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8 February 2008 ·

the whooshing sound of deadlines

Douglas Adams said it best: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

When I first started writing, I never ever heard that whoosh. In fact I think it took me about 15 years to graduate to stretching out that promised delivery date, but I’m glad to say I’ve now got the technique down pat.

The most important tip is to wake up at 3 am worrying about it so you are too tired to work in the morning.

The second is one I haven’t ever experimented with before: set a deadline to coincide with publicity for a film, and sprinkle media interviews liberally through your writing time. The only problem with this one is that you can’t complain about it, because a) most interviews are fun, and b) it’s normally very difficult for children’s writers to get any publicity, so it’s best to enjoy it while it lasts!

However, there comes a time when the excuses all run out… a draft of my new story is now with my publisher.


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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio