Today on #IrishWritersWed I am delighted to welcome Irish Writer Patricia Gibney to Swirl and Thread.
Patricia has just released her debut novel The Missing Ones and I was thrilled she was able to write a guest post for us today entitled ‘Deadline Dilemma’
I think many of us, whether writers or not, can relate to this so I’ll hand you over to Patricia now…
Deadline Dilemma by Patricia Gibney
Deadlines. Do you love them or hate them?
Let me honest for a moment, if I hadn’t a deadline I’d still be tinkering with The Missing Ones and the book would never have reached publication day.
When I started writing The Missing Ones, it was a hit and miss process. You know the excuses, I’m sure. When I was in the mood, when I had the right desk, the right chair, the right room, complete silence, soothing music, – all the obstacles my brain could conjure up to prevent me actually writing.
And as I had no definitive deadline to work towards, I found it easy to give myself an imaginary deadline. You know those deadline things and how they work?
Write it up in my diary.
Pop it on to my phone calendar.
Scribble it on the wall.
D-Day with a big fat X.
But as it is a self-imposed deadline, who will know if I move it out a little? A day, here and there. Maybe a month? Yes, that will work. Only I will know. Phew! Relief. I’ve given myself another month to write this chapter, to solve this plot hole, to finish this paragraph, to murder this character. But the days and weeks quickly roll into each other and suddenly I’m out with the red pen and frantically scrubbing away at the monster D-Day X and moving it on a bit further.
That’s what I used to be like. A Procrastinator with a capital P.
I’m sure most writers have experienced this at some stage in their career. But I think I was absolutely the meanest-badass-procrastinating-deadline-hating person, ever.
All that ‘changed, changed utterly’ to quote WB Yeats. I don’t know if a ‘terrible beauty’ has been born or not, but The Missing Ones is published.
A series of deadlines.
No excuse deadlines.
Tightly squished together, deadlines.
No room for manoeuver deadlines.
Set by someone else, deadlines.
Yes, those deadlines.
By November 2015, I’d sent The Missing Ones to Literary Agent, Ger Nichol of The Book Bureau who offered advice, suggestions and changes to the manuscript. “Would I have it complete by end of December?” she asked nicely? Would I heck? I did it and in January 2016, Ger signed me up. By July I had a contract with Bookouture Digital Publishers, for four books. Wow! Four books. Four books in quick succession! By this stage I had started book two. Book one, The Missing Ones, was finished, so it wasn’t too bad. Or was it?
This was my first foray into the world of publishing and I quickly learned how the business works. Editorial review, structural edits (I haven’t had these so far, thank God), line edits (this can be more than one round), copy edits, proof reading. All with individual deadlines. Immovable deadlines. Why are they immovable? Because I was working with a set of editors who had other authors to work with and if I messed up their schedule, I was causing inconvenience to a whole lot of other people – other editors down the line, other authors with their own real-live deadlines. Panic set in as I realised I could no longer get out my red pen to scribble in a new date allowing me to wallow in a state of procrastination. I had to work to the prescribed date. Oh, and while working on all these edits to do on a manuscript I originally thought I was finished with, I had a deadline for submission of book two! And that would start the process all over again.
Now you might be glad to know, (my editor, Jenny, will anyway) the dreaded deadline has become my friend. I know I can’t move it out (unless I keel over and die in the process), I can’t tinker with it (maybe a wee bit, if I beg), I can’t stare at it for a week, doing nothing – cheating myself into thinking it can be shifted further away. It is there for a reason. And that makes me work and write harder than I’ve ever done in my life. It allows me to plan and project, and write.
Don’t get me wrong – I still curse and swear and yearn for more time. But as a deadline approaches, and I’m tapping away on my keyboard watching the seconds tick closer to midnight, on D-Day, so far, I’ve made it.
So, rather than seeing a deadline as an enemy I now see it as part of my writing process. Despite my old ways, I think I’m beginning to like deadlines. I’ve no choice. I’ve three more books to write and edit.
Thank you so much Patricia for taking part in #IrishWritersWed today with this fabulous post and also for being so very supportive of my weekly feature.
Please keep reading to find out more about The Missing Ones and for more ways to connect with Patricia.
The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.
The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’
When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?
The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.
As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?
Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.
Purchase Link ~ The Missing Ones
My name is Patricia Gibney and I’m from Mullingar, County Westmeath. Right in the heart of Ireland. Surrounded by lakes, Mullingar is damp and wet most of the year but when the sun shines it is a little piece of heaven on earth.
In 2009, after my husband died, I retired from my job and started writing seriously.
I joined The Irish Writers Centre. Started doing courses. I love reading crime thrillers so it was obvious to me to start writing in the crime genre. And let me tell you, it is not easy. A crime novel needs to be tightly plotted and plotting is the bane of my life. I prefer to write straight off the top of my head. Oh, Oh. Feels good when writing but then comes the editing. I lost 20,000 words in the process. But at least I am proud to say I got it done.
I am now writing the second novel in the series, featuring Lottie Parker and a host of credible characters. They are all part of my extended family, you know the kind – people you love one minute and want to kill the next!
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Fabulous guest post from Patricia!
Thanks a mill Dee. It is a dilemma for many writers and bloggers I would think!! I definitely work better when I have a deadline to uphold but as a blogger I’m not great at ‘walking the walk’ !!
Great post xxx
Thanks a mill Abbie and for your support. xx