Writing Under Pressure

I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss something new which I’ve been experiencing lately. Namely, the title of this blog. In order to do that, I think I need to give a little backstory. Since it’s a flashback, it has to be in italics, right?

I always knew authors had websites and FB pages. I planned to get all those things once I published a book. However, last year I came across the advice to have those in place beforehand. So I started this blog, a FB page, and Twitter. Then something cool happened, Curiosity Quills Press accepted my first book, Theocracide! I started rewriting and all the other fun which goes with having a book accepted. Then, Wolf on Water Publishing accepted my next book, Exacting Essence. Between the new social media and rewrites, I didn’t really write anything new for months. Almost half a year! Eventually NaNoWriMo loomed and I found a small window in my schedule. So I jumped in.

NaNoWriMo was my first experience with writing under pressure. I pressured myself to do it. Nothing bad happened if I failed. However, I felt it to be a good experience. I learned a lot, although the resulting book is still under consideration and didn’t get the higest praise from my alpha readers– which adds concern to my current situation. More background…

After NaNo I had more rewrites and began promoting my first book. I never knew how much time those things take. For one thing, I hadn’t imagined a book takes more of the author’s time after publishing than before. Conferences, book signings, school visits… those are all really fun. So I’m not complaining. Then I became involved in a collaborative project with Aiden James, The Actuator.

I love this book. Nevertheless, it has been hard to write. Not only is my schedule crammed with edits for one book and promotions for another, this manuscript is technically difficult. Each “genre shift” is like starting over. Even with tons of background work (history, maps, character sketches) already done, I find I constantly have to stop for more research and development. Those thing are fun, too. The problem is, this time I have a deadline.

What an ominous word! Not that I will end up dead if I miss the deadline. So far I’m on schedule. However, it’s been a completely different experience. This isn’t a self imposed goal. Now there are several other people involved in scheduling time around the first draft. I need to produce my best work, yet I need to keep a fast pace. What’s more, in the past when I’ve imposed a fast pace on myself, I have produced lower quality work. See the dilema? Should I go back and make changes now or wait and fix them after? I can’t afford to be locked into research. I just have to get the info and move on. I even had to “steal” writing time to vent this blog.

I don’t think stress improves any endeavor. So I need to relax and not push myself to where the art suffers. I’m still having a blast. In fact, I might like it more… when it’s over. I just didn’t understand the difference between writing and writing under pressure.

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