On-line Writing Course #5 Deadline approaching!

OK! So I said I was going to finish the second draft of my novel by the end of August. To put it another way I planned to complete revisions to the first draft by then. Here we are the beginning of August and – guess what – I’m not going to make it. And – guess what again – I don’t feel guilty.

Here are my reasons (others might call them excuses) for falling behind:

The Builders Were In:

The most compelling reason is one that anyone who has ever had building works done in their house will understand: my kitchen floor needed to be relaid and an external wall of my cottage waterproofed. Remember the great storms of December 2013? Yes, when the railway line between me and Exeter was washed away at Dawlish? Those storms? Well on 23rd December 2013 water came flowing through my kitchen and since that time I have been trying to get the damage fixed, and in June and for three weeks there was MAJOR DISRUPTION. In a good way. It’s all done.

153 tick

And I have been doing other things. Three of them are writing things:

  1. I’m co-authoring a new book on ageing. I had an outline plan for my sections, which I have revised in the light of not quite getting the writing done quickly enough. I do love the research, tracking down the right figures, looking through our interview material, thinking about how the issues of the topic fit our overall themes. Currently I’m working on a chapter about older workers. Should be a doddle. I’ve written about this before in Retiring with Attitude. Somehow re-writing material can take longer than starting from scratch. I don’t understand why, but I know this is true.
  2. I’m writing my blog. Yes I know. That’s what I am dong, now this minute. About every five or six days I write something about books: a review, some thoughts about writing, something else related. I love it. It’s not a burden, but it does take head space and writing time. 145 writing keyboard
  3. I’m writing a new short story to submit to an anthology that our writing group is getting together. I’ve done the first draft, but it needs close revision (not revising again!) to get it in shape and to meet the deadline.

And then there are more other things

Grandmother duties, picnics, trips to country parks, and summer in Devon; visits to London; a wet weekend in Cornwall attending a nephew’s camping wedding (of course it rained. It poured and blew a gale, except during the Saturday afternoon when we all put on our glad rags and waterproof footwear and enjoyed wedding things: champagne, cake, bunting, speeches, relatives, and weather reports); completing the visa form in preparation for a visit to Russia (people – it’s more complicated than doing income tax on line – although I haven’t done that yet, because of the visa thing).

So I am behind. And since I have been having such a good time there is no point in beating myself up. Some deadlines can be moved. One should never plan oneself into a corner with a deadlines if you can help it. Planning should not produce guilt.

86 Mind the Gap

I still love revising. I shall do it by Christmas, I hope. But finishing the manuscript of the non-fiction book and getting it to the publisher by/in March 2016 is an immovable deadline.

Watch this space if you want. Updates will appear.

Related posts

On-line writing course #3 Finished? in which I revealed my plan to complete the revisions by the end of August

On-Line Writing Course #4 Revising Structure and Plot in which I reported that the schedule was beginning to slip …

What keeps you from getting a writing task done? I hope it’s good things.


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Filed under My novel, Writing

9 Responses to On-line Writing Course #5 Deadline approaching!

  1. Eileen


  2. totally sympathise, Caroline. I’m about 2 years behind with the deadline for my first novel. And why? Well, it’s sheer perfectionism in my case, and I make no apology for that either! More specifically, it’s about finding a combination of plot, character, setting, structure and theme which I can feel confident about writing to completion and, hopefully, subsequent publication (and then live with for the rest of my life).
    I think that a good story has to have a truth behind it – not a literal truth – but an artistic truth. Establishing – or discovering – that truth feels to me like whittling down an algebraic formula to its most simple, elegant expression. And that can only be done – or so I’m finding anyway – through the repeated generation and discarding of ideas.
    Given that this process is potentially infinite, I’ve booked myself onto an Arvon course in November so I’ll have to have a first draft finished. Good luck you, and good luck me!

    • Caroline

      Hi Jon,
      interested to see that you have given yourself a reason to finish a first draft – against all inclination it sems. I am sure you will get a great deal out of the Arvon course – I have done two and greatly enjoyed both and learned so much each time.
      I hope you will give us an update on your novel soon – either here on the blog or in the writing group. Your processes are probably very interesting. (The group refer to you as Spanish Jon by the the way).
      Thanks for the reassurance. We writers need it from time to time!

  3. And the dog ate the manuscript! It is amazing the things that come up once one is “retired”. I wish you success with all your projects, and look forward to reading your book about ageing as well as your novel. I estimate I have about 30 years left, if I’m lucky, so no hurry on my part!

  4. Helen Ashley

    Not at all surprising you’re missing your end of August deadline for your novel, with all that going on – makes me feel positively lazy! I’ve been talking about a poetry collection for quite a while now, but procrastination has been winning. So I decided to ask a friend if she’d look through and give me an opinion on my selection of poems, when I’ve got them organised. Now I really have to get on with it, otherwise she’ll have forgotten I asked.
    And that’s not so difficult as writing a book from scratch – I already have enough poems to choose from. But it’s funny how they still all need editing as I gather them together – even the ones that have already been published in magazines. And, of course, I do have to keep writing new ones for the various groups I go to. By the way, Caroline, don’t feel you have to write and let me know if you can’t come to the library group – it’s obvious your time is overfilled already. Good to see you when you can make it.

    • Caroline

      More sympathetic comments, so thank you. I do hope you move forward with your poems. I always enjoy them when I hear you read them, Helen.
      I know what you mean about your work needing editing, even when it used to be finished. When does it ever stop?
      Anyway, I’ve done a second edit of the short story I mentioned in my post, and it will be done by the deadline. It’s with two more readers now.
      Hope to get to a poetry group soon Helen.

  5. Sarah hill

    I really enjoyed reading this entry but am also aware that as soon as this was published, I succeeded in distracting you from your writing twice in the following week! Thank you for sharing your valuable time with me! I miss you already! Xxx Sarah xxX

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