Today I ought to hit 80,000 words on the rewrite of Mermaid's Madness. The 3rd rewrite, for those keeping score at home. This is pretty good, considering I started over again on May 14. Unfortunately, it's not good enough.
Another week of writing should see this draft finished, at which point I get to go through it one more time, a process I expect to take a few more weeks to do right. My deadline is exactly one month away, so this is still doable.
Problem: My family is going up to the U.P. for vacation starting tomorrow.
Solution: I will probably be staying at home and going up early next week.
In other words, about half of my vacation is now going to be spent alone in the house, fixing this book. This was actually my wife's suggestion. She's been amazingly supportive about all of the extra work I've been putting in during the evenings and on weekends to get this book done.
I've struggled with writing before. I've talked some about the depression and the emotional ups and downs. But I think this is the first time I've resented being a writer. I've been frustrating at not being able to spend more time with the kids in the evenings lately, but usually I can still take some time to play and roughhouse and such. This is different. I've been away for conventions and such before, but this is our vacation, and I'm missing more than one or two nights.
It's been suggested I just tell my editor I'm going to blow the deadline, and ask for an extension. That's ... not something I'm willing to do at this point. I understand authors miss deadlines sometimes. However, I've started to build a reputation as someone who's reliable about getting things done and in on time, and I prefer not to damage that reputation if I don't have to. There's also the fact that pushing back deadlines probably means pushing back the rest of the schedule, and I'm at the point in my career where I'm working (a little desperately) to build an audience. Delaying books is not going to help that.
It's always a choice, thus the subject line*. I don't have to like the alternatives, but I still recognize it's a choice. Even as I was struggling to make the choice, I kept thinking about the next book, which is due August 1 of 2009 ... once again, right after our July 4 U.P. trip. The whole situation has me thinking a lot harder about what I will and won't sacrifice for the writing career. (Boundaries that grow harder to set now that the writing career is paying a significant portion of the bills ... sigh.)
Please note that I'm not asking for advice here. But y'all had damn well better like these books. That's all I'm saying :-P
*There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, for the handful of readers who aren't familiar with Heinlein.