I hear that sound too much lately, mostly in my own head. The sound of time sliding by one tick at a time, while anxiety and too many shinies take precedence.
It’s early morning…early early morning. I have 45 minutes before I have to get ready for work, so I want to be productive and start the day with some wordage. I pull up my current manuscript in progress, and stare at the last sentence. Yanno…that same one I stared at the night before. It didn’t change. Gremlins didn’t park themselves all cozy on my couch, pull the blanket up that the old lady dog pulled down, and work magic on my story overnight. They also, by the way, did not clean the bathroom, wipe down the kitchen, or run a load of laundry, but I think they might have had a frat party in my daughter’s room. Damn lazy gremlins.
So anyway, that sentence is still there, and the cursor is blinking at me, waiting for brilliant inspiration. Inspiration that clearly hasn’t awakened yet, so I take a swallow of coffee and click over to Twitter for a minute. Just a minute. Just to see what the other coffee-swilling-half-awake people are doing.
I see that my agent was up at 3:30 in the morning, spouting brilliance and retweeting important information. I marvel that anyone thinks that clearly at that time of–um–day. Oh, and there’s a friend of mine who debuted a few months before me, linking to her perfectly organized blog and those of fifty of her closest friends, before she sits down to write all day and knock out ten books this year. Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top. But she’s awesome and my hero, seriously. I want to be a writer like her. So I click over to her website and check out her latest updates, notice a great idea that I want to incorporate on my site. Actually, I saw this same idea done on another author’s site the other day, so I go there as well. Yep, there it is. I like how she’s done it a little better, so I make a note of how I could tweak it to fit me, and then go to my own website.
My first reaction is the familiar one of disgust, as there are so many things I need to update. It’s Wednesday and I didn’t get a chance to pre-write and post anything the night before, because I was taking my daughter to get the oil changed in her car and then stopping to get greasy fried chicken for dinner to comfort myself over the speeding ticket I got on the way home from work…but that’s yesterday’s drama, so I get back to my website. I check the clock, and grimace that twenty minutes have passed, and I really don’t have time to deal with the updates right now. I’ll do that tonight, when I get home, after I’ve cooked something–which is a good question–what am I cooking tonight? My daughter has an appointment, and– Anyway. I’ll write the post real quick when I get to work, and post it from my phone over lunch. Yeah–there will be time for that.
So I click back over to the manuscript. There is a good scene going, so why can’t I see what’s next? Why am I stuck with these two people talking at a table, it should be funny, it should flow. Why aren’t they working with me? Maybe I’ll go back and read a little. Or work on the first pass pages from my November release, that my publisher sent me. No, that’s a long-term duty, and I only have–I look at the clock on the side table–fifteen more minutes.
I click back over to Twitter, and see someone’s link to their Facebook page, which I click on, knowing in the back of my mind I shouldn’t. It’s another author friend, talking about getting ready for RWA National Conference, which is in a week, and I’m going too. I read about her preparation, and think about my own scarce wardrobe and what I’m bringing for my signing table, and wonder if it is enough. I wonder if I should hook up with other authors and do something fun for the Literacy Signing. I wonder if I should do a newsletter drawing. I wonder if my crazy local airport will keep from screwing up my luggage. I think about the promo items in my closet and wonder how I’m going to get all that packed in with my clothes so it isn’t a nightmare at the airport. I make a mental note to add some things to my ever growing RWA list of things to do, and then remember that I really wanted to have a certain word count done on this manuscript before having breakfast with my editor at the conference next Friday.
Deep sigh. I click back over to my manuscript. I type in a sentence, then backspace it away. I type in a different sentence, and hit Save. Because I’ve looked at the clock again, and I have three minutes left.
Time to get ready for the day job. I’ll go pour another cup of coffee. It will be better tonight. After whatever I cook and laundry and pulling out those promo items. The words will be there tonight.
Tracy Solheim says
I so feel your pain right now. I am right there with you except I am turning resentful and ugly about all the other distractions of my day. It’s a wonder my family doesn’t send me packing. Which may be my subliminal intent. I’d love a week–or two–tucked away somewhere with no distractions to write. 🙂 Have fun at Nationals!
Sharla Lovelace says
Me too! I’d love a solitary retreat…no internet! That would be amazing!
Lorrie Thomson says
This sounds like a When You Give A Mouse A Cookie picture book for adult authors. When you give an author twenty minutes, a cup of coffee, and access to the internet…
Sharla Lovelace says
LOL you’re right, Lorrie, it totally sounds like that!! Feels like that, too. 🙂
Sheila Seabrook says
There’s definitely too many distractions out there, Sharla, and when we’re feeling down about our sucky manuscript — or just sometimes out sucky selves — it makes focusing even harder. Next week will be better. The words will come together into brilliant sentences that will make you smile. Hang in there.
Sharla Lovelace says
I’m counting on your wise words, Sheila!!! LOL
sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches. says
These days – the stress mounts over items I didn’t know existed even five years ago. But in the end – I have your marvelous novels to read and sucky sentences you fix become joyous streams of laughter and character development to enjoy. Sharla, you also give us hope through your own perseverance as a writer and what you accomplish while working, juggling family life, and living in this wild and crazy world we are all a part of.
Sharla Lovelace says
Thank you, Sheri!!