The Business of Writing

horseheader11.jpgGood Morning!

I hope you’ll bear with me as I take another excursion from my usual posts about Native America.  I’m under a horrific deadline right now — only 8 more days till due date and so, as my attention is on this very important fact right now, I thought I’d take a few moments to talk about deadlines.

images6Some authors don’t have deadlines.  I knew an author once who simply wrote the books and turned them in to her publisher and they were published.  No deadlines.  I thought, Wow!  Then I know authors who wait until the last minute (like me unfortunately) and then scramble to write that book.  Once I even heard a composer say that he hadn’t written the music to the movie he was contracted to write until the week before it was due.  I remember thinking, oh, gee, that’s leaving it a bit too long.  Now, I sometimes wonder if Jane Austin worked under deadlines.  Do any of you Jane Austin fans know?images11

I know one author who was so late on a deadline (2 years overdue) that I thought surely her publishers would end her contact.  But no, it was the exact opposite.  They offered her practically the world.  Then there was another author who was so sick while she was under deadline that her husband (who was a vet) had to prop her up with things he knew that would keep her going.


Then there are authors who become so obcessed with writing and deadlines and writer’s block, that they turn to alcohol or some other sort of stimulant to help them to think.  Personally, I don’t take drugs or drink to excess and so this isn’t an option for me.  What I do find that works, however, in order to get that book written, are believe it or not, deadlines.  Without them, it might take me years to write a book.

ax3ekgwca0dugv4cac69liycaurrn9ccaxfytjxcafx5bs3ca1y7g4ucalchqh6cac1tm2dcax8z7wwcab6fidzcav4wc8dcah5ptgkcada9c7fcadpyvu9ca7nih03caaazbuyca4fb03ica76hoe1cakm6drkAnd then there are those distractions that keep us from writing as fast as we might — this one is very real to me.  I have cats and often, they demand more attention than I can easily give them (when I’m under deadline).  Someone once asked me how long it takes me to write a book.  I said, it all depends on how long I have to write it per my contract.  If they want a year, it will probably take me that long to write it.  If they want it in three months, I’ll figure out a way to get it done.

All right.  So for all of you who work under deadline (or don’t) come on in and tell me your thoughts on this.   Bear with me if I take a while to respond.  After all, I’m under deadline.

51obnqdgasl_sl500_aa240_1And don’t forget.  If you don’t already have your copy of my latest book, BLACK EAGLE, written under the pen name of Gen Bailey, please go and get your copy today.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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21 thoughts on “The Business of Writing”

  1. Hi Kay,

    I wish you lots of luck with your deadline. I know how it feels. My own wip is due August 1st so I’m scrambling as well.

    As for your question about Jane Austin, I haven’t a clue, but I’m assuming they had deadlines even back then. I’m so glad I wasn’t born during that time because I cannot feature writing a book in longhand. Or even typing on a typewriter. I love my computer. It’s lots easier.

  2. I’m in the throes of a deadline as well,only I’m late which only increases the pressure. Like Tracy I always have great plans to get ahead of those said deadlines, but sometimes the characters just don’t want to cooperate.

  3. I’ve never had to meet a deadline yet. Mainly because I wrote for SO LONG before I got published that I had a lot of books written that my very lovely publisher bought.

    So, I could turn them all in instantly and way, way ahead, all while writing the next book, not due for a year.

    Plus I may be slightly OCD when it comes to writing. I can’t stop. So, no deadlines so far. I’m writing a book right now, about 1/4 done, that isn’t due until…I think about a year from now. I hope to have it done by the end of summer and get started on a new one.

    I do have goals I set for myself, 1000 words a day, five days a week, and I use that as my ‘deadline’. I sometimes go over, sometimes WAAAAAY over, my personal best was six thousand words in one day.
    But I almost never fail to meet my goal. So the books progress at a nice rate.

  4. Hi Kay, take a deep breath. You’ll do it. I work better with deadlines, although I do try to keep ahead of them. Doesn’t always work though. My editor says one hould write for two hours before checking e-mail, loops etc. I haven’t met that challenge yet.

    Take care! oxoxoxox

  5. Hi Kay, Major hugs on the deadline! I don’t like them at all, so I generally ask for plenty of time for a book. That takes off the pressure that comes with having elderly parents, a day job, two grown sons (one of whom just got engaged!), and the other stuff that makes life a tad bit too interesting on occasion.

    It paid off big time with my 6/15 deadline. Around 5/15, I thought I was in good shape. The book was done except the last chapter, than SPLAT! The ending fell apart and I had to do a major rewrite. I was glad I’d allowed time for that, especially with some of the craziness that happened.

    Hang in there! Here’s hoping the words flow from your heart to the keyboard in record time.

