I had a deadline yesterday. An important one. But life has thrown me a few curve balls lately, and I haven’t been writing as I would like to. I was THISCLOSE to emailing the editor and saying, “I’m sorry, but I simply can’t make this deadline. My story isn’t finished.” I’ve never done that before. I also think it’s a slippery slope. If you blow off a deadline once, what’s to stop you from doing it again?
I have wonderful writery friends. They told me that I should ask for an extension, or I should let the deadline go and focus on the rather heavy hand that we’ve been dealt. They filled my soul with kindness and good feeling. I am so grateful.
Then there was a member of my writer’s group. The phone call was maybe 60 seconds long, and his words changed everything. “Deadline? Just bust it out. See you tomorrow.”
Bust it out? Here I am, drowning in a world of confusion and misplaced words, and he says to bust it out? I realized two things: Number one, this guy is family. He gets that I need to write in order to breathe. I haven’t been writing, or breathing, lately. And number two, if he says that I can bust it out, I can bust it out.
It wasn’t easy. I had to tell my sweet daughter that playing mermaids out in the sunshine had to wait, because Mommy had to bust it out. (Not to be confused with busting a move, which, unfortunately, also happened. Mermaid style. Yeah, imagine that!) It isn’t my best work, but it’s a firm foundation with characters that I love, and I’ll polish it into something wonderful. More than that, I felt complete and utter triumph at sending it in. My deadline record is intact. I finished something that was hard. I started to breathe again.
This, my friends, is why you need people who get you 100%. I had to wait almost 30 years to find my writer’s group, but they’re a group for life. They tell me when it’s time to put the axe down and when it’s time to bust it out. I’m so grateful.