A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde technique of dealing with deadlines

So this week the question posed is: deadlines – how do you deal with them?

In word: badly.

This is an artistic interpretation of Normal Me. (Yes, I am playing fast and loose with the term ‘artistic’. Go with me here.)Featured image

1 BRAIN: Nothing but sunshine. I can’t wait to get started on this book/edit. All I can see is potential.

2 HAIR: Sleek, be-fringed and highlighted. Worthy of slow-motion swooshing.

3 SKIN: Clear from regular skincare routine, fresh air, sleep and multiple glasses of water.

4 MOUTH: Smiling. Used for talking to loved ones about the things in which they are interested. Sometimes employed for singing For the First Time in Forever whilst waltzing round the house cradling ducklings.

5 SPINE: Straight.

6 HANDS: Used for useful things like stroking cats, cooking meals and hanging up laundry.

7 BODY: Passable. Fuelled by three meals a day all of which contain fruit and/or vegetables.

8 PHONE: Used for communicating with the outside world, perhaps arranging lunches/drinks with friends or gossiping with family.

9 LEGS: Capable(ish) of running once or twice a week. Maybe even swimming.

10 CLOTHES: Clean.

The problem with Normal Me is that she’s not very productive (unless you count procrastinating as a life goal, in which case she’s excellent). She is the person who agrees to a deadline, writes it in her diary and then starts reading her new Harry Potter editions.

The person who gets the work done is not Normal Me, who reigns for about 75% of the period leading up to the deadline. It’s the person who takes charge in the remaining 25%: Deadline Me and the only way she could be considered normal is if you are comparing her to a particularly savage orc…

deadline me

1 BRAIN: Filled with clouds of self/book loathing. Convinced all words written in the last 24 hours have made the book worse. Forgotten the meaning of the word potential.

2 HAIR: Out of control. Would happily shave the lot off if I could spare the time.

3 SKIN: Spotty. A delicate shade of purple under the eyes from 2am writing sprints and 7am wake-up calls. Probably not helped by having subbed in wine for water.

4 MOUTH: Set into a permanent grimace. Capable only of talking about myself, which is fine, because I never see my loved ones anyway.

5 SPINE: Closely resembles a question mark.

6 HANDS: No longer hands… more like claws. Right hand is locked into rigid pen-holding pose and the left into mouse-clicky finger. Typing now achieved by mashing face into keyboard since this is less painful.

7 BODY: A swollen doughy mass used only for propping up a bowl of popcorn and an open bar of Dairy Milk whilst lying slumped on the sofa re-reading my manuscript for the millionth time.

8  PHONE: Used for ringing Domino’s pizza.

9 LEGS: Muscles have atrophied from lack of use.

10 CLOTHES: What are clothes? These are pyjamas…

She may smell like a year-old packet of Parmesan, sound like Gordon Ramsay performing a Talking Heads monologue and look like the lovechild of Mrs Twit and the Pillsbury Doughboy, but Deadline Non is the only way I know how to cope with a deadline. I pray that the other Allsorts have found a better way of dealing with them than me…

Non Pratt


Non PrattNon has written a book called TROUBLE published by Walker Books in the UK, and Simon and Schuster in the US. Her next novel REMIX is about two best friends who go to a music festival to get over their exes and comes out in June. Hopefully she will have returned to normal by that point.

About Non

Author of teen novels, TROUBLE, REMIX, TRUTH OR DARE and novella UNBOXED.

5 comments on “The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde technique of dealing with deadlines

  1. Janet Edwards
    January 5, 2015

    I suffer from having everything carefully scheduled so it should just work (actually the schedule is a scrawled list on a crumpled piece of paper), then either an unexpected and urgent job appears, or I discover what I’d forgotten to put on the schedule, and it all dissolves into total chaos.

    I also have the problem that there are some very tiny jobs that would take normal people five minutes, which I find psychologically hard, so I put them off for ages.

  2. Non
    January 6, 2015

    I wish I knew how to schedule – Normal Non doesn’t even bother with that!

  3. Helen
    January 6, 2015

    Thank you for making me laugh. I fear that I’m permanently stuck as “deadline Helen” and my hair and spine may never recover.

  4. Non
    January 8, 2015

    I don’t think there’s any way of recovering a crooked spine. Future archaeologists will identify all today’s writers by their spiral-shaped spines.

  5. Tracy Gardner Beno
    October 12, 2016

    This perfectly sums up the difference between happy, presentable me and the sunlight deprived, hunchbacked, claw-fingered editing me.
    Also, I am reading REMIX and I love it so much! TROUBLE is next. Oh, the joy of discovering a great author!

Comments are closed.


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