AKA When deadlines loom over you a psychopath in a horror film
I’ve been asked several times this year about the release of Cold Steele. It’s been over a year in the making, but not by choice. Everyone who has read previous blogs I’ve posted here knows of my shoulder surgery, setback and subsequent second surgery. It’s only since Sept-Nov time frame that my shoulder feels like part of my body again. That was a long time in doctors offices, physical therapy and a lot of mental toughness. It was also… my entire deadline with my marketing team.
If you don’t know already, I work with Julie Smith and her team at BooksBNimble. They truly are a wonderful staff of hard-working writers, marketers and all around gracious people. I signed an agreement with them when Breaking Steele was released. It was a no brainer to me really. I could use a team to help me move my career forward while I worked to write and hone my craft. Our agreement set aside a timeframe for the fourth book to be released. I signed it and gave my word it would happen within that set schedule.
A simple mathematical equation in my head gives me the dread in my stomach every day. I am WELL beyond my due date. If my fourth book was a pregnancy, the doctors would have induced me months ago. It’s been so very difficult for me because I hold my word as my bond. In all of my years, integrity has always been the essence of who I am. It is the only real collateral I have and cherish. Failing someone when I said I would complete a task – was morally and psychologically damning.
I wrote, dictated, screamed at my screen – all trying to get the story done. At one point, I begged for Word to just write the book itself. I was burnt out and forcing characters to do things that felt wrong. I tried to change the setting, ideas, essence of who I created – all off kilter. I had a deadline. That’s all I kept thinking about. Like a red light above an intersection in the middle of the night when no one is around. You want to go, but in the back of your mind you know it’s the wrong thing to do. I still can’t get myself to break the rules of the road let alone speed – so, how could I do this to my creations? How could I do this to you, my faithful readers?
I couldn’t. I swallowed my pride, emailed the team and informed them I failed. Her reply was simple – just write and don’t worry. The red light switched to green and I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I started writing how I wanted to, deleted everything previously (and what hadn’t been lost when my hard drive failed) and did it my way. The story flowed much easier than before and the book currently sits with my editor. I’m working on a new book in the meantime.
Life handed me a ton of challenges, delays, computer failures and more to stop me from completing my mission. The more I pushed back, fought and screamed – the more I lost ground. It took me a long time to take a step back, focus on healing and let go of these expectations I physically couldn’t meet. I’m better for it. It’s the same for everyone outside of these small computer screens. We all face hardships, some created and some out of our control. We have to handle it, whether we are prepared for it or not.
One thing I know without a shadow of a doubt, don’t give up on your tasks or desires or dreams. Just take a breath, figure out where your head really is and move forward. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have been able to get passed it without Julie and my wife. We all need some people around us for a push now and again. It helps to have a team in your corner. Just remember, you’ve got someone like me backing you up. I want you to succeed in this world – in whatever capacity that is. I have faith in you.