Remember a couple of weeks ago when everyone's favorite one-man blog harem stopped by to announce his intentions to pen an entry for our chapter's unpublished writers' contest? Well, wouldn't you know it, Mike's got an update for us! And make no mistake, he's earned the title of High Exalted Procrastinator yet again…
PART III: Contest Edition!
Welcome to a special Procrastinator’s Guide to Writing—Contest Edition! My local RWA chapter holds an annual First Kiss Contest for unpublished writers. I’ve submitted each of the past two years and have yet to final. “How can that be?” you are probably asking yourself, right? The answer could be anything from getting assigned judges who were just having bad days (doubtful), the writing wasn’t up to snuff (likely) but I’m guessing the biggest culprit is that for two years running I’ve waited until the last possible day submissions are accepted to put pen to paper and write the darned things. And surprise, surprise, here we find ourselves at our Third Annual What Do You Mean the Submission Is Due Today? Day.
Some of you might suggest I blow the contest off but that’s just not an option. First of all I committed to entering, and while I am notoriously unreliable in keeping personal deadlines, I’d like to think that when I commit to someone other than myself I come through in most cases. Secondly I am entering because the contest is run by great friend Jennie Brown and it would be criminal of me not to take advantage of the opportunity her hard work (as well as that of the volunteer judges) provides. Third reason for putting myself through this? Because I really, really would like to final one of these times. And yes, I realize it would seem if I really wanted to final so badly I’d put a little more effort into crafting my entry. The issue is that putting that much effort into a single aspect of my book would run counter to my current “just write it and worry about it later” mindset, or at least that’s the justification I’m using, so please just indulge me this one delusion.
Okay, so you’ve been brought up to date. I’m off to work where I’ll brainstorm during the commute and start writing during my lunch break. By then we’ll be down to about twelve hours until the submission deadline having yet to write word one of my entry. Hope the muse has her thinking cap on.
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Deadline—12 hours: Lunchtime at work. Had a co-worker pick up an Italian sub so I wouldn’t have to go out myself and therefore can use the entire thirty minutes writing (hey, you don’t get this kind of inside info in just any blog post). Wish me luck. (BTW, has anyone seen my muse milling about? She was supposed to meet me here ten minutes ago. Lazy good for nothing <inaudible grumbling and questionable cuss words omitted>...
Deadline—9 hours: Operation Lunchtime/Crunchtime Writing session didn’t go as smoothly as planned (I know, who’d have thunk it) as an emergency came up at work that’s kept me busy until now. So as of this minute, Hours Remaining: 9 Words Written: 0
I have to admit I’m not all warm and fuzzy on the productivity front thus far. And on another side note, should I be worried that I found a picture of my muse on the side of my lunchtime milk carton? That can’t be good. Oh well, let’s give this another shot. Well hello blank page...we meet again.
Deadline—3 hours: Better progress on Lunchtime/Crunchtime Take 2. Words were actually written which I’m assuming is an improvement over my earlier attempts of utter failure, so now I have a couple hundred words to get me started. Kids are finished fighting (please let them be finished fighting) and watching a movie. Dinner is ready and a quick TP run to the market (we were down to half a roll) has been crossed off the to do list. Time to get cracking. Down to one hundred and eighty minutes to get this puppy in the Sent Mail folder.
Deadline—2 hours: I’m actually happy with the progress so far. Miss Muse decided to stop by for a visit after all and since I was too focused on deadline to ground her for abandoning me earlier today I let her go about her business and assist in transforming my drab pile of monosyllabic words just the slightest bit more interesting. Had to take a break to put the kiddos to bed. I read them part of the scene and they laughed in all the right places, so that’s got to be a good sign, right? Now back to work.
Deadline—1 hour: Starting to get a tad worried. I think I can tie it all together but I just remembered there’s also an entry form to fill out as well as a set-up page to write. This is going to be tough. Can’t stop now, gotta write...
Deadline passed: Wow, what a wild and crazy three hours that turned out to be. In the end I finished the scene, with a whole seven minutes to complete the entry form and write the overview leading up to the scene. In the end I e-mailed it at the very last minute. Can’t procrastinate any better than that right? Or maybe, “Can’t procrastinate any worse than that” would be more appropriate.
For those of you who enter contests in the future, please let this be a lesson to you. Mark the deadline for the contest on your calendar, then schedule dates for each part of the creation process. First draft, read-through, second draft, read-through, polishing, feedback, and for heaven’s sake make sure you have the paperwork and set-up sheet filled in before the clock’s striking midnight. My heart is still racing.
@MikeMyersWriter. Harass and distract him ad nauseum, because as we know, it's what he loves best.