I have over-committed myself. Again. I have a bad habit of doing that. And I freely and readily admit I do it to myself. Given the open-ended question of, "When can you do this?" I will always choose a date that is sooner rather than later. I will look at a calendar, figure out what a reasonable date would be and then subtract a week. Or a month. Why? Why do I do it?
Deadlines are my friends. I thrive with a deadline. I thrive even better if it's a deadline I have committed to. I have missed many anthology deadlines over the past year, but I was the only one who even knew I was planning to submit my work. Deadlines that I've committed myself to (verbally or in writing) are another story. I've only missed one of those in the past year-- and it was one of my OGG columns. (Sorry again, Grippers.)
Actually, that's a lie. I've missed another deadline. A book proposal I was supposed to deliver around mid-September. Because of the baby, I was told to take a few more weeks if I needed them. Um... I'm still in the window of a few more weeks, right?? Sigh.
And now I have a few more deadlines that are looming--deadlines I've committed to and selected the dates for and made assurances I could deliver--and somehow, come hell or high water or sleepless babies, I will find a way to deliver, dammit. According to Yoda, there is no "try." There is "do" and "do not." I never choose "do not."
I hate missing deadlines, but even more than that, I hate letting people down. I hate the idea that someone somewhere (perhaps on this very blog) is saying, "Oh, that Kristina, she's such a flake. You can't count on her." That has to be a fate worse than...well, if not death, it's certainly a fate worse than a lot of things in my book. (And not the book that is several weeks past due.)
Despite the reputation writers have for being flaky free spirits who are at the mercy of their muses and miss deadlines willy nilly, most writers I know are pretty responsible people. There are a few divas in the mix, of course, but most of us know that meeting deadlines requires discipline and we act accordingly. But of course that doesn't always work and life--or other deadlines--get in the way. Then we beat ourselves up and call ourselves names (waving at Charlotte, here...) and lament our failings. And then... we dust off our egos and make another commitment and next time (hopefully), we get the job done.
So here I sit, over committed to too many projects and knowing that I will likely fail to deliver on at least one of them. Dilemma. I can ask for extensions on deadlines, of course. It's accepted and even expected in some cases. (I try not to play the baby card, I swear.) I could simply let one or more people know that I need more time to make my deadlines or I could give up on at least one project and make the deadlines for the others. Or I can just buckle down, nose to the grindstone, full steam ahead. Blood, sweat and tears dedication. Etc. , etc., etc.
Guess which one I'll choose? I'll choose "do," of course. It is the only way I know. And maybe that's why I'm a writer. Maybe if I didn't do it this way-- if I didn't commit myself to things that seem impossible-- I would never have sold the first story. Maybe. Only Yoda knows for sure.