Deadlines, Revisited

Way back here, almost a year ago, when I was just getting started with The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide, I posted about how I seriously dislike deadlines.

Boy, that feels a long time ago.

Since, then I’ve met several deadlines, and all of them have felt pretty good. Probably because, as I wrote more of the book, as my critique group did their wonderful slicing and dicing, and as the book started taking it’s true, whole form, the nervousness I was feeling  about it died down. Which is good.

I didn’t expect, though, to find myself actually enjoying a deadline.

This week, I’ve been working on page proofs. In the “old” days, this would have meant the publisher mailing me (as in stuff envelope, apply stamps, drop in mail slot) the physical proofs, that I would have read through with red pen in hand.

Nope. My editor emailed me a PDF of the pages, with instructions for basically typing of a list of things I find that may need to be fixed. Because I can be slightly anal, I set up a table for this–just one column for the page number and another for “Change this to this.” (All dependent on my editor’s blessing, of course!)

This is what I’m doing for the next few days. This is all I’m doing.

And, you know, it’s kind of relaxing.

There’s something peaceful, for a small chunk of time, about having one project–one project only–asking for my attention. I’m not working on anything else, because this deadline takes priority. I take my laptop over to the comfy couch, get my tea, put the Internet on Pandora (wondering WHY The Rolling Stones are showing up on my Van Morrison station), and I read. I read, then stop, make a note, and read some more.


And, okay, it doesn’t hurt that I”m feeling a huge sense of relief and delight that–yes, many drafts after that first deadline–I’m still loving this book.

How do you feel about deadlines? What’s your favorite way to dig into the work that has to be done?


  1. Deadlines where you can really see something that can be finished, like editing, work for me. Not so much when say, there’s a whole wild book to write.

    There’s nothing much better than editing a book and still loving it! Yay for that!


    • beckylevine says:

      Yes, I think that’s the difference. It’s put together, it’s working, and I can see the end of the tunnel.

      Love “the whole wild book.” 🙂


  2. It’s probably a whole lot more enjoyable because at this point, the end is in sight. Congratulations!


  3. I think this deadline works because it’s much easier to measure than something I’m likely to say like, “work on novel.”

    I love that you still love the book.

    Interesting that you’re working in PDF. Mine have all been in Word.


    • beckylevine says:

      It is easier to measure. The other thing is it’s just a do this, do this–not quite boring (’cause I know it matters), but not lots of ups and downs!

      Nope, PDF with that lovely yellow inside it! 🙂


  4. jama says:

    Glad to hear you’re still loving the book, and the process of doing page proofs. 🙂


    • beckylevine says:

      Thanks, Jama. This is actually the stage I might prefer to do with a red pen! I’m sure it saves time & increases accuracy at the other end, though. 🙂

      And I am happy with the book, which feels great.


  5. P. J. Hoover says:

    I kind of think I like deadlines. As non-committal as that sounds, it seems to be the best way to put it.


  6. Vivian says:

    It must feel so awesome knowing you’re close to the end! I’ve been working on self-imposed deadlines and I fear I’m being too harsh on myself.


    • beckylevine says:

      I think self-imposed deadlines are almost always tighter than they have to be. If we wear ourselves out that way, we don’t have much left for the ones we HAVE to meet. Ease up just a tiny bit? 🙂


  7. Amy G. says:

    So glad you still love the book! I usually hold myself to very tight self-imposed deadlines, but I’ve been learning to cut myself more slack. So far copyediting has been stressful for me (it has coincided with holidays and family celebrations both times) but even so I agree that it’s great to have a project that puts me so close to the actual book.


    • beckylevine says:

      I think sometimes we make our self-imposed deadlines way tighter than anyone else would ask us to do. It feels great to make progress, but we do, yes, have to cut ourselves slack every now and then.

      Glad for all your good news over on your blog–seems like all your work is paying off. 🙂


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