Thursday, May 17, 2012

Emma Lee-Potter - One Thing I've Learnt

I never dreamed I’d say this but the main lesson I’ve learned over the years is that I love deadlines. Whether it’s a news story in 20 minutes flat or a novella in a month, writing is so much easier if you have one.

My first real experience of deadlines came when I worked as a news reporter for the Evening Standard. I’d just arrived in London from a sleepy weekly newspaper in Devon (where the most exciting thing that ever happened was the council’s planning meeting) and I nearly fell off my chair in shock when my boss sent me out of the office at seven a.m. with instructions to file my story from the other side of London by nine. I didn’t even have a mobile phone, so I wasted loads of time hunting for a phone box. But my story was in the paper by noon.

A couple of months ago a publisher asked me to write a novella. “When do you need it by?” I asked. “Four weeks,” he replied. The eye-wateringly tight deadline sealed the deal and made me get cracking immediately. And yes, I delivered my novella, Olympic Flames, bang on time.

As for other lessons I’ve learned, here are a few more:

If you want to do something, just do it (well, within reason).
Trust your instincts.
Think big, work hard and laugh lots.

Emma’s new ebook, Olympic Flames, is out now. Showjumper Mimi Carter is desperate to win an Olympic gold medal at London 2012. But as injury threatens and an enigmatic old flame arrives back on the scene, can she put her feelings to one side and realise her dream?


Liz Harris said...

An interesting slant on deadlines, Emma. I shall try to get into a more positive mode about the one that's hanging above my head like the Sword of Damacles.

All good points to heed.

Liz x

liz fenwick said...

Liz - I'm with you there...positive not dreadline...


Jenny Haddon said...

Having written a book with a 6 week guillotine last year, I think I agree with Emma. (14 weeks from proposal to book-in-the-hand! Still can't quite believe it.)

A fierce deadline burns away all the tiffle time. No agonised redrafting of yesterday, just get on the horse and gallop.And no time to worry about mixed meatphors, either.

Look forward to reading your novella, Emma, as well as Liz's Cornish House.

Emma Lee-Potter said...

I'm so glad everyone so far agrees about deadlines. I don't think I could write anything without one!

liz fenwick said...

Jenny - I am still in awe at what you accomplished in such a short time!!!

Emma - I always set myself one even when I didn't have one - good practice now that they are real...


Jacqui@FrenchVillageDiaries said...

I am only a blogger, but did help out a local magazine editor when she asked for a 500 word piece to fill a gap. Magazine was going to printers at 17h and she mailed me at lunchtime, I loved it and she now lets me write for her every month.

liz fenwick said...

Jacqui - that is so cool! Well done :-)


Daydream Believer said...

Couldn't agree more - although my writing deadllines have always been academic assignments or course work up to now. Oh, except blogs for friends, usually on mindfulness. Deadlines and mindfulness work together because of the 'being in the moment' which could be focus or concentration. Nice blogspot Liz, and nice blog Emma.

liz fenwick said...

Daydream Believer...mindfulness, yes, they do go together. Thanks for visiting :-)