Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You want it when?

I have a writing deadline. End of October or witches will appear and burn out my eyeballs with hot pokers laced in gin. I have a love/hate relationship with deadlines. If I don’t have one, I tinker and futz around until one day someone says, “Where’s the damn manuscript?”

Oh. You were serious about that?

So then I go into writer overload and begin pulling 12-hour marathons. By 8 at night, my brain is a puddle of goo, and I can barely put a conversation that doesn’t contain a dialog tag – as in, “ ‘Pass me the peas,’ Lynn said while trying to keep her nose out of the mashed potatoes.” Like, who talks like this? Even that annoying Suede from Project Runway, who spoke in the third person, didn’t use dialog tags in his own speech.

My sleeping patters also go haywire when I’m under a deadline. My usual dreams of Antonio Banderas sweeping me off my feet and whisking me away to the Bahamas are replaced with comma splices, voice, pacing, and the occasional witticism.

Sometimes I’m driven to clean. Or order one of my kids to do it. I think it derives from the fact that I need something in my life to contain order and cleanliness because it’s a sure bet my unfinished tome has none of these elements.

But I’m good now, back to writing with fervor and direction. What happened? I ran into a doc who was reading my first book stop. “I am so loving this book!” she cooed. I blink. This is a balls-to-the-wall surgeon, so I’m speechless and let her prattle on. She likes me. She really, really likes me. I bask in my Sally Fields moment before rushing back to my office. I take the phone off the hook and order my kids to make dinner.

Good thing, too, because sitting in my inbox was a threatening letter from my distributor demanding the cover design, tip sheets, and, oh yes, the damned book. Guess they have nothing on those witches…

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