On Attention to Details & Being Spread Thinly

Monday, June 24, 2013



Although I haven’t entered any contests in a while, I always have the intention of entering at least one book in a local competition each year. I haven’t made the target in 2-3 years, so some months ago I decided to enter a MG novel. The deadline for entry is today.

Having entered this competition several times, you’d think I know the rules, right?

On Friday, I downloaded an entry form for someone else and got a real shock when I noticed that the word count for YA novels is 40,000. That’s normal and I do vaguely recall coming across the information previously, but it started me thinking about just how many words I had in the novel I was planning to enter. You know what comes next, right?

Even with a glossary of terms (which by no stretch of the imagination can be considered ‘story’) I’m not even at 35k. What to do but sigh, admit I’d been foolish and move on?


I’ve also missed a deadline for submitting material in a book promotion that’s coming this week. A bad trend is developing here. It’s time to reevaluate my targets and stop spreading myself so thinly, even though I’ve always worked on several books at a time.

In the super-woman version of my publishing schedule, I had three books I wanted to get out by year end. The reality is that my sanity will most likely remain intact if I cut that back to two. I admire writers who put out an impressive volume of novellas/books in a year. Being human, I compare myself with these writers and wonder why I can’t seem to get through the unedited books I’ve had hanging around on Flipdrive for years now. Of course, I have to balance my writer envy against the fact I have a full-time job, responsibilities at church and can get only so much done in my spare time.  

I’m also going to miss an editing deadline, but the worse that can happen is that the book gets pushed back by a month or so. 

What about you? D’you manage your goals and deadlines any better?

19 comments:

  1. You have to make realistic deadlines and don't put yourself under so much pressure that your work or family life or other commitments will suffer as a result.

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  2. I don't know how some writers can crank out so many books. I couldn't do it either. Smart of you to pull back and keep your sanity.

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  3. I won't be making my word count for Junowrimo so you're not the only one missing out on deadlines/goals. But it's not so bad since I still started my first MG novel. Also even though you missed the deadline you still have a completed novel to share. A lot of people can't say the same. I've entered the poetry section of this competition before and that alone is daunting with all the rules and triplicate submission requirements.

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  4. I don't set such lofty goals for myself-- I know me better than to do that. But I really admire your ambition!

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  5. There's no way I could do that. I'm impressed that you're even doing two!

    I get overwhelmed easily, so I really have to break down my tasks and goals. Otherwise it'll never get done and I'll have something similar to a mental breakdown.

    Hang in there! You'll get back into the swing of things!

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  6. True, Sally. The problem is that I think the deadlines are realistic when I make them, which isn't usually the reality. :(

    Alex, staying sane is very, very important to me. :)

    Yes, Sheena. That triplicate requirement can be murder when you're submitting a novel. I did get some things done, so yes, I'm giving thanks.

    Julie, I don't think I'm ambitious. It's just that I've got all these books that don't get looked at for long periods. Hence the need to set a schedule.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Samantha. I do think I need to go a little easier on myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm on a merry go round that never stops.

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  7. I'm amazed by you JL. You're always so organized and on it. Things are going to fall through the cracks every now and then, but that's life. I hope you get to enter the contest next year!

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  8. I can keep other people's deadlines, but I tend to let my personal deadlines slide. Um-ah.

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  9. I'm getting pretty terrible at managing deadlines. Good luck with the contest though.

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  10. I have found myself spread too thin this year, too. I'm just now getting back on track. It was a slow go, and I'm not quite back 100% yet. But I get closer every day.

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  11. i try to stick to my goals and deadlines, "try' being the keyword. Sometimes life has other ideas.
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  12. Joy, you always seem so organised. It's okay if you don't keep to your deadlines from time to time since you're "on the ball" most of the time.

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  13. Joy, you always seem so organised. It's okay if you don't keep to your deadlines from time to time since you're "on the ball" most of the time.

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  14. Don't be hard on yourself. In my eyes, you're always on top of things and you get an amazing amount done. Life and schedules are always changing and it's hard to plan for every curve ball that sets us back. No matter what you have to do to catch up or adjust your schedule, just be sure you allot time for being happy and enjoying all your successes ;). I have to keep reminding myself of this!

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  15. Thanks, guys. It seems we all get sidetracked. I wonder what life was like before I started writing, as in how I spent my time. Seems there's never enough of it to go around. Trying to stick to a more realistic schedule. I also need to learn how to relax.

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  16. I admire how much you get done! Deadlines help me a ton, but I'm not doing as much writing as you are. Keep up the good work and don't be so tough on yourself. :)

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  17. Dang. If you can do all that and work full time, more power to you!

    But I hear ya. It's difficult to juggle a writing career and the demands of daily life. You have to be realistic about what you can do and be willing to adjust your goals...even when it's intensely frustrating.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

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  18. Thanks, Dawn. Deadlines help me keep my focus too.

    Melissa, true that. I've pulled back a little bit. No need to rush to kill myself. :)

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