I have been working on a short story anthology with a bunch of people from Sirens Conference. This anthology, Queens &Courtesans, is completely grassroots where all time is donated and all proceeds go to Sirens Conference itself–because we all love the conference that much.
Creating this anthology is challenging. One reason? The timeline is so tight–we want this thing out and ready by this years conference. And when I sat down to make up the timeline, I did my best to work around the editor’s schedule who donated her services as well as formatting timelines, etc.
I did not consider that my life was going to be absolutely insane in May and June. Work exploded with events. My wife and I announced our impending baby. The Crash and Burn Comic is a finalist for the Prix Aurora Awards (voting is open now, for all your Canadians out there! So many great things to read and vote on).
Given all that awesome stuff happened, I want to take some time to point out the three things I needed to finish my short story on time–hopefully they will help you finish your short story too 🙂
Death by Deadline
It seems so obvious but the number one thing that got me to finish on time? The deadlines I had set. Not only had I set this deadline for myself, but for everyone. Deadlines, especially those that impact other people, are essential to finishing writing of any kind.
Block your Time
I blocked off my weekend for the last minute panic. I made sure I picked a time where I had no other obligations–because June was full of about six million things to be done. I told my wife that I needed to write. She held me to the fact I needed to write all weekend. I moved to my office and cleared away distractions.
I knew that this was the time to get it done.
Find your Groove
One song I listened to on repeat for the first draft (Dark Waltz from this album by Hayley Westenra, if you were curious and want to support the site via affiliate link 🙂). I didn’t think playing the same song, as much as I loved it, would help me change the setting for what I needed for draft two (which was completely different after the edit). So I spent 20 minutes searching on iTunes for new music. I ended up with The Piano Guys. Without lyrics, I just fell into the music, the story, and kept writing.
With several breaks to move around and stretch, I finished the story late in the night and sent it off to be re-slaughtered via edits. But I am much more pleased with the story now.
I’d love to hear from you reading this! What helps you get your drafts done?