Saturday, 30 July 2011

 “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they fly past.” – Douglas Adams

                I recently signed up for the Surrey Writer’s Conference.  I was toodling around the internet, when I came upon their website and thought to myself, “Self, this would be a great place to get the opportunity to pitch your book to a real live agent,” (as opposed to the many undead, vampire agents out there).  So after great consideration (and a little sweat and blood when I saw the price for just one day), I signed myself up and did a little happy dance. Alas, I stopped mid-dance, when I realized I now have an early October deadline to edit my manuscript.  After several panicked emails to my poor editor, the wonderful lady reassured me that this was not an unrealistic goal.
 So here I am, spending my days shut up inside, hunched over my computer screen, peering peevishly out my window at the glorious sunshine and wishing it would dump rain on all the cheerful beachgoers so I don’t have to feel like such a shut-in. It’s only going to get worse as the days get nicer and the deadline looms closer like my own private rain cloud. For the months of August and September I plan to lurk in my library, typing feverishly and ignoring phone calls and the door bell.  As you all frolic in the sun I will be crouching in my dark hidey hole, cut off from fellowship and love, cut off from the daylight.  I assume that eventually my skin will be porcelain color and my eyes will adapt and glow in the gloom of my library. When at last I am finished I will take the script from the printer and stroke it lovingly, whispering “My precious”, or something along those lines. 
Really though, aside from turning into some sort of Gollum-like creature over the summer, I don’t mind the deadline. It does keep me motivated, and I’ve found myself treating my writing like a job instead of a hobby.  I never realized I was doing it before, but when I treated writing like it was just something fun a few minutes a day, that’s all I got done. But when I tell myself, “Self, this isn’t a day off. This is a work day, buckle down,” I get so much more done. Yesterday I got six hours of writing done. Six Hours! I’m convinced that has to be some sort of record.  For me it certainly is.  And my editor, bless her heart, is right. Early October is realistic when I’m working at this rate.  And providing I ignore my damn cat, which is, as I type, licking my arm with her sand paper tongue, I should be able to pull this off.
Come October, I hope to be able to march up to the agent (Suzie Townsend) and give her an amazing pitch, and tell her my manuscript is completely polished and edited to perfection. More likely though, I’ll be so nervous that I’ll stammer until she thinks to herself, “Oh dear, the poor girl has something wrong with her.” Perhaps I’ll just hand her a query letter and go off into some private corner, rocking back and forth and muttering about “my precious”.  (Do they publish crazy people?)

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