Day of Reckoning – Editor’s Comments Due Today

Today’s the day I’m supposed to hear back from my editor about my manuscript.  Have been looking forward to this day with intense excitement and dread for 3 weeks now.

Not sure what time I’ll hear from editor, so have been sitting at my desk with eyes glued to Gmail tab for over 3 hours already.  Every time the number of unread emails listed on the tab jumps from “253” to “254” (yes, I realize that’s a lot of unread emails and I should be better about deleting SPAM from my inbox), I think, “Oh, God. It’s here!”  Quickly click on Gmail tab, only to be simultaneously disappointed and relieved that it’s just another email from one of the gazillion job sites I signed up for (out of panic due to writer’s block) sending me news of more “opportunities” to work for the man.  DELETE.

Downstairs dog providing his usual soundtrack of anguished yelps and howls.  Except today, his sounds of suffering playing in the background is actually a pretty good reflection of my own emotional state.  Started thinking that maybe he hasn’t been suffering the anal probes of aliens all this time, but has actually been reaching out to commiserate with his anguished neighbor upstairs.  Decided to —

254!  254!  254!!  OH GOD!  IT’S HERE! Continue reading

Stop Distracting Me, Mitt Romney!

The day has been full of constant distractions.  Been up since 8 a.m. toiling away to fulfill dreams of becoming a successful (read: “able to pay her rent with book proceeds”) writer.  Yet, efforts have been foiled time and time again by unwanted distractions.

Have no choice but to lodge an official complaint against the following perpetrators, and will follow up with legal action if distraction continues.  Distractors be warned…

Distraction #1:  Presidential Race

Dear Candidates of the 2012 Presidential Race (GOP candidates in particular),

Please stop saying and doing things that require the rest of us to take time out of our day to ridicule you.  It is very distracting, not to mention time-consuming.  The sheer volume of ridicule-worthy behavior you put out there, though admirable in terms of both productivity and hilarity, only adds to our already full plates. Continue reading

Is Your Pantry Armageddon-ready?

Was about to go to bed last night when a thunderstorm started outside.  A thunderstorm in the middle of January?!

Thought, “Oh Lordy, it’s Armageddon.”

Whenever there’s any weather anomaly, that’s my first automatic thought.  Have Al Gore to thank for that.  After all, if it weren’t for Al Gore’s efforts to terrorize the world with his global warming charts and monotone warnings about melting polar ice caps, I might still have rational thoughts about the causes of weird weather.  (News flash, Al — ice melts.  That’s what ice does.  You can’t claim to discover that fact AND the internet, too.  That’s just greedy.)

Out of morbid curiosity, decided to inspect my pantry to gauge how long I could survive on its contents, in case the thunder and lightning were, in fact, signs that the 4 Horsemen were answering Al Gore’s call.  Contents of pantry (largely condiments and canned tomatoes) failed to promise more than a few days of survival.  Disappointing.

Bag of dog food sitting at far end of kitchen floor caught my eye.  (Yes, I’m going there.)  Suddenly found myself wondering how long I could survive on 10 lbs of dog food when one of my dogs trotted into the kitchen.  He looked at me, then looked at his bag of dog food, then eyed me with suspicion.  I shrugged and said: “Survival of the fittest, Duncan.  It’s nature’s law, not mine.” Continue reading

Countdown: 5 Days til “The Moment of Truth”

Some of you have asked about the countdown calendar on the right side panel of my blog page and what it’s all about.  It is a countdown to the day my editor will get back to me with her comments on my manuscript.  Needless to say, I am excited, nervous, and scared all at once.  (99% scared. 0.5% nervous. 0.5% excited.)

Been having nightmares about what her feedback will be.  Recently, I dreamed that I got my manuscript back in the mail with a single Post-It on the front, displaying the only comment my editor had:  “I don’t get it” (with a big frowny-face drawn next to it.)  Other nightmares have produced such comments as:  “I know this was your 7th draft, but as they say in publishing, ‘8th time’s a charm’!” and “Your mother was right — law is a much more practical career choice.”  And my personal favorite:  “This sucked harder than Snooki on spring break.”  Ouch.

Though I had initially intended for the countdown to be a self-motivator, I realized as soon as I put the widget on my panel that this could end up being a big mistake.  After all, there’s enough pressure in trying to break into the enviable business of being a mid-list author who lives paycheck to paycheck, peddling her stories to anyone in need of something better to read on their morning train commute than the free copy of RedEye.  Do I really need the additional pressure of blundering through the process in front of my friends, family, acquaintances, former co-workers and classmates, and the 948,204 people connected to me through them (according to FB)?  And, of course, at the heart of that question lies another question almost too scary to even ask: “What if, in the end, I fail?”  For someone who in grade school used to hide any less-than-perfect grades on homework from her parents by flushing them down the toilet, that’s a scary thought. Continue reading

Writer’s Block

Have a theory about that state of mind in which a writer is at a total loss for words, when her characters seem to have all conspired to take a simultaneous vow of silence, when the pen opts out of forming useful words for drawing useless doodles around the edges of the page — that horrible condition called WRITER’S BLOCK.

