Wednesday, April 9, 2014


There is an inverse relationship between an approaching deadline and the ability to write above the level of a 5th grader.

It's simple, really.  Those pesky deadlines are always far off in the distance, nothing but a glimmer on the horizon.  The editor and her needs do not exist.  Every day, every scene I experience sparks a new and original idea for articles or stories that the masses will love.  I am Tolstoy.  I am Fitzgerald.  Ideas flow from me like cool water springing forth from the fertile ground of my mind.

Then, five days before it's due, I get that friendly email reminder from the editor, and ideas evaporate like dew on a summer morning.  I can't articulate a sentence and the fertile ground of my mind is a barren wasteland.  Nothing I think of is interesting, no idea I come up with sounds remotely readable.  My ideas are passé, cliched, and overdone.  My style is weak.   I scramble, I look through old, unused articles.  Maybe I can revamp something, maybe I wrote something months ago that I forgot about.  But the well is dry.

The deadline is now.  The editor sends one more email.  I've got nothing.  Pressure, frantic pressure builds.  I write.  It's horrible.  I rewrite, it's still horrible.  I scrap the whole thing.  I email her asking for one more day.  She grants it and then I waste my time watching reruns of Gilligan's Island.  Mary Ann is hot.

I finally come up with a masterpiece!  No, that's a lie, and not even a convincing lie.  But I send it to her, anyway.  My email is apologetic.  "Sorry this sucks so bad.  Wait, I meant badly!  Or did I?  Oh hell, whatever."

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