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Writer Wednesday: When Life Goes Off the Rails On A Deadline

Good morning authors and welcome to the middle of the week. It's another Writer Wednesday where we talk shop, industry, writing in and outs, and occasionally mental health topics, because our mental well being is so integral to our creativity. And that is what we are talking about today, because life imitates art and if you have been through life going straight off the tracks while on a deadline in the past or going through it now, you know exactly that sort of helpless, frustrated feeling that comes with it. First, I will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that things will level out. It might not get better for a long time, but life has a way of coming back to a middle ground we can survive. What that looks like for an individual can vary but the key take away is that we do what we must to reach that level footing. The problem is, what do we do when we are on a creative deadline?

When Life Goes Off the Rails On A Deadline

Crises happen. We can't wholly blame the current state of affairs, dumpster fire that it is, because in the day to day logistics, the impact differs. Individually we can face a crisis, whether it is a personal or family health emergency, financial struggles, or an escalating series of unfortunate events, we all hit a point from time to time where we find ourselves overwhelmed and sometimes that coincides with creative responsibilities.

Communication is Key - In most circumstances, if you find yourself in a full blown crisis, those you are beholden to are human too. Editors, publishers, agents, depending on the expectations involved, most deadlines can be shifted if you throw out the cry for help. We've all been there, to varying degrees, and we know the mental tax a crisis has on a person. So if you are pincered between personal disasters, take the time to reach out and ask for time. And this does not mean you must share every detail of your personal life to get a pass. Short and to the point explanations generally get the message across. Lack of communication is where contracts, agreements, etc breakdown. A simple email, even if it contains no answers or feasible resolutions, goes a long way to keeping professional relationships intact and helps you keep your sanity with one less stressor off your plate.

Readers Understand Delays - If you have a demanding audience, there may be occasional thoughtless comments, but the bulk of readers are, again, people too. They know their favorite creators are human and experience the occasional crisis or emergency that derails a publishing schedule. Thankfully, readers, as a rule, enjoy the work of dozens of authors and can fill their TBR with other books until you are able to get that next book out there. As an author you are also allowed the grace to have boundaries between yourself and your readers. Your creative works are there to share, but you do not need to share everything that is happening behind the scenes. You share what you are comfortable with. If all you can say is 'This book has been delayed due to life', that is enough.

You Can't Force Words if Your Brain is Blitzed - This seems like an obvious caveat but hey, how many times have I tried to force myself to sit down and attempt words while the house is on fire around me?

A crisis, no matter its nature, is exhausting. What quality of work can we expect from ourselves when we are so exhausted? If you find yourself feeling guilty for not being productive in your time of disaster, think how much the quality of your work is effected by your blitzed up brain. How many words and phrases you repeat, if you manage to get words down at all, that you tell yourself you will fix in editing but in reality, writing at all may be too much. And that is okay. The writing, like the readers, will wait for you.

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