This morning began at 5AM on two hours of sleep. I spent last night editing until 3AM when my eyes crossed, and I fell asleep with a finger on a keyboard. One letter repeated for three pages. Thank God I woke up when I did.
Why get up at such an un-Godly hour with only two hours of sleep?
I had received a request yesterday from a good publisher for
one of my manuscripts. They wanted it ASAP, so I set my bedside alarm on
rooster time to get up early. Then, I returned to editing and became so engrossed
in another story that I lost track of time until my run-in with the “s” key at
three in the morning.
This is my real life as a writer.
Obsessed, focused, meeting deadlines—always jumping through hoops, most of
which are self-imposed deadlines. But, that is how I managed to complete
four manuscripts in the past year.
is a marathon, not a sprint. Gut checks, milestones to measure progress and
sheer willpower combine over time toward one goal . . . the book. I started this day exhausted but forced myself to chug along the road toward that distant finish line. I was on a literary mission and ran headlong into "the wall" in my literary marathon.
One of those gut-checks came as I franticly printed,
collated and prepared that special manuscript for the waiting editor. I record such character-testing
experiences in my “Life Lessons” diary and you might get a kick out of my notes for today:
Life lesson # 3439: While printing a 425page manuscript for
an acquisition editor, do NOT eat leftover pepperoni pizza. Greasy fingerprints
screw up one’s professional image. Messed up several pages. Must reprint.
Life lesson # 3440: Dachshunds are great pets until you set a
pepperoni-stained manuscript on the couch while washing hands. Dachshund
tongues ERASE ink-jet print as they franticly lick pepperoni oil off paper. (Am
I the only writer who did not know that?)
Life lesson # 3441: After discovering 420+ pages of the manuscript
spread randomly across the living room floor, put Dachshunds outside
immediately. Delay results in paper-trained puppies living up to their
training. Yes, one piddled on the scattered manuscript. “Life, I've enjoyed
enough of your lessons today. Please go educate someone else! Thank you, D.”
If you ever thought it would be “fun” to be a writer, you’re right. Euphoria at
completing a full novel rivals any other high I have enjoyed. Perhaps the prize
in the writing marathon is made all the sweeter by overcoming obstacles. What other choice do we have? It is the authors that grind out the marathon who reach
the finish line. Bring on the next hill! I love the challenge, even if I
have to reprint fifty pages.
Tip: It helps for a writer to keep a sense of humor.