Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Deadline Brain...It's a Real Thing, People! by Anna J Stewart

Ask most people who know me and they'll confirm that I'm usually ahead of schedule. For everything. Meeting someone for a movie? I'm there a half hour early. Going to someone's for dinner? Yeah, expect me to arrive first. Planning promotion for books or buying plane tickets to national conference? I drive certain people (ahem, Cari) nuts by buying plane tickets months in advance. Christmas shopping? Done by October. Birthday present wrapping? Pfffth. Weeks ahead of schedule.

At least that was the case. Because now, I have discovered that I suffer from a terminal case of Deadline Brain.  Come on, people, you know what I'm talking about. It's when you're closing in on your due date for the manuscript that is literally fighting with you to the point of a mental breakdown and tiny holes start appearing in your brain--I call this the mind sieve--and all the important things you're supposed to do or take care of literally fall out of your head.

Case in point: May 24th. Two weeks ago. I've got a book due June 1st (turned it in a day early, yay!). I'm at the computer about 8 hours a day, the story still isn't coming together and at 7 p.m., Tuesday night when I sit down to decompress, I get a text message from a high school friend who now works for a movie studio. The same friend who...got me tickets to an advance screening for fans for Wonder Woman (those of you who know me know how I'm obsessed with this character and this movie).

The text reads: will I see you tonight?
Me: *blinks* What? Tonight? It's next week, right?
Her: Um, nope. Starts in a half an hour. Are you coming?
Me: *sobs* No (because, let's face it, at this point I can't think enough to operate my car). I thought it was next week!

Can I tell you how long I've waited to see this movie? Let's round off and say forty years--ever since I started jumping off the kindergarten bench and spinning in circles for my own costume to appear. Curse you, Deadline Brain!

Happily enough, there was another advance screening on the 30th, so I got into that one (whew!). You can read my reaction to it here. Suffice it to say...I was not disappointed. Also, I'd like to be an Amazon, please.


And yet, even after the book is turned in, the brain takes far too long to recuperate. Last week was my birthday. I throw myself a party with 2 of my best friends and my Godmother--I do this every year. Every year. Normally I plan the menu weeks in advance. This year? A week. Maybe. Get the gifts? Um, thank God for Amazon Prime. Wrap the presents....arugh!! An hour before arrival time and I'm ready to chuck the Scotch Tape dispenser across the room--those teeny teeth hurt! Thirty minutes to spare. What the heck?!

Which brings me to this blog. A blog I've had on my calendar for the past three months. The blog that I've had a neon pink stickie reminder on my computer screen to remind me. And when am I writing this? Oh, about twelve hours before it's due.

Okay, I want my brain back. Although, I have to admit, it was working brilliantly as I finished up my fourth Butterfly Harbor book. This one will be Lori and Matt's story and let me tell you, these two gave me fits! It wasn't until I was almost done that I figured out what was missing (ahem, conflict) and what Lori's emotional wound was (thanks, Melinda Curtis for hammering the need for one of those into my head). It wasn't the story I had planned originally but then when do any of our stories really work out the way they're planned. Or maybe that's just me.

So...I'm off deadline. Kinda. I have a novella to tackle, but I'm looking forward to spending another June in Christmas Town. And I'm gearing up for the third Butterfly Harbor book's release, A DAD FOR CHARLIE (how adorable is this cover?!)

I call this my Parent Trap book because I really got to play with the whole matchmaking child trope and let me tell you, Charlie Cooper and her BFF Simon definitely manage to get themselves into trouble. You can pre-order your copy today, just hop over to my website for your preferred format. It'll hit e-readers on August 1st (and will be in print August 8th). 

So now maybe I can breathe a little? We'll see. I get to write Calliope's book next and something tells me Butterfly Harbor's farmer in residence is about to run into some trouble of her own. But at least she doesn't have Deadline Brain, which we all know, isn't for sissies.

Happy reading, Heartwarmers.

And if you're feeling sharey (hey, that's a word--kinda), let me know in the comments what you've forgotten to do recently! Misery loves company!

