other options as well, no matter how annoyed I will feel with myself for missing my own personal deadline.

Do any of you write to deadlines that sometimes seem too overwhelming to ever possibly meet, whether it be for a job or just for pleasure? How do you cope with these, and do you sometimes give yourself concessions when the going gets tough?

14 thoughts on “Dark Days – a writing dilemma…

  1. Ooo behind on words is tough. Personally, I usually give concessions in other areas from my main goal. I’ll skip a workout or make someone else do things for me so I can sit and write.

    I’m lucky that my life is structured so I can do that. I even have a job where my boss will let me call in sick if I’m horribly behind every now and then. Not that I’ve ever done that *cough*.

    • Hahaha, yeah I am eternally behind on words. Last NaNo, I was aiming for 75000 words, and on the 27th I woke up still sitting on 56000, and I remember thinking I was doomed then. But then I wrote 11000 words in that one day and I was back on track. I wish I could have more days like that…

      That is good that your life is structured in such a way as to allow you to do that. I suppose mine is in some ways, but I just take on too many things, that’s my problem. Also, I know I am capable of ridiculous last minute catch ups (it happens almost every NaNo), so I keep pushing it further and further.

      Oh well, I’ll get there somehow. This glass of wine next to me may be of considerable aid…

      • Oh yes, those hyper productive days are my saving light. The first five or so times I did NaNo I had to do those the last day. I think some part of me likes them, like it’s an event I train for.

        Maybe we should start having monthly work wars? Like a marathon, only where you can sit and eat chocolate and drink wine.

        • Glad to know those days save other people too hahaha! It does feel like an event to train for, it’s like it isn’t really NaNoWriMo without at least one of those crazy writing days in it! How many times have you done NaNo out of curiosity? This year will be my fourth, when the time comes around.

          And that sounds like the best kind of marathon to me…I am now armed with both wine and chocolate funnily enough, and good thought provoking music blasting as well. Time to kick my brain into gear for an hour or two and see what falls out of it…. πŸ˜›

          • I can’t exactly remember, but I think last year was my seventh NaNo or something like that… heh. November always turns into one of the busiest months even without the novel, so my memory gets hazy. But yeah, I think I’ve completed seven.

            Mmmm wine and chocolate. Food of the writing gods.

            • Oh wow, seven NaNos, that is impressive! But yeah, I know what you mean, November is the craziest time of year for such an event, really. I suspect it’s why it works – it appeals to the lunatic in us all. πŸ˜›

  2. Oh, dear. Sounds like my diary. I do that *all* the time. I wish I could say to you, “Well, give it rest and try again next time!” but….I would stay up all night writing.

  3. I have never tried writing to deadlines. And frankly, I don’t think I would enjoy doing something like that. As for me, I try to just make most of the joy I get from writing, rather than deciding deadlines to stick to (making it something akin to a job)… But I admire the effort you’re putting into this 12 novellas in a year thing. Best of luck! I’m sure you will be able to complete the novella within the deadline you fixed for yourself! πŸ™‚ While you’re at it, have fun! πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, I’ve gotta admit, when writing begins to feel like a chore rather than something enjoyable, it’s probably time to slow down πŸ˜›
      But thank you, even if I don’t finish this novella by the end of this month, I will certainly finish the 12 by the end of the year, that much I can promise!
      Besides, I have to remind myself of that old Douglas Adams quote. “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by…”

  4. I find the problem is that all people, myself included, tend to set themselves goals that you know deep down you can’t achieve due to things like needing to sleep. At the same time, you don’t want to make something so easy that its no longer a challenge. However, if lack of sleep is an issue and you are zer zer determined I find the following factors helpful- sleep well the night before the night you intend to work through. take a shower at the point you’re about to drop and you’ve lost all motivation. watch 20 minute programs because tv keeps you awake. stay cold. drink lemon juice. eat apples and porridge. brush your teeth. only start pounding yourself with caffeine when you feel yourself sagging (or just take one of a product called Lift Off which is expensive but keeps you up all night). If you’re very tired take a 40 minute to 90 minute nap. As you may have noticed, I’ve done a LOT of all nighters. I’m going to shuttup now.

    • Yeah, I think you are right, but my problem is I think I can’t achieve them, and then against all odds manage to, and on a feeling of invincibility set myself an even more insane goal. But at the same time, I am now working a quite demanding job, and am juggling several other projects all at once, as well as trying to fit in a quite active social life, time for reading and other hobbies, and occasionally sleep. So really I just need to be realistic I suppose…hahaha.
      Some interesting tips there though – I have never thought to try the shower one, but I imagine that would work, as showering is how I normally wake myself up in the mornings (well, that and a super strong coffee). Staying cold is difficult because, well, I live in Australia bahahahaha. But I imagine that would also work. But yeah, thanks for those tips hahaha, I can tell you’ve done a lot of all nighters πŸ˜› I used to back in my uni days, but at the ripe old age of 25 I find all nighters a lot harder than they used to be, hahahaha.
      So have you done all nighters just for writing stories, or for other things? πŸ™‚

      • Mostly I do them for essays. Gotta love those essays. Or when I have a tutorial I have not prepared for. And sometimes just to finish my To Do list. But mostly for essays! I understand the goals thing. It’s bad, I do it too. It makes like more stressful than neccessary and all my friends ask me why it is I create more work for myself, but I do it anyway! Glad to see I’m not alone!

        • Ah yes, essays πŸ˜› I remember them oh so well. Through my 7 years at uni I think I worked out at one point that I wrote over 200 000 words of essays altogether, which is quite a frightening thought. And most of those words were undoubtedly written either the night before they were due (often written after midnight), or the day that they were due (I became more daring like this in my final year…I still got good marks, which was kind of funny).
          So what are you doing at uni then?
          Glad to know you do the goals thing too! I think it is a good thing in the long term, even if it creates more stress in the short term. At the end of it all, you can always look back and think “I’m glad I made myself do that.” You never regret pushing yourself hard at something. πŸ˜›

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