Thursday, December 28, 2006

Nothin', nada, nix, gournisht... what I got today.

The editor involved in yesterday's debacle got back to me today, and we discussed ways to push back his production schedule to get the delayed story in the issue he (and I) want it in. What it all boils down to is this: if the photographs can be taken by a date that may be possible, we'll make it. Now I have to report back to the person who called for the delay and see if I can push him along a bit.

This will make it harder on me. I'll have to gather the information in bits and pieces to have the story done before the photo session. I don't like writing stories in small chunks to be stitched together at the last moment. Real writers can do that, I'm told.

Nonetheless, I'll do it. And this was the best news I've had all day.

When you get right down to cases, it was the only news I've had today.

That ain't good.

I'm still floating around aimlessly. Sometimes -- this is one of them -- I need an anchor. But since my "anchor" jumped ship* many months ago, I feel like the little fuzzy critter in a "Wack-a-Mole" game, waiting for that hammer to pound me back into whatever hole I dare pop my head out of.

When you're alone, the highs are never as high, and the lows are beyond description. And there is no good escape from what's inside your head.

* this may be the dumbest mixed metaphor I've ever used. I'm kinda proud of it.


Anonymous said...

Lucky devil, you Scribbling ole git. The chance to chuck something together at the last moment - sheer bliss.

Truthfully, blind panic and the fear of failure are the (only) two things that really motivate me. If I look at what I have to get done, and say there's an article that is going to take three days to research and write - why (I constantly ask myself and swear it will never happen again and that I will reform) do I fart about and it ends up that I have less than two days to get three days work done? It's been going on for so many years that the answer must be the amazing buzz I get when I pull the fat out of the fire, against all the odds. It's a drug to me and I recognise I'm a complete junkie for it.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you just said except that it was in a great big hurry! :)

Hope you can give the guy the nudge.

Plus, I like the dumbest mixed metaphor, makes me feel right at home here.


lowandslow said...

Way to go, Scribbs. Sounds like you're gonna make it happen. :)

MrScribbler said...

J-J, you've revealed my secret, you ink-stained wretch, you. If we had taken the pictures on the 3rd and I had done the rest on the 4th as planned, I could have sat around twiddling my thumbs until the night of the 14th (it was due on the 15th) before starting the full-panic writing marathon!

I was the same way in school. It's amazing I made it past third grade.

Anonymous said...

The most memorable and absolutely extreme bit of blind panic I have ever had (and belive me I've lots) was many years ago. I was freelancing and I had to write something quite complex in three different versions for three different industries (it was a piece of scientific equipment - a chemical/blood analyser) plus company backgrounder, plus other stuff. I told the client it would take two weeks to put it all together. I was really busy at the time so I came back from the meeting, chucked everything in the filing cabinet, meaning to make a start on it at the weekend, and got on with other blind panic stuff that was more pressing right then.

About 10 days later I got a call from the company and they asked how it was going. I had completely forgotten about the job and immediately thought, "Shit, I better make a start on that." But, what do you say to an anxious new client looking for reassurance that all is going to plan and that we are going to hit the schedule for the European launch of his very expensive product?

"Yes, it's all come together nicely," I purred, brimming with assurance and confidence. "I think you'll like it. I've just got a few minor tweaks and a thorough proof read to do," thinking we'd then make an appointment for three days hence and I could actually get the bloody work done.

"Fantastic. I'm in Germany but I'll be at Heathrow Airport this afternoon. Can we meet so I can see it. And don't worry if you don't have time to do the final tweaks and proof read before we meet. I'm just anxious to see how it is shaping up."

I threw the whole bloody lot together in less than four hours and drove to Heathrow in great trepidation. We sat in the VIP lounge while the client read it. My heart was thumping. I was expecting him to fall about laughing or physically assault me at any moment at what he was reading.

When he'd read everything, he fixed me with a look of almost reverence and said, "I can see you've really put the time in on this. It's brilliant."

I have never before, or since, earned $6,000 for four hours work. And since I'm extremely honest, I felt really rotten and a crook for charging them what I had originally quoted - but I couldn't tell them the truth, now could I?

Ink-stained wretch does indeed describe me.


MrScribbler said...

J-J -- I've used the "just putting a few final tweaks" line myself a time or two. Or ten.

In fact, I did it a few days ago when I had 2000 words due and had yet to so much as look at the half-page of notes I'd taken. By the end of the day, I had a story delivered that got me several congratulatory emails from the magazine.

(Not that they paid me more, or even more quickly, but what the heck....)

My "championship" story goes back to college. I took a course in art history and blithely forgot all about the term paper until the day before it was due.

Fortunately, a friend remembered discussing it with me months before, and remembered the subject I chose.

So I went to the library about 5:00 that afternoon, yanked out every book with the artist's name in the index, and sat down to work.

Next day, I turned in a 20-page paper (typed not done on a computer, with no errors allowed) plus footnotes and bibliography.

And received an "A" for it.

likeisaid said...

I'm glad you finally got some good news! There's more to come. :)