Cheers,
~Anna J


USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). When she's not writing, you can find her at fan conventions or at her local movie theater. Visit her online at www.authorannastewart.com to read more about her books and her content editing service for authors.

24 comments:

  1. Whatever struggles you go through, Anna (and I am sorry for that), I am so glad you keep delivering those manuscripts that turn into your wonderful books. I love, LOVE the cover of A Dad for Charlie, and I know the book will be fantastic!!

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    1. Hey, Kate! I love the cover, too--and I'm not normally a fan of close-up faces, LOL. And while there are definite struggles in life, this one ain't so bad . Thanks for posting!

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  2. Anna, too funny! The most important thing is that you got that book turned in, and early I might add. And it kinda sounds like you've been suffering more from what my oldest sister calls "being late for being early." (Something I dislike as well.) You missing Wonder Woman was really sad, though. So glad you got another chance. Your article about the movie was very convincing - you've got me all excited to see it, too!

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    1. It's so awesome--I've seen in twice so far and am going a third time soon (once one of my BFFs is back in town). Late for being early. Yep--I like that!

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  3. Oh my...I have been there. When I wanted to be a writer full time I never imagined I'd have to struggle with deadline brain, but it is a real thing! Thankfully, I've learned to decompress before starting the next project. I can't complain when I'm doing what I love!
    Great book cover!!!

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    1. Right? How is it we have more time to write and yet it seems like less? LOL. Good problem to have tho for sure. :) Thanks for posting, Tara!

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  4. You are sooo funny, no matter how your brain's working! I'm running on the other brain now, the one you have when you're writing a Christmas story in June. It doesn't work very well, either. :-)

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    1. Heading into that mode right now...I have character names and a general premise. Easy peasy, right?! Not. LOL Happy writing!

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  5. I loved this post and can totally relate! My family teases me mercilessly because, while the three of them are much more laid back, I like to be at all appointments early and social engagements right on time. The four of us always strike for a compromise, but not without a lot of complaining or teasing. As to deadline brain ......aaaargh!! Thanks for a fun start to the day, Anna, and looking forward to that book. Great cover.

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    1. Hey, Janice! So glad I'm not alone! Even being on time seems like being late to me, LOL. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. I'd say you're doing pretty good. Churning out those books while still handling other matters is no easy task. We're bound to forget sometimes. That cover IS adorable.
    What have I forgotten to do recently? Hmmm..,I just remembered I need to get my food into the slow cooker!! Almost forgot. Thx for reminding me. ( :

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    1. LOL. Ah....the slow cooker! I LOVE mine!

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  7. Oh, do I understand books and deadlines and memory lapses LOL

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  8. Oh, yeah. Too much for one brain to keep track of. I've been there many times. I do love that cover. Charlie and Simon are two of my favorite characters, so I can't wait to read this one.

    Oh, and Laurie, thanks for the prompt. I need to start the pulled pork in the slow cooker as well.

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    1. Hope they don't disappoint, Beth! But they're so much fun to write, LOL. Might have to think of a Butterfly Harbor the next generation series...lots of kids turning up in town.

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  9. I'm happy to hear you didn't miss out on that advanced screening, Anna. Stress can do some strange things to the brain. If I didn't write every thing down in my Day Planner, I'd never survive a day job outside the home and writing books. Great cover! I can't wait to read A DAD FOR CHARLIE.

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    1. Hey, Jill! Dayplanner. That's a good idea! Just have to remember to write in it

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    1. It. Was. Awesome. Well worth the lifetime wait, LOL

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  11. Deadlines are such a headache One day I'll manage to get there with no hassle

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    1. One day we all will, Eleanor! Happy writing!

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  12. Don't know how this happened, but two replies have been lost to cyberspace. So, once again, I'll simply say that I've admired your books and your career for years!

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  13. What a terrific and fun post, Anna! I empathize with your "What? It's tonight!" experiences. I wish I could blame advancing age, but I've been this way my whole life. LOVE the cover for A Dad for Charlie, and can't wait to dig into the story!

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