Friday, November 2, 2012

Helen Lacey with a Giveaway!

Updated to announce the winner! Congratulations to Jess over at The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow!! I'm email you with the info!

Today I'd like to welcome Helen Lacey to the blog!

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How To Handle Deadlines : Writing Under Pressure
I have to admit I actually enjoy deadlines. It’s a buzz getting things in on time. If I make a commitment to get something to my editor on a certain date I will always endeavour to meet that obligation. Of course, it’s not always easy or smooth sailing. Things often crop up – family and other work etc. can easily derail plans and corrode much needed concentration. One trick, I’ve discovered, in all aspects of writing, whether it’s at the start of a project or pushing to finish revisions or edits, is to maintain a solid work/life balance.
 
Prior to working as a full time author I had a career as a retail manager for a department store and I lived and breathed deadlines. Although I didn’t realize it at the time this job put me in a good position to handle the deadlines I get now. I’ve known other writers who work a day job and meet commitments and deadlines without a hitch, but when it comes to the writing work, things often fall apart. Many years ago a prominent Mills & Boon author gave me an important piece of advice – protect the work. This is particularly significant when handling deadlines and the pressure that comes with it.
 
If it’s a revision deadline then I will take a day or so to go through the notes from my editor, take into account anything extraneous that’s happening – like a book release, a blog tour, or anything in my personal life (family weddings or holidays as an example) and then create a workable plan of action in a diary/notebook. If I have thirty days until deadline then I take out the number of days I need for the ‘other’ things I need to do and then allocate the revision time accordingly. So my thirty day deadline might in fact look more like twenty days once the time I need for other parts of my work and life are taken into account. Then I will work out a schedule of how many hours a day I need to meet that commitment. When I worked my old day job I would often say to my staff, ‘plan your work, then work your plan’ – and that’s how I approach writing deadlines. This is my way of protecting the work – keeping the balance and ensuring that commitments are met, both personal and professional. And the good thing about having an action plan – it can be changed if things around you change.
To celebrate the release of my second Harlequin Special Edition, Marriage Under The Mistletoe, I have a signed copy to give away to one commenter.

Helen around the web:
Web            Facebook         Twitter              Author Page

 MARRIAGE UNDER THE MISTLETOE

Strong. Sensible. Dependable. That was Evie Dunn's type. Certainly not young, fearless gorgeous firefighter Scott Jones. She knew the wisest course was to keep her distance, but she couldn't resist the allure of a holiday fling. Now the widowed single mom found herself with an unexpected post-Christmas gift—she was having Scott's baby!

Scott came to Crystal Point to see his sister tie the knot, not fall for the alluring owner of the town's oceanfront B and B. He knew he was all wrong for Evie, but he would do anything to win her heart and build the family he'd always wanted. All he had to do was persuade Evie to take the biggest risk of her life…on love.
Read an Excerpt


Buy Links:

Harlequin             Amazon       Amazon UK        B&N      Book Depository
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Now, THAT's an organized approach! I'll have to keep that in mind for when I actually have deadlines! :) How, about you, do you like writing for a deadline? :)

47 comments:

  1. That's good advice, Helen. Thank you. Great to see you again, congratulations on the new release.

    Hi Jemi, just found your blog. Will be back again...

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  2. It's a great tip to take deadlines seriously. I'm like you...I do enjoy deadlines because they provide a sense of structure for my writing.

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  3. I work better with a deadline so understand the motivation it provides.

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  4. Sounds like a good way for doing this, thanks for sharing.

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  5. Hi Maria - lovely to see you here. Thanks for dropping by. Jemma does have a fab blog :)

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  6. Hi Elizabeth - always great to meet someone who likes deadlines too. And you're exactly right about them giving structure to the work. Thanks for commenting :)

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  7. Hi Maria - nice to meet you! :)

    Elizabeth - I bet they do! I hope to find out one day :)

    Alex - maybe that's why I like NaNo so much! :P

    Jeff - it is a great system, isn't it? :)

    Helen - great post! :)

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  8. Hi Alex - yes, motivation is exactly the right way to describe it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Hi Jeff - happy to share anything that might be helpful. Writing itself is a solitary gig - the business of writing is something all authors have in common :)

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  10. Thank you for the advice! I created a revision plan for my last novel to meet a submission deadline--and it worked! I think I need to apply this concept to the novel that I'm drafting. I get busy with life and the daily drafting goes out the window.

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  11. Lovely to meet you Helen Lacey! I love how sparks are already flying between Evie and Scott just by reading the blurb!! Yay!! Take care
    x

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  12. good tip although I find I do my best writing under pressure...sigh

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  13. Hi Anita - a daily plan is a great idea. Even though I am a pantser I aim for a certain wordcount a day -and again this is dependant on what 'external' stuff is happening. Thanks for dropping by.

