Aug 21, 2013

After the Deadline... Annie West

As I write this I'm existing in that rare state that authors so look forward to, known as 'after the deadline'. I handed a book in just recently after an enormous push to finish that's left me feeling a bit zombie-like. No blood around the mouth but I'm feeling unco-ordinated and I find it easier to groan than make rational conversation. I suspect my brain may have gone on holiday for a short time, but that's fine because I'm 'after the deadline'. Yippee!
What to do after deadline #1: celebrate!

I remember the days when I dreamed of being a published writer. Obviously (because it was a lovely daydream) I focused on the good things. Tossing off a few chapters before lunch with friends, opening glowing letters from fans and editors, reaping in royalties, research in exotic locations, you know the sort of thing. What I didn't think about was the reality of delivering a book, make that several books a year at a time that suits your publisher.
I'm not complaining. I love being a published author and the positives are fantastic, but I've learned that the deadline cave is a place I'd prefer not to be in. Give me the wide open spaces, the sense of freedom, the creaky movement in limbs that have cramped from too long sitting at the computer. Give me 'after the deadline'.
What to do after deadline #2: treat yourself to goodies.
I'm finding that this time, 'after the deadline' is not quite as relaxed as I'd hoped. Life at the moment is full of demands - some things I put off till that magic 'after the deadline' time and some that have crept up on me and just cannot be ignored.
So, while I'm sorting out these things that need attention, I'm planning what I'll do to make the most of this down time as soon as the coast is clear.
First up comes celebrating. Any achievement deserves celebration and finishing a book is a fine excuse to treat yourself whether it be with bubbly, high tea, a visit to a day spa, a shopping outing with mates, or a visit to the movies. Maybe it's a serve of churros and hot chocolate or a long leisurely brunch with friends.
What to do after deadline #3 - exercise - you need it after the treats and all that sitting.
After being tied to the computer while writing, my body is definitely stiff and sort. I need to get moving again. I've tried to keep fit while writing but facing a deadline the exercise wanes. Even if you have an exercise regime most of the time, getting out and breathing fresh air is a must.
What else? I'm tossing up between a reading a squillion of the unread books on my shelves or a marathon DVD session with 'North and South' and Richard Armitage. Sigh - books or Richard? Maybe both!
What to do after deadline #4: read!
And of course, how could I forget? Coming out to blink at the family and get reacquainted with them is always a good thing! After all, they've put up with you while you've been immersed in that other world and if you're lucky they'll do it again when you dive into the next book.
How about you? Do you have any suggestions on what to do 'after the deadline'? What do you most look forward to when you've finished a big job and finally have some time to breathe?
(Note, I'm away from my computer today but will be back as soon as I can to chat).


  1. Congrats, Annie, and I hope you have a wonderful "day off", away from the computer!
    I tend to read a book in my bath tub, preferably with bubble bath, but always with epsom salts. (Life is full of maintenance after 45 or so years of age....)

  2. Love your post, Annie. Life after deadline goes a bit flat for me. It's like who stole the momentum of getting those words done. I don't have a set routine of celebration but after seeing your photos I'm on to it. Will practise hard in two weeks time when I make my deadline.

  3. Hi Laney,

    Against the odds, I've discovered a place where I can get computer access for a short time on this trip away. A mixed blessing!

    I love reading in the bath too. Isn't it a treat? I never use epsom salts but bubble bath is a treat. Will have to look into that one. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sue, good luck with your deadline! Hope you don't get that flat feeling afterwards. Actually, I don't have a routine for celebrating either, apart from those lunches. Generally I'm racing around doing all the things I've left undone for far too long, but I'm trying to get better at relaxing and refilling the well. As I type I'm on holidays in Western Australia at a place where someone else is cooking me breakfast - now that's a celebratory treat!

  5. Who is that gorgeous creature you are drinking with in the top photo? Snork!

    Congratulations on making your deadline, Annie. Just at the moment we're having beautiful sunny weather here - I'm looking forward to just sitting in the sun and letting my mind wander where it wants. There's something about a mind free to contemplate the universe away from the work in progress, isn't there?

    Have fun in Western Australia. That's such a beautiful place!

  6. Anna, of course she's gorgeous. Isn't everyone when they celebrate?

    Thanks for the congratulations. It was such a good feeling getting that book in.

    Sunny here too though we're so close to the coast it's changeable. We're enjoying it while we can.

  7. Congrats on hitting your deadline! Always such a great feeling. I know what you mean about feeling flat after, though- it's important to try to plan something you enjoy to fill that gap. I don't have any one thing that I do and I often have a list of put-off jobs to do once that deadline is hit- but I do like a lunch with friends, doing something special with family etc.
    ps. (I vote for Richard... there's no competition!)

  8. Hi Annie, I bet the feeling is a load off the shoulders with lots of fist pump moments! I would suggest going out and doing something fun. Or a treat that becomes an after deadline tradition :) Love the pics you always post with your Blog.

  9. Yay for handing in your book, Annie! And i love all your ways to celebrate - especially that excellent luncheon treat with Anna Campbell!

    Ooo, and I see you're in WA at the moment - where abouts? We've spent some fab time there when we toured on the motorbike. Must go back again! It's such a huge state, so many things to see!

    PS I'm with Louisa - hard to go past Richard Armitage!

  10. Hey Annie

    Congrats on getting that book in - great that you are giving yourself permission to relax - and not dive right into the next one. Charging those creative energies....nice!

    I haven't got a deadline-complete ritual yet - but I must say that high on my list will always be sorting out my desk - now matter how hard I try, by the end of a book/conference/ a few weeks, its groaning under all the paper ... would love to see the wood work - even if just for a while....

    But then, a nice bubble bath with someone else's book is always a good idea... I'm not going to wait till end of deadline for that one... but then a North and South DVD marathon...oh yeah...sigh....

    Enjoy your break!

  11. Louisa, I'm glad to see a vote for Richard. I still haven't managed to watch it since I got the book in, but I figure the trip to WA for the conference is a great excuse. Having a ball here.

    Lunch with friends and doing something special with family sounds wonderful.

  12. Waving hi, Tash. Thanks - so glad you like the pics! That's excellent to hear.

  13. Sharon,

    How did I know you'd vote for Richard too? Sigh.

    We're in the Margaret River region and went to Cape Leeuwin today and then east to some of the big Karri forests which I loved. As you say, it's a big state with so much to see. We're only exploring a tiny corner of it but it's great to be here.

  14. Tina - oh, you've made me feel guilty about clearing my desk. I had plans to tidy before I left for the conference but I was in such a rush... It'll have to be the first job when I get home (after unpacking and washing). Hm, sounds like reading and lounging in the bath is very popular, as is Richard. Maybe I can sneak that in when I get back and before I get stuck into the work again.

    It was lovely seeing you in Fremantle!

  15. Lovely photo of you and Anna, Annie!! Congrats on hitting that deadline!

    After a deadline, it's pure indulgence time for me with big kick of exercise. Indulgence for me is watching lots and lots of DVDs!! So I'd go for Richard Armitage everytime!

  16. Annie, I'm another vote for N&S. I've watched it a number of times after a deadline - it quite conveniently takes up a day, so it's perfect for the Day After. Of course, you'll still need to celebrate, have treats, get some fresh air and read. I vote for everything! :)