I made up that word.

Oh, the life of a freelance writer who’s fitting in these hacked-out words on the exhausted outskirts of her day job. Oh, I wish she was more prolific and had finished at least one of the projects due Monday, but no. It is 6:15 pm Friday as I write this. The morning began by my confusion over the alarm clock (I often think I set the alarm only to find that I have somehow messed up the setting—time off, volume down). Today I apparently thought a.m. was p.m. and in the process set the time a half hour fast. Don’t ask me how. Anyway, I was up. I left the apartment as early as I could manage to write out in public those few hours before work. Got a good desk (it’s a table, a table! I cannot seem to fathom that Starbucks does not provide desks for my own personal usage) after asking a man to please remove his feet from it. Plugged in, man left, open up a window to get started… to find that I don’t have my outline with all the notes on it. You may say: be creative, just go! write! create! And to that I say: the only way I will finish this novel by the October 2 deadline is to follow the outline to a big fat T. Because I’m already five pages over and I’m only doing the scenes I’m supposed to be doing. If I had free rein to go wild and be creative and see where the characters took me I’d be on page 200 and it would only be halfway through the whole book. So. I have no outline. Outline is missing. Where is my outline with all the editors’ notes on it and my own scribbled ideas to fix? What did I do with it? I calmly go through my backpack. No outline. I calmly go through my backpack again. Still no outline. Okay—there is nothing to be done about it now, I told myself. I sure as hell wasn’t walking all the way home with my backpack the size of a small child to see where I left it in the apartment. So I worked on one of the freelance projects due Monday. Then I went to work (taking some moments to search the office for the outline, contemplated asking the editors if they had an extra copy; asked E if he saw it at home, he did not) and proceeded to be swallowed up by work. Hours into the day I learned—haphazardly, off-handedly—that the editorial director had a major edit to my outline. (Yes, the lost outline.) But no one has thought to tell me. Thankfully, the editorial assistant is a good one (I *heart* her) and she gave me heads up so I would know for over the weekend. I agree with the edit anyway (it’s something I queried more than once and was told was fine) so no worries, but listen: I secretly have lost my outline. All the editors’ comments are on there—I don’t even know what they all are yet! (Confession: I only sort of skimmed through their comments.) So I walked around with that panic like when you’ve lost a mitten—but a very, very important mitten—until I decided I had to go back home and find the outline immediately. E didn’t know what it looked like and, besides, he was zombified from a job the night before and an early-morning refrigerator delivery that morning, so I couldn’t call to wake him. (Yes, if I was a more domestic person I would tell you that our fridge broke and now we have a nice new pretty one. It will probably end up only holding water, rice milk, half-used jars of pasta sauce, and old takeout, but it’s a new fridge nonetheless.) Where was I? Okay, I was at work, and in mere minutes I had to leave for a work-lunch with work-people and yet… I would not be able to sit still for those few hours during the lunch if I didn’t know where my outline was! The day could not go on until I found said outline! I told work-people I would meet them for work-lunch at the chosen establishment and booked it home. Walked in, noted how pretty and clean the new fridge was (and what a mega-huge freezer it has) and proceeded to immediately find the outline. It was shoved into a stack of pages it shouldn’t have been among, an action screenplay. So you have this intense fighting scene with guns I wouldn’t know how to describe and—page turn—you learn all about so-and-so’s pretty shoes. It shouldn’t have been there, but there it was. Joy!

I left the work-lunch an hour later than I meant to. I am here at my writing spot now, but I am too tired to make a dent in anything worth denting. I lost the morning. I lost the afternoon. And soon I will lose tonight.

There is always tomorrow. Wish me luck on setting that alarm clock. Please let me remember if the dot means a.m. or p.m.

It’s a.m.

No it’s p.m.

God, I have no idea.

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5 responses to “Furusturation”

  1. LMHO-I think you might be my long-lost twin. You at least can admit your distraction. I so relate to the utter madness you experience. I do hope you get up tomorrow and be extremely productive. I’d let you borrow my extra alarm except my “E” uses it to get up even earlier than me.-Alexa


  2. If it makes you feel any better- I’ve made that mistake while setting the alarm. The one I have right now displays “AM” or “PM” when you set it, so every night, instead of just hitting the button to turn on the alarm function, I basically ‘set’ it without moving th etime up or down. It’s become this strange ritual that I cannot go to sleep without doing (I’ve tried just hitting the button, but then I lie ther eand think about it until I get up and ‘set’ it again).


  3. […] Yes, even writing! I saw a great post showing exactly how frustrating writing can be sometimes. We are not all free spirits; we do need a system, even if that system is unique to every writer. I can completely identify with the writer; although I don’t use an outline for my fiction work (perhaps I should, then I wouldn’t be stuck at page 1) I do need to be systematic about my freelance projects. I need to actually define in the morning what I am doing that day, and if I forget to take a project with me, for some reason I cannot focus on any other ones. I need to work on that I suppose, but I just need a to-do-list to work off of. If I don’t do that I am perpetually scared and nervous about forgetting something or forget about a project (which has happened before!). […]


  4. I can completely relate! I am just climbing out of a one month streak of utter unproductiveness… alarms were set and smacked against the wall, coffee was made, starbucks visited… to no avail. But, thankfully I am snapping out of that in the past two weeks or so. I have to say; the burst of energy you get after being productive feel gooood, so good that it helps me be productive again the next day. So my advice is; get yourself going, and once you get started you will probably be on a roll!


  5. Aha, I’m glad I’m not the only one with this alarm-clock problem and—more—this “utter madness” (so true, ranting2006) of trying to find the time, space, motivation to write. And I agree: the moments after that long-awaited burst of productivity you mention, chriswrites, are—dare I say it—utter perfection. It makes the continued struggle worth it. Most days, anyway… On the worst of the days, it’s so very easy to forget.


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