About a week ago, I was planning on writing an article about coming to terms with failure. By failure, I mean not achieving a goal.
In this case, the goal was finishing writing ASHES IN THE SKY: Book two of FIRE IN THE WOODS on time. I entered last weekend still reviewing beta comments, and completing the tail end of an overwhelming content edit that changed most of the second quarter of the book… with the manuscript due on Sunday.
I know. Impossible.
I needed to read ASHES from front to back, FOR THE FIRST TIME, over the weekend. Yes, to my shame, I had not read the book in its entirety yet. I had no idea if it “flowed”— especially with the sweeping changes. (Suggested by beta readers — the only ones who HAD read it front to back)
Friday night, I completed the content edits and sent them off to a very critical beta reader… Someone who I trusted not to baby me or fan-girl. I told her to be straight with me… that I was planning on asking for an extension anyway.
And then I collapsed into bed.
Everyone asks for extensions, right?
Saturday morning I popped out of bed to the sounds of pelting rain. Score! Thank you God! (Because soccer had been cancelled… Sorry kids, but now Mommy has four extra hours of editing time.) So I made the kids pancakes, and settled down for a marathon read through.
A few hours later, I’m thinking, “damn… either I’m tired, or this is pretty good!”
In early afternoon, the critical beta comes back suggesting minor changes. Easy breezy.
I make the changes and keep going. In the back of my head I keep thinking about all those reviewers who read FIRE IN THE WOODS in one or two days. I can’t read that fast, but I was delving into the world of the power-readers… those who pick up on pacing and plot errors, because they read a book in one sitting. It gave me a more critical eye, and helped me to tighten.
At 6:00 Sunday night, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and said: “Yes, it’s done.”
Manuscript submitted with six hours to spare.
I sat back, confused and drained, unable to believe I’d done it.
I’d come up with a concept, written a novel, completed a content edit and line edit, and submitted something respectable (I hope) in four months and two weeks.
I gave myself a week off, wanting to distance myself from Jess and David a little, but I was only able to do so for a few days. By Wednesday, the new deadline was hanging over my head.
I had four months and two weeks to write book 2.
I have exactly four months to hand in book 3.
And I just wasted a few days “resting”.
So, after writing this, I will be starting book three.
Time to take a deep breath, and restart the clock…