...when I go completely bonkers and drive a Hummer through the crowds in a shopping mall or tell the pilot of a flight I'm on to take me to Cuba, it'll be a day like today.
I got no work done although I really, really wanted to.
Instead, I spent the day not talking to people who owe me money and talking to people to whom I owe money.
Aside from the normal the-check's-a-few-days-late situation I've faced with every client I've ever worked with, I hit a slow period recently. Part of that was me not wanting to write, but more was due to editors having enough stories in stock to fill their magazines and not being interested in discussing more.
And some clients simply pay when they feel like it, which could (should) have been yesterday or might be in January. So completed work has not brought me money.
The result is that the coffers emptied out too fast, and nothing has come in to refill them.
There are few things more stressful for me than telling people I can't pay them on time. Beyond the worry that they will take action against me (which they might be justified in doing), it's just not something I seem able to do with any grace. I feel as if I'm begging, and that guts me.
After all, I'm essentially promising them that people who aren't paying me will do so by a certain date, and I don't always have the world's highest level of confidence in claiming that.
What I do, and how I do it, my financial up- and down-cycles, should not be of any concern to these people, and yet I had to explain to them that not every business -- publishing being the one I'm concerned with -- is run in businesslike ways. I also had to explain the odd concepts of payment-on-publication and payment-by-the-word or -by-the-page, which barely make sense to me, let alone to people outside the publishing field.
It was torture. Embarrassing, too.
And it has killed the rest of the day for me. I can't work now, don't want to work.
So I'll sit here, in hopes either the mail or telephone will bring some nice surprises (hah!) and start the whole sorry routine over again on Monday.
This is what I get for not having gotten a real job back in the days when they were offered....
8 hours ago