I've had a lot on my writerly plate lately: working on the novel, hashing out plans for a series of novellas for self-publishing with a co-writer, and writing a story to submit this quarter to Writers of the Future. In all of that, I've been putting off the Writers of the Future story, saying to myself I have time, I can write that in December. Ah, the best-laid plans ...
As of Dec. 1, I didn't know what I was going to write, but that was all right. I had plenty of time. I spent a couple of days brainstorming and came up with an idea, which I fleshed out to an outline. After another couple days, I had done the world building and character profiles.
Around Dec. 4 or 5, I started writing the story longhand in my notebook. Although the process takes longer that way, I find that I produce better prose. My theory is that my brain has more time to catch up to a pen than it does to a keyboard. Both of my best-performing WotF stories, a finalist and semi-finalist, were written longhand. Whatever the reason, it works.
By the end of last week, I had written a few thousand words. Everything was going swimmingly. And then I got sick.
I had planned to finish the first draft by this past Tuesday, which was the last day this year in which I was going to be off work and my kids were going to be in school. Next week, my kids will start their winter break, which means they won't give me much (if any) quiet time to write. Then there's the craziness of Christmas. Then it's the end of the month and ... deadline.
The flu put a big crimp in my grand plan. I had intended to plow through the end of the draft. Instead, I hardly had the energy to get out of bed. I managed to write several hundred words, but two days after my self-imposed deadline, the story is not yet done.
So here I am on the verge of the kids' winter break and the holidays, and I have a story to finish. This is what I get for procrastination.
Oh, I'll still finish the story. I might even have time to run it by a couple of critique partners before submitting it. Only now the final stretch will be more stressful than it could have been.