Before my first real experience with writer’s block, I had assumed that the term referred to a sort of mental barrier that makes it harder for writers to say what they’re trying to say on the page.  However, having grappled with the demon of all demons that is writer’s block several times now, I am convinced that my former assumption was wrong.

In fact, it is called “writer’s block” because it makes you wish for a big block against which to hit your head until the words tumble out of your ear, or until you’ve lost consciousness — whichever comes fist.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m in the midst of a bout with writer’s block.  Since the big block I ordered off Amazon has yet to be delivered (struggling writer status required “Free Super-Saver Shipping” option), I am forced to try other methods to exorcise this word-eating demon. Continue reading

Journaling

Have started keeping journals, as have been told all good writers should.  Have attempted to keep journals since college but usually only got as far as buying a journal book every year or so.  Now have an embarrassingly large collection of journal books, most of which are entirely blank.

Now that I’m determined to be a writer, made my usual New Year’s resolution to keep a journal (except this year, I’m really gonna do it. Swear to God.)

Decided to make up for lost journaling time by keeping several journals at once: 1) a One-Line-A-Day journal where I sum up the day in one line, 2) a regular journal where I write about the day at length, 3) and a sketch diary where I record the day’s impressions, emotions, events, etc. by way of illustration.  I thought: Huzzah – on my way to be the best journaling-ist, ever!  (or at least, the most thorough.) Continue reading

Mission: Procrastination

It’s 2 p.m.  Been up since 7:30 a.m.  Wow – that’s a lot of awake-hours already.  What have I accomplished today?

Should first temper rising guilt and anxiety due to suspicion that I have not been as productive as I could have been by reducing number of Awake-hours by number of Not-Writing-But-Doing-Other-Necessary-Essential-Tasks-Of-Daily-Living-hours:

Total Awake-hours = 6.5

Breakdown of Total NWBDONETODL-hours =

(Drank 3 cups of coffee to wake up while watching a re-run of Jersey Shore –> 0.75 hours (did not watch the full episode cuz had seen it before and already knew the ending))

+ (Took dogs out –> 0.25 hours)

+ (Fed dogs –> 0.03 hours)

+ (Calculated the decimal portion of an hour for the 2 minutes it took me to feed the dogs –> 0.03 hours)

+ (Caught up with friend on IM –> 1.0 hours (mostly talked about various revenge scenes for men who had scorned us in the past, but part of discussion was about book project, so only fair to deduct that portion from this total and add it to the productive-time total) –> 0.75 hours)

+ (Finished episode of Jersey Shore, as it was a good one and I needed a chuckle to ease bitterness roused by discussion about bad boyfriends who deserved being revenged-upon –> 0.25 hours)

+ (Sat down to write.  In need of inspiration, looked outside window.  Trusty writer‘s manual says: “Nature = Inspiration.”  Noticed it was snowing.  Checked forecast to see if there will be 2 or more inches of snow, in which case I’d need to move my car to another street.  Weatherman on local news channel said “1-2 inches of snow accumulation.”  Which one will it be, weatherman??  ONE or TWO?  Do i need to move my car or not?   Just tell me and stop with your coy estimation game!  Mentally added local news weatherman to list of people to portray in unflattering parody in book.  Mental note reminded me that I should be writing my book.  Sat down to write, but then heard what sounded like snow plows outside and got paranoid.  Ran outside to see if car was still in its spot, fearing it had been towed, and prepared to throw self in tow truck’s path to prevent $250 tow fee.  Car still there – phew!  Ran back inside.  But now cold, and bottom of pants are wet.  Changed pants.  Probably shouldn’t be in my pajamas at 2 p.m. anyway, but isn’t that supposed to be one of the great perks of being a writer?  Sneezed twice in a row.  Will probably catch pneumonia now.  Mentally added local news weatherman to list of men to victimize in scorned-woman-revenge scene for forcing me to wear day clothes despite my writer’s-right to wear p.j.’s while I work, not to mention causing my imminent death due to pneumonia –> 0.5 hours)

+ (Searched various job sites for jobs to apply to in case this writing thing doesn’t work out –> 1.5 hours) Continue reading