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  14. Hi there Kitty - nice to meet you too. :)

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  15. Hi Dezmond - thanks for dropping by today :)

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  16. Hi Aubrey - I know several authors who just love working under pressure and put out several books a year - everyone has to find what 'works' for them and go with it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  17. Anita - I don't generally follow plans either - or at least written ones. I do have flexible ones in my head :)

    Old Kitty - I love how those sparks fly too! :)

    Dezzy - she's a nice lady!

    Aubrey - I'm wondering if that's why I love NaNo so much :)

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  18. Real or self-imposed, I need deadlines. I've found that over the years I've delivered work faster by pacing myself at both my day job and at home with my writing.

    Congrats on the release and thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

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  19. Hi Medeia - I'm with you on deadlines making the work faster. Before I was published I would use contests as a good way of keeping motivated to make deadlines dates.

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  20. This is great advice and it came at a good time for me. I have some edits to do and a busy month ahead. Now I will use your advice to help me make the month a bit more organized and less stressful.

    Congrats on the release of your book! Also, thanks so much for the giveway.
    ~Jess

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  21. Medeia - I've never really thought about creating my own deadlines - although I do make flexible goals - which is kinda the same... :)

    Jess - it's a very good plan to divvy up the work with the calendar - hope it helps you!

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  22. Hi Jess - good luck with your edit. Being organized is vital I think, to meeting deadlines. Thanks for dropping by.

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  23. Without a deadline, it's easy to let decisions about word choices absorb a lot of extra time. I like to use a timer to keep myself moving along.

    Would love to win the book and I'm not sure how you will let people know?

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  24. Hi Cathy - the idea of a timer is a great idea. Thanks for dropping by.

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  25. Cathy - a timer is a great idea! It's so easy to get absorbed! :) We'll let the winner know via email as long as we can access it through your profile! If not, I'll post it here! :)

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  26. I have to agree. I love deadlines. They make me focus, which I often have trouble doing. I also love writing to word limits. That is such a great way to force me to choose my words carefully.

    Thanks for this post, you two.

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  27. Very exciting!

    (I'm secretly hoping that, someday, I will have a deadline.)

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  28. Lee - you're welcome! I like to write for word counts too - probably why I love NaNo :)

    Jack - me too! Although it's not such a secret... :)

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  29. Hi C.Lee - I too ove to write to a specific daily wordcount and usually aim for 1k a day - extra is great, less means I have ti write more next session. THanks for stopping by.

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  30. Hi Jack - hope you get a deadline soon. Before I was published I used to use contests deadlines to keep me on track. In fact, it was through too separate contests that I signed with my agent and got me past the slush pile and onto my editors desk - contests are great for working to a deadline. Good luck!

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  31. I love deadlines too. They keep me focused otherwise I'd drift along forever without getting anything done.

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  32. Lynda - I do like the pressure of NaNo, so I think I'll work well with deadlines too :)

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  33. I need to get back to being organized with how I will spend time and make deadlines. Sometimes life gets crazy and before you know it you wake up behind the eight ball. I found I need to be crazy organized and that means planning ahead well in advance.

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  34. I really, really like this. Creating an action plan that balances not just the work you need that needs to be done, but all aspects of your life is not only easier to stick with (it satisfies desires of self-care), but gets the job done!

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  35. Hi Lynda - I agree - I get distracted so easily that I need deadlines to keep my focus.

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  36. Hi Stephen - planning ahead always works for me. Thanks for stopping by.

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  37. Hi Lynn - I think the trick is working out balance. Thanks for commenting, you're in the draw :)

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  38. Hi Helen, Hello Jemi!

    Great advice on writing under pressure! But it does get the work done on time, though!

    Congratulations on your release of MARRIAGE UNDER THE MISTLETOE, Helen!

    Nas

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  39. Stephen - being organized really helps! I know exactly what you mean about being behind the 8 ball!

    Lynn - so true. Keeping that balance make everything so much better!

    Nas - hi! It's a great post :)

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  40. What wonderful advice! I hadn't thought about actually blocking things out like that, but it makes sense because things do come up, and the thought of being late on a deadline is terrifying. Great post!

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  41. Hi Nas - it's great to be here. Thanks so much for your congratulations!

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  42. Hi Caryn - thanks for dropping by. Things do crop up, absolutely - the key is balance. You're in the draw :)

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  43. Caryn - terrifying is the perfect word!! I hate missing deadlines of any kind :)

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  44. Yeah! Thanks so much, Jemi! ~ Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com

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  45. Jess - you're so very welcome - enjoy!! :)

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