One Down…

I blogged at the start of the year about setting up a group to help each other to write 12 picture books this year – This may not be an uncommon target among the picture book writing community, but it is still a challenging one, made doubly so by the fact that the year starts off with the worst month.

Honestly, the back-to-the-day-job-reality of January, all dark nights and cold mornings, is PANTS (Post-christmas And Nigh-on-forever Till Summer)!

I seemed to get bogged down in bits and pieces, tidying up manuscripts here, polishing short stories there, but making precious little progress until very nearly the end of the month. Although I’d planned the way the story would run, I only actually got the words down on paper in the last four or five days of the month, finishing the first draft on the 31st.

(I did manage to submit a short story to three competitions too, which is a first for me.)

I’ve always found those reality TV makeover shows – the sort where they get a normal family house, and pledge to install an Olympic-swimming pool in the conservatory, Sistine-Chapel wallpaper in the living room and theatre seating in the garden by the end of the weekend, slightly ridiculous. “Why not just give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete to the job, rather than an arbitrary deadline that means the work is guaranteed to be of lower quality“, I’d rant at my TV. Boy, do I lack self-awareness!

So, one lesson that I have been reminded of is the good thing about setting deadlines: I HATE to miss them. The bad thing is that I tend to delay actually starting any work until I absolutely have to, then rush it at the last minute, knowing that I hate to miss them…

Having said that, the story that I’ve come up with “isn’t bad”. I write in rhyme, and haven’t put it through my patented spreadsheet “meter-ometer” yet, but I’ve got a good feeling about it. I’ll share it with my critique groups, and see how it fares…

So, one down, eleven to go. Only 28 days in this month too. Wonder how late I’ll leave it this month before “deadline fear” kicks in…


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