I'm actually caught up right now. Well, mostly. I mean, I have a bunch of partially done projects, but I don't owe them to anyone, so they don't count when it comes to being behind or whatever. So yay. :)
I had a deadline on the 23rd (for a fic fest) and one on the 24th (for the Torquere Advent promotion) and both are done. I was actually about 40 minutes late with the first one, but the moderators said it wasn't a big deal, for which I'm grateful. And the second one was a bit late but only on a technicality. I mean, when someone says something's due on the 24th, then right before then they say they're going to be out of the office doing, like, holiday stuff until the 26th, I think I'm justified in giving myself two more days of leeway, you know? [duck] So I got it in today, about six hours ago, and hopefully that's cool and everyone who needs to like it will like it. It's a short sequel to "Chasing Fear" called "Catching Courage," about the same two characters.
And that's it. That's everything I owed to anyone in the near future. Next deadline is... I think a little over a week into January (I'd have to look at my calendar) for my next Romancing the Blog column, but I wouldn't want to write it this far in advance anyway; one never knows when some hot topic is going to go sweeping through the industry the day before your column's due, you know? :) And if not, I have a couple of ideas anyway, so that's cool.
But I don't owe anyone any fiction right now. It feels kind of loose and drifting, but at the same time it's like the world is full of potential. Everything I see or hear or read is a story idea and I could sit down and write about absolutely anything.
Often that kind of freedom is a bad thing; if I have to produce X number of words by Monday, being able to write about "anything" can give me a case of paralysis. You know, when your eyes go big and round and unfocused, and you're looking at such a huge chunk of the world that it seems impossible to focus in on any one bit of it? That's bad, and frustrating. I wrote some really putrid (to say nothing of horribly boring) compositions in high school when the teacher told us we could write about "Oh, anything!" :P
But right now I don't have that Monday deadline. Not needing to produce a finished product at any particular point means I really can write about anything, and if it starts to suck five pages in, it doesn't matter. I can start it over, approaching the same idea from another angle, or I can completely trash it and grab a new idea and try something completely different. It doesn't matter and that means I'm free to dabble and experiment and do something weird or different or just interesting. And that's cool.
Mind you, too much of this kind of freedom can also mean I never get around to finishing anything; having definite goals is a good thing, most of the time. But every now and then it's great to be able to just kick back -- to go web surfing, or read whatever I want, or play a computer game, or go browsing through story scraps and ideas from years ago -- and do whatever. Plenty of time to get all serious and focused and efficient later.
Have a great Rest Of The Year, everyone! Don't work too hard. :D