Deadlines: There Will be Blood
(by Sophia Nash)

Deadline is the one word guaranteed to knot a writer’s stomach. And it should. Notice the word "dead" neatly tucked in there? That’s because virtually 98.2% of all writers are zombies by the due date.

As my next book, SECRETS OF A SCANDALOUS BRIDE/March 2010, was winging its way to Avon offices, my editor suggested it might be the perfect time to talk about deadlines. And she was right. Deadlines are a little like childbirth: there will be blood and you will forget all about it when you see that beautifully bound little baby in your hands. Then, you will do it all over again without thinking twice.

Another author who shall remain nameless--Cathy Maxwell--once told me she embraces the joy of the deadline. This is a very good technique to consider when faced with the following:

1. The Law of Deadlines: 98.2% of all the annual bad things fated to happen to you will arise two weeks prior. (Yes, I know, that’s the same percentage I quoted above, but I assure you that I used the empirical methods from my son’s 7th grade "Science Rocks!" textbook--all while waiting in the ER for his arm x-ray.) All milestones will also occur: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.

2. You will memorize every takeout food place in a thirty mile radius of your house.

3. Your dog will be the only one willing to stay up all night with you.

4. Your laundry pile will be declared a new country.

5. All 30 part-time baristas at the local Starbucks will know your order.

6. Your husband (or the UPS man) will suggest that your fashion choices are becoming a tad questionable.

7. The last four days, you will learn to write everywhere including: the orthodontist’s office, the MVA, the carpool, the post office, and the DC Division of Taxation.

8. Your “normal” friends will decide you are not normal.

9. Your writerly friends will commiserate. 98.2% of them will tell you your story is the most beautiful baby in the world.

I know I’ve forgotten some of the joys of deadlines! What are your favorite war stories from the front?

[Editor's Note: If you need a distraction from your deadlines, don’t forget to pick up FOUR DUKES AND A DEVIL, available June 30, and read Sophia Nash’s warm, witty, and delightful story.


It’s not about the famed Dukes of Hazzard; it’s not about a horse; it’s not about a band. But it is about a dashing Regency duke.

He’s the catch of the century, but she’s the one woman he cannot have. What could be more fun than that??]

7 Comments:

Anonymous Annie said:

10. The 1.8% of writers who are not zombies as their deadlines approach and who will not commiserate with you about your beautiful baby are not writers we want to read!

5:57 PM  

Blogger Mary Blayney said:

Laughed a lot Sophia -- esp the one about the "30 part time baristas" knowing your order.

My favorite thing about MY deadlines are that I convince myself that the date *I* pick is the actual deadline. Fortunately my editor is willing to play that game too. I am still manic at the end but in a quiet eat-everything-in-sight way, which is, I tell myself, better for my book -- if not my body -- than constant alcoholic refreshment.

8:48 AM  

Anonymous Sophia Nash said:

Hi Mary!
Returned to Starbucks yesterday (1st time in 4 days) and the barista said, "Where've you been? We worried you'd died--you are such a constant fixture here." Kind of made me feel like a light bulb...
Yeah, the eating thing: I get cravings--just like during pregnancy.
BTW--can't wait for Stranger's Kiss in September!!!

10:52 AM  

Anonymous Sophia Nash said:

Hi Annie,
You're absolutely right! These are the same people who also do 100 push ups and sit ups every day, eat perfectly balanced meals, keep their houses immaculate, and write 10 books a year. They are not to be trusted.

10:56 AM  

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10:31 PM  

Anonymous Miranda Neville said:

Hi Sophia. Having also just finished a book I loved your deadline story. Unfortunately my nearest Starbucks is 30 miles away. When I couldn't stand my own house anymore, convinced that its walls were leaching away my creative energy, a kind friend locked me in her spare room, brought me meals, and wouldn't let me leave until I typed THE END.

10:45 AM  

Anonymous Sophia Nash said:

Hi Miranda,
So excited to hear you finished your next book... You have a GREAT friend! Bringing you meals? Lending you a spare room? Wow... My non-writer friends all taunt me with stories of great lunches, parties, vacations while I'm in the last 2 weeks of deadline mode and can't go with them. They all have that sick black humor--kind of like me!

2:08 PM  

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