  6. Knowing a little about the kind of year you’ve had and the deadline you’re facing, all I can give you is hugs and admiration, Kay. No matter how much time I allow myself I seem to take every project down to the last day, sometimes a couple of weeks over. Am subject to all kinds of distractions. Cats, email, online sales, the house, the yard, friends, TV, sleep, etc. etc.. Anything is easier than facing that empty computer screen!
    Wishing you speed on your deadline.

  7. Not a writer, so I don’t deal with that type of
    deadline. This past weekend we had a HS graduation gathering in honor of granddaughter Ashley on Saturday and a lunch in honor of all the fathers in the family (we counted son David in because he is a great uncle!) on Sunday. I
    had numerous deadlines in regards to those events. Monday afternoon I had a surprise deadline for a publicity article for our parish bulletin. Friday I have a deadline on an article publicizing our parish festival which will go into an area paper. As Roseanna Roseanna Danna
    (from early SNL days) would say, “It’s always
    something!” My deadlines are not on a par with
    your career but everyone seems to be up against a deadline of some kind. Best Wishes and much Good Luck in meeting your deadline!

    Pat Cochran

  8. Hi Kay,
    Good luck with your deadline and kitties. LOL Sounds like you do have them pretty much under control.

    I haven’t had to write under a deadline as of yet, but I’m pretty good at goal setting and hope it will help. I love Mary’s idea of 1000 words a day, five days a week and think I might try to develop that into a habit of my own.

    Thanks for the fun post!


  9. Oh, Tracy, it’s the same with me. I always swear never again will I be caught like this…

    And yet, here I am. Perhaps I’m pushing against it too hard. 🙂

  10. Hi Linda,

    I know. Me, too. Interestingly, however, my first book was written out almost entirely by longhand and I used to write love scenes only in longhand.

    That changed however as deadlines drew close and I became more expert at computers. : )

  11. Oh Pat, I so understand. I’m having the same problem with my characters right now — one thing I’ve learned however — although I always struggle with this — is that I have to let them be and not push them. Otherwise they stop telling me their story. : )

  12. Hi Mary!

    Lucky, lucky you. : ) Wish this were my situation. I’ve been writing under deadline almost from the first.

    I know another author who sets daily word counts. I go by pages, myself. My usual is 5 pages a day. Right now I’m turning out 10-15 pages a day — but it’s taking me 12-20 hours a day to do it — so far I’ve had 3 all nighters, with more to follow.


  13. Hi Tanya!

    I so agree with your editor, but it’s not something I usually do either. In the old days before the internet (yes, I was writing back then), going to the computer meant work and nothing but work.

    Times change…

  14. Hi Vicki!

    Boy, I’ve been there, too. My second book (my first deadline) was this way — I was at page 312, I believe when I had to go all the way back almost to page one and rewrite all the way to the end. I finished the book on the same day as it was due.


  15. Hi Pat!

    Wow, I admire all you did to celebrate. I’m afraid that on Father’s Day my hands were glued to that computer keyboard. : )

    Even housework is going by the boards right now and the laundry that’s stacking up… Okay, we won’t go there.

    Yes, we all have deadlines of one sort or another. This is only stressful because there’s nothing there — you have to create it all.

    Once it’s down there, editing usally takes me no longer than a day.


  16. Hi Caroline!

    Yes, isn’t Mary’s idea great? I must admit that usually like Mary I write only 5 days a week and shoot for 5 pages a day — but then I work two other jobs also and so I have only 5 or so hours a day to write — unless, like now, I’m under deadline and then it’s sometimes 20 hour days, as it was for me yesterday. : )

  17. Yes I do need deadlines. I’m a procrastinator and I need something to get me moving and finishing up. The older I get, the harder it is for me to meet those deadlines. This year it seems I’ve been playing catch up with everything I do. I was moving the children’s section of our library and rearranging things. My husband was building new bookcases for the room and I could only move things a little at a time then rearrange it. The room had been a storage area, so I was trying to deal with that and finish up the year’s 13 weekly story times. I was trying to plan the summer reading program and got to a point where a choice had to be made. Either I finished planning the programs and had no place to hold them, or I finished getting the room ready and hoped I could get the planning finished in time. I’m keeping ahead of the programs since I knew what I wanted to do and just needed to fill in the details and do prep work. Not the way I like to do things,but it is working. I’ll be glad when the big program is over, and I can concentrate on dealing with all the boxes I had to stash in my office and other places.
    Good luck with your deadline. I’m sure it will mean late nights. Put the cats out of the room and close the door.
    I have BLACK EAGLE and will read it on our trip to the Adirondacks for a high school reunion in August. We’ll be going to New Hampshire and Mass. first to visit family. We may be retracing part of Marisa, Sarah and Black Eagle’s trip.

  18. Hi Patricia!

    Wow, you’re a busy lady! I guess I tend to be a procrastinator, also, much to my chagrin. Hope you’ll enjoy BLACK EAGLE — you’ll be in the area where the story is set. : )

    I’m writing about that same area right now, also.

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