About Nell, Nell Iris' Christmas

One Week in the Life of a Writer on a Deadline

I’ve been writing a Christmas story for what feels like forever, but I’m still struggling to find time for my writing with the Day Job taking up so much of my time these days. Then suddenly the deadline approached rapidly: Christmas stories needs to be submitted by September 30, full stop. Which, you know, is completely understandable, because no one’s going to move Christmas just because a writer can’t make their deadline, amirite?

For a long time, I didn’t think I’d make the deadline, and I even started considering self-publishing to give myself time. But last Sunday, I said to myself, Stop with the whining, Nell. Millions of authors have a Day Job and manage to find time to write. Make time, princess!

So I did. I needed to write at least 4k words to make the lowest range of the word count, so come Monday morning last week, I packed my notebook and pens in my work bag and got to work.


My train ride to work is 35 minutes, so I claimed a spot in the quiet compartment and unpacked my pens. Yes, pens because everyone knows a self-respecting writer needs more than one fountain pen for a 30-something minute writing session.


I was tired on Tuesday and my headphones and the new Spotify playlist I’d recently made looked very appealing, but I gave myself a stern talking to and wrote more words.


I reached the end of the notebook (but not the story unfortunately) just as the train rolled into my station. It’s almost as though I’d planned it. 😁


On Thursday, I worked from home, so I met up with my morning writing crew before work to transcribe what I’d written on the train. But I needed to work harder, so I sat down in front on the fire after I’d quit working for the day to continue writing. It was lovely and I got a lot done.


I worked from home on Friday, too, and woke up at 4:45 am, before the alarm even went off. But I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I started my writing session at 5:30 instead of 6am. It was pitch black outside my window (yes, there’s a window there behind the computer) and got a lot done. Gawd, I love these morning writing sessions and I miss the good old days when there were no Day Jobs interfering and we did this every day.


My darling granddaughter turned one on Friday, so early Saturday morning we jumped into the car and I had to figure out a way of getting some writing done. So I came up with this mobile office: my shiny new Macbook Pro and a cushioned knee-laptop-tray, and I wrote in the car. I didn’t think it was going to work all that well, but I proved myself wrong. I wrote 2k words in the car and two of them was “The End.”


The day after the big birthday party, I woke up in a hotel bed, and decided To heck with this, I’m writing in bed today. So I spent my morning writing session editing my manuscript one-handed (because my husband wanted to hold my hand in his sleep) before it was time to say goodbye to Ofelia and Ally and go eat hotel breakfast.


Somehow, I’d forgotten one important fact about myself: that I work really well under pressure. So when I decided to just do it, I got it done. I wrote 6k words, finished the story, and as I write this blog post (at 8pm Sunday evening) the story needs a bit more tweaking before it’s ready for betas, but it’ll probably be ready tomorrow. Or Tuesday the latest.

One thing I always told my darling daughter when she grew up was You can do anything if you set your mind to it. I won’t forget it again.

Oh, and the name of the Christmas story I worked so hard on last week is The Santa Emergency.