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Friday, September 2, 2011

Guest Blogger Shirley Kiger Connolly

Those Dooming Deadlines

Thank you, Lady Scribes, for asking me to do a guest blog today. I usually spend a lot of my time jotting down things that simply cross through my mind, today I got to thinking about dooming deadlines.

You know about those. After all, all our lives are made up of deadlines. They're simply a way of life, aren't they? Something we get used to from the time we're kids till the day we die; some dooming, and maybe some not so bad at all.

The dictionary calls a deadline, in part "the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something…" A little like sending in a requested blog.

When I think of deadlines, I consider a young mama who must make sure the milk is ready to submit to her hungry little one on schedule, for she knows if she doesn’t take care of the demand, her hungry baby is guaranteed to send her a continuous scream.

Even our cars give us unwelcome warnings when the fuel is just about gone. If we don't refill the tank soon, we're going to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere and probably will end up on our feet walking home. Likely as not it will happen on the very day we decide to wear our four-inch platform heels.

What about the author, who has excitedly sold her unwritten manuscript project to her publisher, who generously offered her that coveted contract ahead of time? Of course, the contract came because the story was promised to be completed and polished to perfection by a certain date. But what happens when the author with the contract is forever stuck in chapter three? The clock is fast ticking but the words just won't come? The story is still somewhere in the back of the head, but the thing simply won't flesh out? The writer has had several months in the beginning to meet her deadline, but now, she's down to weeks?

Okay, I know. That's me I'm describing.

What are a few answers for the deadlocked author as she faces that dooming deadline?  

1.       1. Anticipate the deadline and what you know you can do BEFORE signing any contract. 

2.       2. If you've been given a deadline about anything, get started early in the process. You probably know yourself well enough to understand already how much breathing space you'll need. Have some extra formula on hand for that baby, keep an extra gallon of gas nearby for emergencies and bring a pair of walking shoes…just in case. And recognize that editors and bosses can offer great understanding if you let them know plenty in advance what time space you'll need. But remember that phrase, "in advance."

3.       3. When you know the story is not complete in your mind, set yourself an earlier date to finish than is necessary. You can always go back and do the tweaking later. (Quit tweaking every single day. You'll never get there.)

4.       4. Find your best writing space and stay put. Get off FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Turn that email off, and start putting down those words. (While I was back in my college English class, brainstorming never failed to get the creative juices in my mind working.)  And that writing zone that is best for only you can do amazing things to help you in the process. (I won't offer suggestions here, because what works for one writer may have no benefit to another.)

5.       5. Ask yourself. Do you have a backup plan? Yes, you've signed a contract. But don’t be afraid to consider the option of changing things around a bit, if one story dies and another begins to flow to the forefront. The stories are back there and you know it. Something has to bring them forward. (Is it your favorite music playing? Is it a great big piece of chocolate? Is it a long moment of reflection?) 

6.       6. Most of all? Stop procrastinating.  

Do you have a best rule for meeting those lifestyle deadlines that you have to face every day? Please share with me. I can use all the help I can get.

 Shirley's book SAY GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY released August 15 from Desert Breeze Publishing. She's offering a free e-book copy to one lucky commenter who provides an email address in their comment.

An unwed mother with a questionable past heads west to find the father of her daughters only to discover she is about to make the biggest mistake of her life.

Scorned with disgrace, Annabelle Jordan and her daughters are no longer welcome in her reverend uncle's community. In need of a fresh touch of grace, Annabelle's in no mood to seek mercy yet. Not after carrying on a youthful affair with that young lieutenant long enough to produce two daughters before she finally sent him away. 

Now without a home, Annabelle's convinced her answer is to find her lieutenant again and force that marriage he pledged but never kept. Annabelle believes only he can provide her daughters the name, home, security, and future they need. Who else would show interest in a soiled, aging woman over thirty with two growing children? 

That was before Major Carlton Radcliffe entered her life. How was Annabelle to know she would fall for someone beyond her reach, loyal to the faith she's been fleeing and nobly pledged to a wife and family of his own?

A teacher, speaker, wife, mom, and grandmother, Shirley Kiger Connolly writes both historical fiction romances and lighthearted books of reflection. An English and Journalism Major at college, Shirley is a graduate of Institute of Children's Literature and member of ACFW, FHL - RWA, and several other writing communities. She and her husband presently live on the Southern Coast of Oregon.


  1. Thanks for joining us today, Shirley! I've been struggling to meet deadlines lately, myself, so this is a post with great timing. Fantastic advice. And I can heartily encourage everyone to read Say Goodbye to Yesterday. :) Great story.

  2. Shirley,

    Thanks for being our guest today. Honestly, I wish I were less neurotic about writing deadlines and more on the ball with everyday deadlines. I'm always rushing around at the last minute to get what my kids need for school or to sign a permission slip, etc. But heaven forbid I should only have nine months to submit a book. Then I get all wigged out! :D

  3. Thanks so much for having me here. Catherine, I am so glad you got to read my book. I hope others will give it a try and read it too. I really enjoyed writing it, though it took me forever!

  4. Hello to you, Samantha. It's amazing to me too, how so many can write to much and so short of time. Half MY time is fixing the comments and the periods in my sentences!

  5. What an intriguing plot! I'd love to read your book, Ms. Connolly!!! And an an aspiring writer, I love the inside perspective on the world of publication!

  6. Shirley, you've got some great suggestions for keeping control! Your book sounds interesting, too. I have a new Kindle I'm loading up for the weekend, so I'll check your out.

  7. Oh, time, deadlines, commitments! Great post on deadlines. Thank you for the great tips. But, (sigh) another book for the TBR pile.....

  8. Thanks so much for writing in, B58deed! And when you read the book, I truly hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Hang on to your writing dream. Amazing things can happen. Blessings Shirley

  9. Hi, Aileen (and I love that name, by the way.) You're going to love your Kindle. I do, mine. You made my day, when you said you are about to download my book.
    I hope you really enjoy it. Don't be afraid to let me know your thoughts. I want to hear them all.

  10. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Linda. And thanks a bunch for writing in. I know exactly what you mean by that comment you made regarding TBRs. I have so many, I lost count. That's the name of the game though, isn't it. And eventually we get them read. Take care. Shirley