Of Anxieties, Frustrations and Self Imposed Deadlines

Another month, another blogroll. Welcome fellow scribes and members of the AW Forums to my humble site. Before we begin, here are the rules of this thing we call a blogroll (paraphrased from the original):

The first person (in this case, me) just makes a post on their blog. The person following (Unfocused Me) will take some element from the previous blogger and make their own post, including that element. Then link back to the previous post and add a link to the next blog on the chain. Thus tying their post to the first poster and the previous poster. Last but not least please post the links of all participants in the blogroll.

Enough with the procrastination. Sounds like a great idea, except that overcoming procrastination is what got me into my current state of mind. Right now I am mired in the middle of my second draft. Writing the first one was a joy. No worries about spelling, grammar or even story. Just sat down and wrote. I did not intend to write a novel for publication. Three months and about 46k words later I had something. Sure it was a short, garble mess of a thing, choking on to many adverbs, sloughing through the Mire of Passive Tense and swallowing entire armies of apostrophes whole. Yet the elation of writing my first work overpowered me. Dreams of best seller lists, television appearances and even the seed of an award winning movie dance before my eyes.

Then I took a break, started work on something else. The prerequisite three months passed (the typical “cool down” period according to the “experts”). Now all I had to do was sweep away the detritus, polish my work into a sparkling gem and send it to the world. Problem is, I am still polishing away. Well, no. More like blasting whole chunks from the side of mountain in hopes of leaving something worth seeing. Writing the second draft is as frustrating as writing the first one was exiting. First I have to overcome procrastination. The cure for that is a deadline. But then the deadline comes and I am not finished so enter frustration. And those dreams of publishing gold? They become the hunting shadows of self-doubt.

What if, after all this work I end up with nothing?

Is it too short?

To shallow?

Total garbage?

On top of that word has spread among friends and relatives who are now clamoring to read it. So, my fellow writers, how do you overcome these hurdles. Do you simply plow through? Use unusual tactics to defeat the chattering naysayers squawking in the back of your mind? Does the joy ever come back?

I know this is something worth pursuing. I have a story and I want to publish it. I just have to muddle through.

Now back to Unfocused Me, who by the looks of it, knows exactly what I am talking about!

Unfocused Me

13 comments on “Of Anxieties, Frustrations and Self Imposed Deadlines

  1. I’m right there with ya in that second draft stage. Trick of it is to keep giving yourself small breaks. If you get too frustrated with the revisions, to the point where you’re maybe over-analyzing every word in every sentence, set the manuscript down and let it “cool” for another week. Sometimes your brain just needs a break! Other than that, keep pluggin away.


  2. The worse thing is that I feel that it is shrinking day by day. I was hoping to crack 60k words, you know make it a short but full novel. Now I am down, yes down to 36k!

    I do have to add a few chapters, but still….

    Oh well, another break is in order.


  3. When I was in high school I was in my school orchestra. I was told to be good I would need a minimum of a half-hour practice every day. So limit yourself to a half-hour and then take a break. If you like come back again and work on it another half-hour that same day.

    It has something to do with frustration where you get frustrated you just tend to get worse not better. So maybe this is what is happening with you. I know it helped me when I was practicing in high school.


  4. I plough through. It took eight years (there were two kids born in there somewhere) to finish my current novel. It took a lot of side roads but it’s finally “done”. I meet with an agent next week. Finger’s crossed she wants to read some of it. I’m still not sure its all it could be but it’s done for now. On to the next one….


  5. Great, something to look forward to when I finish the first draft of the novel. And I thought editing a novelette was bad.

    All right, I’m up next. It’s one in the morning on October 2. I should have my link in the chain up by the morning (the *real* morning) of Oct. 3.


  6. […] He started us off with his post about the agony of working on the second draft of his novel in Of Anxieties, Frustrations and Self-Imposed Deadlines; if you haven’t read it, you should.  I’ll […]


  7. My rule of thumb is to plow through it now, make it rock later…plow through it and get the words on the paper, because the great part about a first draft is that it can suck completely and you can make it better and better on subsequent drafts. It’s the getting to the finish so you can tidy up and enhance that’d the tough part, so rock along you must 🙂


  8. Thing is, this is my second draft. I didn’t have that worry the first time, I just wrote, wrote, and wrote some more. Its this damned second draft that has me twisted in a knot.


  9. […] And thus another AbsoluteWrite blog chain commences. This time, the theme is writing. Neither Here Nor There started things off discussing procrastination. Unfocused Life touched on the agony of the second […]


  10. One of the best tools against procrastination I have is this: Even after you complete a polished draft of the novel, it will be anywhere from twelve months to several years before it reaches the bookshelves of your local B&N store.

    Try setting baby deadlines. Chapter twelve this week, chapter thirteen next week. Bite sized editing chunks help with motivation, because you can see the progress you’re making, rather than looking at it as “OMG, I have two hundred pages left before I’ve friggin’ accomplished anything.”

    Good luck.


  11. I’m in the middle of what I hope is a final draft of a doctoral thesis. And while I found it easier to plow through the earlier drafts, I’m finding it harder with this one, since what I’m trying to do is makes sure it makes sense from beginning to end, that it doesn’t repeat itself too much and that the connections are smooth. And I have never struggled more with procrastination. It is hard to set small deadlines when what I need to do is look at the big picture. I do think, though, that as Kelly said above, small deadlines are the key. If only I can figure out how to assign them.


  12. Procrastination is indeed a very bad thing time. Normally, I put all the comments in a blog chain very fast. However, this time, it is taking too much time. I said to myself- no more delay. So, I want to finish it by tonight.


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