Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thoughts on Deadlines as Offered by My Father

So my father was made aware this morning that I am struggling. Struggling like nobody's business to meet this deadline for Poison Crown: The Smallman's Heir. A deadline which I have to meet in order to meet the subsequent deadline for Poison Crown: The House of Lights, another deadline which I have to meet in order to meet the deadline for the next project, and the project after that, and the project after that, and so forth.

I love deadlines. I mean, I hate them too, but boy do I love them. They motivate me, and I usually meet them. It's a rare, rare day that I don't. So the fact that I have kept missing deadlines for Poison Crown--which was supposed to be finished before Christmas, and then before the end of March, and then before the end of May--has been very hard to take. Hard on my pride. Hard on my inspiration. Hard on my motivation, even.

So, as I said above, my father--a former military fighter pilot, who knows a thing or two about pressure--heard about this struggle, and he offered three separate interesting thoughts. Not advice, per se. My father doesn't like to give advice. He has phobia against it. Just thoughts. They are as follows:

"Flexibility is the key to strategic air power."

"The Normandy Invasion was scheduled for 1943."

"Remember the Challenger."

 The first one is an United States Air Force mantra. Bearing in mind that the United States boasts the proudest and most powerful air force in the world, it's interesting to note their emphasis on flexibility. Not one of my own personal strong suits in my constant bid to meet the next deadline.

The second one refers, of course, to the Normandy Invasion of 1944. The most famous invasion of WWII and one of the most important. Interesting to note the difference between the scheduled date and the actual date. The point being--don't launch until you're prepared.

Which leads us to that third statement of my father's: "Remember the Challenger."

In 1986 (only a few months before I was born), NASA pushed to meet a deadline--the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. A deadline they felt they could not afford to miss, considering all the people involved in the project, all the money already spent, all the livelihoods invested, all the resources expended, etc. etc. So they did everything in their power to meet that deadline, no matter what, no matter the setbacks. And meet it they did.

And they destroyed the shuttle and lost the lives of all seven crew members.

Will my pushing to meet a deadline result in death and destruction? No. Will my putting off my deadline until I can reasonably meet it result in the end of a World War? Not so much.

Still, I found this rather useful food for thought. So if you should hear me going about my day whispering, "Flexibility is the key to strategic air power," don't worry!

I'm just thinking . . .

The release date of Poison Crown: The Smallman's Heir remains forthcoming.


Unknown said...

I know you've been stressed, but I didn't realize it was so bad. I love the novel=Normandy metaphor. You are not your deadlines. Sometimes it's fun to stomp all over them because they aren't worth it; it's about the novel, not the deadline. Hope things improve.

Tracey Dyck said...

Some good food for thought here. :)

And you have at least one Imp that doesn't mind flexible deadlines, because she knows that whatever happens will be for the good of the book (and the dear author!). Don't stress too much over it! Some projects are just massive and obstinate and take time.

Hannah said...

Your father's advice is gold! We Imps will patiently wait until Poison Crown is good and ready!

Jenelle Leanne said...

It is very encouraging to hear that you sometimes miss a deadline, too. :) With all the writing, editing, contest-judging, and marketing you are doing on a constant basis, you were starting to look a little like Wonder Woman with a pen (okay, but "keyboard" just doesn't sound as dramatic). :)

We'll wait. Some of us even patiently (some of us who will remain nameless ahem, ahem, who haven't managed to find time yet to read Golden Daughter, and actually appreciate the moment or two you're offering for us to get caught up!) :)

Your dad's pieces of non-advice are awesome.

Becky said...

Such a blessing to have a wise and loving father who will share such powerful thoughts. I didn't know that flexibility was the key to air power, but I do know its the key to not breaking. Deadlines are more or less guidelines really (yikes! I hear Barbossa in there somewhere), a most excellent tool, but God's timing is better. Imps, young and old, know how diligent you are at your craft. Your work is always worth the wait. Take care and God bless you, Anne Elisabeth.

Unknown said...

I agree with everyone who has gone before me--take your time, Anne Elisabeth! :) The best things are worth waiting for! <3

Hannah said...

Dragons must be very flexible, as pointed out by my brother. ;)

Meredith said...

Your father sounds like a very wise man. I also have to constantly remind myself of the verse in 2 Peter that talks of how a day to the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. It's so hard to wait on His timing, but He knows what's best. Jesus often acted slower than people thought He should. How well I can relate to the frustration of wanting something when I want it. I'm horrible at rushing things, and it's a constant battle I have with myself.

And, my parents talk about Challenger sometimes. They saw the live coverage on television the day it happened. I also have a friend who knew the teacher who was on the shuttle.

Like all the other imps, I am praying for you and definitely want you to not buckle under the stress. All your projects never cease to boggle my mind, and I most assuredly feel that your health and sanity are the most important things. God will give you the grace to do what He has in mind.

Thank you for your candor. This was a beautiful and heartfelt post. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Definitely take your time, Anne Elisabeth Stengl. All of us readers still love your books, and we have no doubt that Poison Crown will be fabulous. I think your father is very wise to offer these thoughts about deadlines. I've felt something similar before. I really want to be published before I'm an adult, but that's a very strict deadline to write by, and I have had to come to terms that I should aim to get published when my writing is ready, and not by a certain age. Thanks for this inspiring post!

Becky said...

Adding to Hannah's comment, "Dragons must be very flexible.":

So must the knights who slay them.