Friday, April 07, 2006

AG: The Painful Truth About Deadlines

Albert Einstein is the father of relativity. It is he who said time is relative to the observer. “A few minutes spent with a pretty girl,” he explained, “goes by much faster than a few minutes sitting on a hot stove.” Logic like that is difficult to argue.

Writer’s experience “time dilation” when immersed in the shadow of a charging deadline. For some reason the hours and days pass far more quickly in the last few weeks before a book is due. If you visit this site often, then you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting as frequently as usual. You guessed it, I have a book due soon, and I’ll admit I’m displaying signs of deadlineitis. Here’s how to know if you’re on deadline:

  • You open your calendar program five times a day and count the remaining days to the deadline.
    At least once a day, you divide the number of pages needed by the number of days left to the circled date on your calendar.
  • TUMS has become one of the basic food groups.
  • Television is no longer a source of entertainment but a reservoir for possible solution to your plot problems.
  • You visit to see how difficult it is to post your resume.
  • You envy magazine writers who only have to produce 2,000 words (less than what you have to write today).
  • When you wake up you say, “Good Lord, it’s morning,” instead of “Good morning, Lord.”
  • The cat looks infinitely more kickable with each passing day.
  • You wonder if your editor will believe that you’ve been stricken with Ebola.
  • Your great outdoor adventure is picking up the mail.
  • When you go outside, you ask your spouse, “What’s that big burning sphere in the sky?” She tells you it is the sun.
  • You step from your office or writing corner and your spouse introduces you to the kids.
Deadlines can be awful things, but in the end, it is a far better thing to have one than not. No matter how tough the final days of writing, I feel blessed to have a contract, a publisher, and an opportunity to write one more book.

Now, where’s that cat . . .

Alton Gansky has really never kicked a cat in his life (we hope). Check out his books at


At 12:15 AM, Blogger Ernie W. said...

Kids??? Oh that's right, I have two somewhere around here. And I'm sure my wife is still around. Great article. Not published yet, but have put myself on self-imposed deadlines for when the time comes.

Thanks, Ernie Wenk

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Tracy Ruckman said...

But without that pesky deadline, how much would we actually get written?

Thanks for waking my giggle box this morning!

At 3:17 PM, Blogger T. Suzanne Eller said...

Last November I had two books due on the same day. I had deadlineitus in the worst possible way.

Nice post,

Suzanne Eller

At 11:59 PM, Blogger Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Ooh...I can't wait! You'll have a new book out!!! I'm tingling with anticipation of it's release....I know there's still many months to come! LOL


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