Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sense of Humor - Writers Need It!

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.

Writing 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.


  1. Love your life lessons. I'm sure you didn't think they were funny at the time but when I first saw your post on FB it gave me quite a chuckle. Glad you have such a great sense of humor.

    1. Hi Susan,

      What else can you do with a catastrophe? Humor seems the most constructive choice to me. Besides, those little dogs were wagging tails and jumping all over the mess thinking it was great fun. Hard to get mad at them for being so happy.

      Thanks for commenting...Dean.

  2. Dogs do keep life interesting. :)

    Yes, sending off a completed manuscript is a big milestone. One of many!

    Good luck with this editor. If he/she is smart they'll offer you a contract.

    1. Hi Terry,

      Dachshunds, in particular, throw their all into food or play.

      I've got good ffeling about this editor. We'll see if my intuition is right.

      Thank you for dropping by...Dean.

  3. No, Dean, you are NOT the only author who discovered the Dachshund ability to trash a manuscript. You can take my word for that!

    Always a pleasure to read your posts! Good luck on the request!

    1. Hi Juliann,

      You're right about Dachshunds. Mine can be loving, snippy, playful, demanding...all manner of character, and they are never boring. Zack even snores when he sleeps!

      Sorry about YOUR manuscript eating experience. Thank God for home computers and buying paper by the case! LOL

      I appreciate you taking time to comment...Dean.


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