June 19, 2006

600 words

It's begun: deadline hell. No contract is signed, no publishing decision made, but it's close enough that I know I've got to start seriously writing if I'm going to finish in time. 600 words a day, six days a week, for roughly the next four months (though that bit is still up in the air). With any luck, many of them will be decent and I'll post them here.

Since I throw out about half of what I write, I should probably aim for 1,200 a day, just to be safe. And then, in the evenings, research and editing, and in the cracks and crevices various other assignments and the (forgive me, P.) rather boring work I do that helps to pay the bills. (Which all feels nearly impossible, considering that on my good days, I've been able to do about 3 hours worth of work.) And thanks to the economics of the publishing business, I'll still be toiling in relative poverty.

600 words a day sounds manageable -- Bird by Bird, as Anne Lamott would say, bird by bird, baby. What keeps me awake at night is the days I know I will miss, or write horrible, awful stuff that no one could ever print. Or be mysteriously unable to get off the couch again. And then I will get to a Saturday and be 3,600 or 7,200 words behind and the most attractive option, at that point, will be to slit my wrists.

It's at this point in the process that sheer panic sets in. WHAT THE #@$#! WAS I THINKING? Why exactly did I think I could write a book about JANE AUSTEN -- only one of the most beloved writers EVER? And more importantly, WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP ME?

(If you've ever thought about writing a book, please reconsider now.)

I am considering crawling under a rock to await my fate. Maybe you will hear from me again. Maybe you will not.

If I could afford the ticket to Oxford, you would find me mumbling and shuffling along the Folly Bridge at night. That sounds like a lovely life, actually...


Anonymous Miriam said...

Dear Bird of a Feather,

Is this your answer to my email message of yesterday?

Ahhh angst, the very stuff that life is made of. It is ANGST not necessity that is the mother of invention.

I have an opening at 4:30 this afternoon so I can fit you in on my couch, in case the razor slashing Drama Queen starts to overwhelm the Person In Charge.

Glad you posted today [finally].

6/20/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Have you ever considered writing about your experiences with Lyme Disease? Not that you need to be adding things to your schedule, but you write well and passionately about what you are going through. I would think that the strong feelings about your experiences could be motivating and also therapeutic.

6/20/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Margaret Feinberg said...

We didn't stop you.....................................................................................................................becuase we knew you could do it.

6/20/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Ah, but being a drama queen is such fun!

I would like to write about the experience with Lyme sometime. Actually, as soon as I have the energy, I'd love to do an op-ed for the Post if they'll take it.

And thanks, M., for your faith in me. ;-)

6/21/2006 11:03:00 AM  

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