The thoughts and work of Sam Witt

Camp NaNoWriMo – Go Big – Day 22


“But, Sam, you promised us frequent updates and it’s been a weeeeeeeek…”, says the crowd.

“Well, children, then let’s just cut to the moral of today’s story: Whatever plan you make, the world will try to break.”

Secondary moral: You’re only human, and if you push yourself too hard, your body will remind you of that sad fact.

Here’s a little recap of things around Casa de Sam for the past week.

Day 16: Oh, shit. Guess who worked until midnight at ye olde day jobbe? This guy.

Day 17: I need to edit this book. I also need to spend some time with my family before they hang me up by my toes and beat me like Pinata Daddy. Dinner turns into a trip to the bookstore turns into  . . .

Day 18: I’m sick. No, I can’t be sick. I can get out of bed, I know I can. Or not.

Day 19: Shit. I’m really sick. I think I can still do some editing if I take enough pseudoephedrine and mainline some coffee.

Day 20: Cannot lift my head from the pillow. Snot everywhere. My ears are filled with my own bodily fluids. I think I’m even peeing snot. I beg the betas to read my semi-edited draft. They save my life by doing so.

Day 21: I have risen from the grave to finish the edits and get the second novella off to my editor.

Day 22: Hey, look at that, I’m almost entirely human again! Approved the kickass proofs for the book cover (more on that later).

This was damn near the week that derailed this project in spectacular fashion. The combination of a heavy writing load + an unexpected day job deadline had me burning the candle at both ends. I didn’t drink enough water, didn’t get enough sleep, and my body crashed as a result. I’m feeling better now, but I had to ration my energy in measured doses for those three days. This is a lesson I really need to keep in mind when I’m grinding words. Learn from my mistakes, young padawan, lest you fall victim to your own hubris.


The good news is that thanks to the heroic efforts of my live-in betas, I was able to get the second novella off to The Editor without undue delay. I now have the first novella back in my hands for final clean-up (and then another round of edits), and will have the second novella back for its polish just in time to round this whole thing up.

But–if I hadn’t hit this project at a dead run, I never would have finished it on time. The fact that I went down after I’d done most of the heavy lifting let me recover from the skid without hitting the wall. When you have aggressive deadlines, the time to do the hard work is at the beginning, when your energy is high and your enthusiasm will help you tackle tough problems without getting down in the dumps.

There’s still some work left to do, but all the hard stuff is done. Unless The Editor finds something horrifying in Novella #2, I’m pretty sure I’m going to finish a few days early.

Fingers crossed!

About Sam

I am the author of the popular Pitchfork County series of horror novels. I also write a newsletter with great reading suggestions and free fiction.