Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Guest ~ Joshua Perkey

Josh is a senior editor for the Ensign magazine. When he is not playing with his kids, talking with his wife, serving in the Church, or sleeping, he tries to find time for writing novels.

Although he has d
iverse interests, from singing and playing in bands and choirs to sports, mostly these days he gets a little exercise now and and then and just tries keeping up with his kids.

Currently, he's shopping arou
nd an epic fantasy and almost finished with a middle grade fantasy.

can visit his blog here.

~ ♥ ~

All About Deadlines

The past few weeks I raced in an attempt to get my middle grade book finished and out to readers in time for good feedback. The reason was because I was hoping to pitch to a specific publisher at a specific event.

Well, I didn't get my book quite finished, I did sent it out to some friends for review but had to attach caveats explaining why it wasn't finished or polished, and then discovered that the individual I was going to pitch to wasn't going to be available as I had thought.

I was a bit frustrated in how the whole process got to where it was, but in the end it turned out better than I had expected. But I learned a few things about setting goals and deadlines in the end.

1. Deadlines can be useful things. They help you push through a lot of barriers, whether self imposed or otherwise, so that you can accomplish great things.

2. Even so, don't let deadlines rule your life. Deadlines can also create a lot of stress, and sometimes that stress is unnecessary because of ill management or because something changes in someone else's schedule and you didn't need to bother. Or, if you had analyzed things a little better, you'd have seen there was a different route to take to begin with.

3. Deadlines, if properly managed, can help you produce great work. If ill managed, they can cause you to submit before your work is ready, and that means people won't have a chance at first impression with the best you can offer.

4. Analyze those deadlines. Be flexible with arbitrary deadlines. I guess this is a two parter: (A.) Don't waffle if you don't need to. You've got to write in order to publish, obviously, but, (B.) You also can't control everything out there. Sometimes things beyond your control change the environment for which your deadline was created. If you can be flexible, you won't be unnecessarily disappointed. Well, maybe that's not always true. But you can adjust and plan out your life with greater happiness if you do.

5. If someone gives you a deadline--a serious deadline that won't shift in time--then start as early as possible to meet that deadline. Figure out what you've got to accomplish by the calendar, either on a daily or weekly basis, and then make sure you do everything you can to meet those deadlines. When a publisher or agent sets those deadlines for you, then you are in a whole different ball game.

So, use deadlines, and worked toward them. But try and make them realistic so you don't feel like you're letting yourself down. I did that some this summer, and it was a bummer. If I'd done a better job at analyzing the calendar, I would have either adjusted my schedule or my self-imposed deadlines. Either way, I'd feel better about what I did and how I went about it.

Nevertheless, I feel like I had divine help in the end. Oh, the deadline essentially just got pushed back two weeks, but it gives me a greater chance of accomplishing what I've got to do--get the draft finished, out to reviewers, and edited. Oh boy, there's still a lot to do! Guess I'll be putting in some late nights!

So what was it I learned this week???

~ ♥ ~

Thanks, Joshua, for being our guest today!

Next week, we are excited to have Carolyn Frank as our featured blogger.

If you would like to be our guest, email Ali for information.


Nichole Giles said...

Great thoughts, Josh! Thanks for sharing. I know deadlines help me push forward, even when I have a hundred reasons not to.

Angie said...

Deadlines can sure be a two-edged sword. Those are great thoughts, Josh. Good luck on getting the book finished.

Valerie Ipson said...

The guy who founded NaNoWRiMo (sp?) said that the only thing you need to write a novel is a deadline. Since mine is still unfinished I'm thinking he is right.

ali said...

I love deadlines. Always have. During university, I had a full time job, was co-chair of the student council and a full time student. I *had* to work and stay busy because otherwise, I'd just fritter my time away.

Same goes for my writing. Without deadlines I somehow manage to do a whole lot of nothing. However WITH deadlines I can CRANK it.

Just need the proper motivation, I guess. ;)

Thanks Josh!

Rebecca said...

I need deadlines too. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at setting them for myself!

Great post. Thanks!

Debbie Davis said...

great post and great advice! thanks Josh!