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I Hate Deadlines

Published 30th July, 2019 in MRP Guest Blogger

Today is my last post as the guest blogger for Margaret River Press for the month of July. In five weeks I’ve managed to meet one deadline (I think) and even then it was a few hours late (sorry!).

It’s not just book stuff either. I’ve always struggled with deadlines. I’m that person who knows about something for months in advance and then scrambles the day before to get it done. And I always get pissed at myself for leaving it to the last minute, but still I do it every time.

At school and university when it came to exams I was a total crammer—why take the time to absorb information in a reasoned fashion when you can hype yourself up on energy drinks and chocolate and stay up all night before the exam? I’d pour information into the machine in the hopes that the next day I could simply regurgitate it again. And if I’m being honest (and more than a tad conceited) it worked.

Earlier in the year I said I’d build a Tardis for a mate’s wedding. I had months to do it and literally stayed up half the night the day before finishing it. I think the paint was still wet when I dropped it off at the venue.

At work I’m forever getting green notices from the Court that the Entry for Trial Milestone is going to expire if I don’t get my shit together.

The very loose deadline imposed by my publisher on the book I am yet to finish, was August 2018… yep.

And I don’t know what I have against deadlines. I hate being late—to the extent I am almost always uncomfortably early to everything. I’m organised to the degree that I have multiple synched calendars even if my colleagues regularly liken my office to a demolition site. I’m a self-confessed ‘people pleaser’, I want to meet the deadlines so why can’t I?

And I think I know the answer—well at least with respect to my book. I had my entire life to write my first book, there was no deadline other than a loose notion that I wanted to be published by the time I was 35. Now I have deadlines, both real and imagined. My writing isn’t simply my creative outlet that might one day be good enough to be published. It’s my… career! And when I do finish this book, there will be another deadline. And another (fingers crossed).

Douglas Adams said, ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’

And look, it’s not untrue. For me it’s like waiting for the tube in London. You hear that faint rumbling in the distance and you know the train is coming. You take a step back before the wall of warm air, scented with fumes and dirt engulfs the platform. But instead of getting on the train, I watch as it leaves without me, reassured by the fact there is another train in ten minutes.

But the reality is, one day I’m sure the trains will stop coming in and I will be left standing on the platform with my half-finished manuscript, with only myself to blame for missing the final deadline.

Read Alicia’s previous posts with us, ‘Sometimes Writers Don’t’, ‘The Place I Began’‘Goodreads, my Gateway Drug’, and ‘Get a Sticker’.

Alicia Tuckerman is a driving force for young LGBT voices within Australia. Raised in rural NSW before she left home at the age of sixteen, she accepted a position to study at the Hunter School of Performing Arts. Described as having an overactive imagination as a child, she recalls writing stories her entire life. Alicia attributes surviving her teenage years to the comfort, release and escape writing offered and she hopes to inspire the next generation of readers and writers to embrace their true passions. Alicia’s debut novel If I Tell You, explores the joys, triumphs and cruelties of modern day adolescence.

We publish high-end literary fiction, crime and the best short stories currently being written in Australia.

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