I can tell you all about writing avoidance, ducking deadlines a specialty. Years spent working my arse off building creds lead to the point I’m at now, largely taking for granted review books still flowing in unabated, despite my sharp fall-off in actual production.
Ding dong! Another package, toss it on the pile. Trip over it for a month, open it, exclaim oh, cool! Throw it back down.
Someone out there believes I have the talent and influence to matter; that’s not always enough to keep me going. Is it my depressive tendencies – oddly well-controlled of late – keeping me glued to the sofa, curtains closed, Netflix blathering away while I doze and wake on the sofa?
TV: Are you still watching Stranger Things?
ME: DON’T JUDGE ME! Claws around for remote, hits OK, rolls back over.
I’m out today, in public at a charming local coffeeshop, sitting next to me an uncorrected proof of a novel shipped to me in Scotland. Its publication date in October, it’s not as if I’ve let months slip past, but I was in a position to review it pre-pub and let that deadline slip right on by.
When you review pre-pub, very occasionally you can score a cover blurb, or at least an advertising quote. I’ve seen my name on jackets, bookmarks and promotional posters. It kicks ass.
But it takes effort. E-F-F-O-R-T: something I’ve avoided with great success most of my life.
I’m fortunate to work for publications with fluid submission dates. I can lazily toss over a review of a book a month after publication and fear no retribution. As long as the piece is well-written, all’s write with the world.
Write with the world. SNICKER.
(It’s abundantly clear why editors are still willing to work with me.)
I’m not exonnerated from having such a lax approach toward deadlines by grace of kind editors. In the case of this review piece it may be fine, but my creative writing sits and simmers from months to years. I could have had a novel finished in the time I’ve spent lolling on the sofa – at the least, a solid first draft of one of the four or five half-hearted stabs at fiction flopped on the sofa that is my hard drive, digging around for the remote in a Property Brothers coma, giving up on me long ago.
Applaud me that I’m working today, but don’t give me a pass. Don’t encourage me, no matter how charmingly rumpled. The sofa pattern in relief on my cheek is no substitute for a big chunk of manuscript that hits the table with a THUNK.
I WANT A THUNK. I WANT IT SO BAD.
Deep down in my heart of hearts, I do.
I don’t know a single writer without avoidance issues, though a few are disgustingly disciplined compared to me. I smile to their faces, but give them the finger behind their backs. Goddamn you.
I’m petty. It’s a failing. But I’m not alone. One time I read a piece written by a braggy writer crowing about how she’s up at 5, goes for a 500-mile run then home for a nutritious breakfast of real foods that grow in the ground and not a laboratory, showing up at her computer writing – not so much as checking her effing email WHAT KIND OF MONSTER DOES THAT – around the time I’m generally rolling over, reaching my arm back to give my alarm the finger – pretty much the only stretching I do all day.
Though in a national publication any freelancer would sell their best friend to write for, it had NO COMMENTS.
Every other writer in the world effectively gave her the finger by virtue of shunning. No one wanted to give her the satisfaction of either praising her industry or admitting themselves incapable of such revolting dedication.
Take that, bitch.
Today, I pat myself on the back. I’m producing. I don’t expect to get as much done every day as I have today, but striving for a modicum of effort beyond zero is no bad goal.
Atta girl, Lisa. Way to earn that ass on the sofa time.
TV: Why aren’t you still watching Stranger Things?
Not today, temptress. Not today.