Rushing to Meet the Deadline
BACKGROUND: I have my first book launch coming up soon and am scrambling to finish all tasks to complete the book in time for the deadline. Big learning curve as this is all new to me. I am not running this race as an individual. It is a relay race, where you pass the baton to other members of the team, as you all move as fast and efficiently as possible. The team consists of all the professionals necessary to bring a book to the marketplace. On my team we have the author (me), writing coach, graphic artist, cover designer, copyeditor, interior formatter, proofreader and publisher. But in this relay race there are also big potholes that might magically appear on the track. You try to avoid those. If you fall into one, you can only climb out by fixing some glitch in the creation of the final book. This might not be so bad if I had more time, but I do not. These past two weeks I feel like I am working in an emergency room, on alert for the next call by someone on the team yelling, “code red.” A recent pothole was seven days lost when an assistant formatter worked on the wrong version of the manuscript.
PROBLEM: How do I keep my sanity and avoid humiliation if the project is not ready on time?
SOLUTION: Keep my feet on the ground, stay focused, be alert, stay on task, take breaks for self-care, breathe, get support when overwhelmed, and remain hopeful for a positive outcome. I find this hard given all the pressure, but once in awhile I remind myself to just stay in the present, smile and enjoy the process as much as possible. As for humiliation, if I miss the deadline, I can call all the people I invited to the launch party and tell them that the book is not ready yet.
In terms of the pothole of the week (working on the wrong version of the manuscript), we scrambled to address that and it looks like we are back on track, and I am so relieved. I saw on FB that another author, who is in the same race to finish her book in time for this (group) book launch, was praising her whole team, which made me feel like I alone had team issues. So I wrote to her and she admitted, “No, I have had problems with my team too, for example my cover designer disappeared. Don't despair. It is always this way at the end. We are in the messy soup.” Unlike me, she has run this race before. I found this reassuring and supportive. I feel calmer now. I realize as we turn the corner for the final lap, we will either make it to the finish line in time, or not. All I can do is keep running while the race clock is on, look out for potholes and avoid drowning in the messy soup.
TIP: “A fixed deadline and a flexible scope are the crucial combination.” – Jason Freid
QUOTE: “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
My book, Communication Breakthrough, How Using Brain Science and Listening to Body Cues can Transform Your Relationships WILL be available SOON. vincentiaschroeterphd.com