Sanity is defined differently for each individual. At times, all rational thought goes right out the window when I’m working on a deadline. It’s not sane for me to yell at my family to leave me alone. Nor is it smart to fore-go all other obligations. How do I meet that deadline and keep some sense of mental stability? It’s not easy.
Setting aside time is important, but what’s more vital is quiet, uninterrupted time. Someone will always need something, an urgent matter will always come up. If no one (real person) is bleeding, then I must keep writing.
The first thing I tell my family is I’m on a deadline and that I cannot be interrupted. They respect that. Then I go to my studio out back and close the door. It’s a blessed thing to shut everything and everyone out. When I shut that door, the world becomes mine . . . well, it actually turns out to be my characters’, but that’s what I want.
Now I have my calm space and everyone has been instructed. The problem then is my brain won’t shut off. It seems like the looming deadline recalls to mind all the obligations I have. Fine. That’s okay. They just become my characters’ problems to deal with. Sometimes, that works; other times, not so much. When the characters cannot deal with a situation similar to mine, I just create more harrowing ones for them, thus taking my mind off of what I still need to do after I’ve met my deadline.
Immersion is good. When I’m able to block out outside influences, I can submerge my psyche into the story at hand. Sometimes (most times), it’s a matter of rewriting and editing that has me walking closest to the missed deadline.
I think the most important thing for me to do is to try and remember that if a deadline is missed, it’s not the end of the world. The earth will still rotate and others will keep breathing and smiling, even amidst my quiet terror. Which, by the way, if I miss a deadline, my panic happens to be very vocal!