Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I've been a good boy today...

...even though it was neither fun nor 100% easy.

I owe one editor four articles by the end of next week. The first was more-or-less finished yesterday, and was shipped today after a half-hour or so of touch-up editing. The second was begun this morning and will, if my just-brewed pot of tea does its work, get done some time tonight.

This one is a real pain. It requires constant reference to the research material I've gathered, as every paragraph has some name, date, technical description or location that must be exactly right. There's very little imaginative writing in it, but much attention paid to making it interesting to the reader.

I also arranged an interview I have to do for the third article, which in any case I can't begin until Friday because I don't have everything else I need as yet. It is the shortest in word-count and has the most space for my opinions.

The fourth will be my weekend project.

All that should earn me a gold star slapped on my forehead, right? I mean, 7500-plus high-class words ought to keep the magazine happy....

But I'm paying the price for my recent determination to be more optimistic about the future and the need for me to work my tuchus off to get there.

I still get body-slammed when people do things to take the wind out of my sails. Had three of those come up today, and it took an exhausting amount of self-cheerleading to get back on track. A note from the same editor telling me to give photographer D. the photo assignment for the next story -- a task I planned to take on myself, primarily for the money (which I need) and because I am as good a shooter as he is (if not better), not to mention the fact that bringing him in makes me a hostage to his schedule -- was not exactly thrilling. I like D., he's a friend, but I've spent more than a little time rehabilitating his image with a couple of editors -- he tends to get sloppy too often -- and sometimes I would rather take the direct approach and shoot what I want to see on the magazine pages. It was an order, though, and I must abide by it.

The empty-mailbox syndrome continued. By now, it takes virtually all of my vocabulary of foul language to get me from the box back up to my pad. Just to make it more biting, one of my most unpleasant former clients has taken to sending me mailing-list subscription offers, three of which showed up today. The nicest thing I can say is that I never read magazines in my field unless they are (a) old enough to have research value or (b) have my articles in them, and I do not subscribe; I expect free copies.

Finally, I got no good distractions today. There are only one or two that matter; apparently the Distraction Department is closed for a while.

I've put in roughly 15 hours at this desk today, and have three or four more to go. My back aches. My eyes are tired. My brain is turning into something remarkably like Wheatena.

A couple of lines from the great old song "Spring is Here" keep rattling through my head:

No desire, no ambition leads me
Maybe it's because nobody needs me

Except, that is, for editors and creditors, who both need to extract as much from me as they can.

Sometimes, this "positive attitude" stuff can be a real hassle, buckaroos.

But I ain't quitting. As long as I have hope of eventual rewards and the favored kind of distractions....


Japee said...

Wow. You've been busy. Don't know ho you do it, writing away in solitary confinement. Keep the spirits up though, I am determined this will be a better year.

John said...

Anyway to make D a hostage to your schedule?
Good luck with it. That's a large body of work in a short time.