Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Missed my deadline!

I'm thankful that my fellow potato bloggers are lenient about our individual deadlines. Mine was yesterday, but as I was driving 8 hours back home from North Carolina, I realized I wouldn't make this one.

Deadlines are good things, though. They help discipline me in my hectic life as author, SCBWI regional advisor, teacher, daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, etc. Like David, I try to be scrupulous about keeping my deadlines and feel guilty when I don't. Deadlines give me a feeling of accomplishment when I'm successful and are a strict taskmaster when I'm procrastinating. They force me into putting words on paper when I'm struggling through a writer's block, and they give me an excuse to say "no"--something I don't do easily.

Sometimes I wonder how I managed to keep the deadlines every three weeks throughout my MFA program at Spalding University when I was also working full-time as director of admissions in a busy community college. When my editor said, "take as long as you need" to work on my revision, I asked her to give me a deadline. I needed a specific date to work toward. And now that I don't have another full-time "day" job, other than my writing, I find it harder to set aside writing time than I did when I was too busy.

In my search for deadlines, I'm going back to school for an enrichment semester at Spalding University to study film adaptation. I'm excited to be a student again and to enter this new field as a writer. I'm also excited to have deadlines and excuses to say, "no." Yes, I'll be busier than ever, but I'll also accomplish more.


At Least I'm Writing

The deadline to submit my next biography is June 11th. I am not even halfway into this 64-page book. Mornings are the hardest. So, I warm up with other writings, such as this:


Can you chew gum in school?
Can teachers chew gum in school?

When you are in school
and a teacher walks toward you,
spit the gum out onto your hand.
Quickly, stick it under your desk.
At break, take a look under your teachers' desks.
You'll see how many chewed gums they have.
Principals' are the worse.

Have you ever wonder why teachers
have to hide for lunch in that lounge?
I'll tell you why. They need a freezer.
Before lunch they place their gum in the freezer.
They eat lunch, then they take out a gum
not matter whose is whose. Yikes.

Now you know why, in the afternoons,
teachers look and sound like goats:
Yak. Yak. Yak.
They are chewing frozen gum.


Deadlines and fear

Some people have nightmares about drowning or being kidnapped or falling off a cliff. On the rare occasions when I have nightmares, they are usually about being late. Maybe that's why I am so very good about keeping my deadlines.

But I'm not quite as good as I used to be, and my occasional sloppiness can be traced back to a conversation I had with the art director of a children's magazine several years ago. For the first time in my long relationship with him I was going to be a couple of days late with the final artwork for an assignment. I sent him a note apologizing profusely and said I'd have the illustration ready no later than two days after the original deadline. He said, "Don't worry about it; I'm still waiting to get rough sketches from several other artists for this issue and their final art will be weeks late."

Weeks late? Weeks late? Being weeks late for anything had never crossed my mind as even a remote possibility. But other artists were routinely that late...and they still got work?

Perhaps this art director shouldn't have been so honest with me. Maybe it wasn't a good thing to learn that not every other artist/author holds to the same strict policy of making deadlines as I do...or did. Because since then, my record for being punctual hasn't been as spotless. Oh, I still hate to miss a deadline, even by a day or two, but when it happens, I don't think that my career will be over.

Was this a good thing to learn? I'm not so sure.


And some news from the Sunshine state...

And just a bit of good news for a Tuesday. The Compound made the master list for the 2010-11 Florida Teens Read award. I am so honored to have it on that list, as well as the master lists for 2010-11 state reading awards in Utah, Washington, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Iowa:)



What's the saying? The only two sure things in life are death and taxes? Well, I think in the US we all consider April 15th one of the more concrete deadlines in life. And as a writer, I know about deadlines.

Here on the Potato blog, we have deadlines. We put up a topic for a two week period and then everyone is supposed to post on their appointed day. But this deadline can be flexible. If, for instance, something comes up, like a sick kid, ( Or even a sick pet) we might not get around to posting when we're suppposed to. And other than a blank blog for the day, there aren't really any repurcussions. Potatoes are flexible.

Some deadlines in life aren't so flexible. (Like when your kid is getting ready to go to college and they apply for scholarships. Those scholarship deadlines are rather inflexible. Trust me on that one.)

Some writing deadlines aren't so flexible either. Like the one, for instance, on my latest novel contract which states I have to get The Raft in their hot little hands by June 30th. Yes. That June 30th. Now I know I could tell my editor I need more time and she would probably be okay with that. But I like deadlines because I am a procrastinator. Usually, deadlines should be the mortal enemies of people with tendencies to put things off, but I like accountability. It gets me off my duff and gets me working to meet that deadline. Which I plan to meet, by the way. Just as soon as I get my cat to give me my chair back.

I'll let you know how it goes.