This I week I was encouraged to see this article on Slate.com.
David Maraniss, author of Barack Obama: the Story, writes about the calendar he developed for the forty days before the final deadline of his manuscript. He worked diligently on the book for the last two and a half years, interviewing the President and compiling material. Still the final weeks were a sprint to the end.
Those of use who are writing on our own need this kind of calendar. We do not have the accountability that Maraniss has. If Maraniss doesn’t finish his book, he goes hungry. If we don’t finish our book, we still eat the same pitiful take-out as before.
Those close to me know how long I’ve been working on my book (*ahem* six years *ahem*). Many people have the person in their life, who is “writing a novel.” And maybe that person has been “writing” this “novel” since hanging chads were on the front page news.
I recently developed my own calendar to the end, so it was encouraging to read about another writer doing this. I have deadlines to finish two chapters of my book every three weeks or so, and my calendar stops on January 31, 2014.
Maraniss made time to play golf and watch football. I made time for some big races on the agenda, two this summer and one around my 30th birthday.
I’ve already written a few awkward, meandering drafts that don’t make a lot of sense. I was spending a lot of time on the story, which can be extremely challenging when you’re building a fantasy world. Now I am polishing the writing chapter-by-chapter.
My calendar brings me both enormous relief and cataclysmic anxiety. Relief, because the end is in sight. Anxiety, because the responsibility is well upon me. I will explain in more detail in my next post, but if I don’t meet my deadlines, then I will have some tough choices to make.