On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Image hosted by Photobucket.comAll right, down from the high of writing yesterday (the rest of the day went downhill from there), and contemplating the new year and Deadlines.

Yes, they are the fierce monsters with nasty teeth that all unpublished writers fear, never expect to battle, and envy published writers anyway.

I never thought I'd fall behind on deadlines, but I did. Mostly because (my rationalization) I had the day job, I had promotion, and if you have a bunch lined up and major revisions are requested on one and you miss deadline, then it's VERY hard to catch up.

When I first began publishing, for me Deadlines were Deadlines -- and the contractual dates were missed by my publishers. This drove me crazy. In the legal litigation field you can lose a case or go to jail if you miss deadlines.

My agent would remind me that publishing is a creative process on all ends and that leeway was expected. Which didn't help THEN. It helps now. I still don't like the fluidity, but since I've experienced it and taken advantage of it (and been told the publishing date of a book has been pushed back because of me requesting an extension), I understand on a deeper level that leeway must be built into the system.

I think it's Goals. A goal is something that you should be able to set for yourself and should be within reach and which YOU can fulfil. I can write two books a year, but I can't have the goal of having two books a year published, or selling the next 2-3 Heart books or the last 3 Luna books. Deadlines are goals, and since writing/publishing is a creative process, sometimes they slip, and sometimes they slip so that you want to tear your hair out (on both sides), so they are things to be dreaded. You always recall how you felt when the goals weren't met and wonder if problems will occur with the next deadline/goal. Negative reinforcement.

I'm not sure that there's any way to change this cycle, at least for writers in my situation. For the publishing end, there's pretty little I can do except have my agent nag. For my end, I could have the goal of writing one fabulous book a year and (probably) make it, but then I wouldn't, like, eat.

So, yes, the negatively reinforced monsters with long, sharp, acid-dripping teeth of deadlines still rule...and when I look at my option clauses they loom large...and I think I'll speak of option clauses tomorrow.

May you never think of deadlines today.


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