I’m blogging today from hell. Deadline hell, that is. For those of you who are not writers, let me explain what deadline hell is.
It’s that place where they serve no food but cold pizza, Hot Pockets, and Red Bull.
It’s warm here. It should be smokin’ hot (it is hell, after all, and I do write romance) but I feel cold due to my overwhelming sense of panic.
The devil’s here, too, that snake. He’s slithering around, whispering wonderful things like, “That is the stupidest sentence you’ve ever written,” and asking helpful questions like, “Does she have to feel tingles up and down her spine again?”
When I’m in deadline hell, I always wonder how I got here, but thinking it over, I realize that plenty of good intentions pave the road to deadline hell. “Today I am going to get up at five a.m. and start work,” and, “I won’t stop until I’ve got twenty pages,” and, “I will not play Spider or Bookworm today,” are several that come to mind.
There is a way out of deadline hell, though, and that way is to finish the $%#*& book. It seems impossible and I whine and cry about how impossible it is and how haaaaaard it is, and my boyfriend pats me on the head with a skeptical, “Uh-huh,” and sends me back into the pit for another round with the serpents. When I proclaim that I can’t do it, and that this is the hardest book I’ve ever done, he laughs. Demonically. I’m not kidding, people. That man has no compassion.
I decided to blog about deadline hell today, not only because I am there, but also because my characters are there, too. I am just finishing up a book about writers. WITH SEDUCTION IN MIND is the 4th book in the Girl-Bachelor Chronicles and tells the story of Daisy Merrick, fresh-faced wanna-be who decides to become a writer because she can’t keep any other sort of job, and her hero, Sebastian Grant, a cynical literary legend who’s burned out, washed up, and in the throes of writer’s block.
When I started this book, ‘lo these many months ago, it seemed like it would be a piece of angel food cake. I mean, the how-to books are always telling writers to write what we know. So I did, and it’s been the hardest book I’ve ever written. (I can hear you saying skeptically, “Uh-huh,” just like my boyfriend, but I am serious, people). Explaining writers in a way that makes us sympathetic without being crazy or whiny is really hard. The reason, of course, is that we are all crazy and whiny. And because we have no time for romance. This is the part my boyfriend agrees with, since he had to drag me out of the house (AKA: deadline hell) last Valentine’s Day.
Deadline hell is full of fear, and it is not rational fear. My rational mind knows that I can finish my book because I’ve done that very thing fourteen times before, and I have the books with my name on ‘em to prove it. But my writer mind is always afraid that this time, I won’t be able to do it. This time, I’ll mess up. Deadline hell is where I had my first writer’s block, first panic attack, and seventeen-hundredth chocolate brownie (in a week). But I keep coming back here, and I don’t know why. I never intend to end up in deadline hell, and every time I arrive, I think, “Wait. How did I get here?” My mom says it’s because I secretly love deadline hell. That I get the same thrill out of this that I get out of black diamond runs at the ski resort. That I do this with every book because I like the thrill and the drama. She says I’m an adrenaline junkie. My mom, though, is crazy. She also says I write my best stuff down here. Sheesh.
What about you? Do you do your best work in panic mode? Or do you cave under too much stress? Are you one of those people who thrives on impossible odds or do you always makes sure to get the work done on time without any increase in blood pressure? Are you an adrenaline junkie, addicted to dangerous roads? Or are you a plan, ahead, look at a map, choose the safe route, sort of person?
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