Thursday, March 29, 2012

Help Wanted: Sanity Optional


I am currently in the first read-through / revision / identity crisis of my novel. This means I won't have a lot of time to blog, since I have to find much nobler reasons for procrastinating the aforementioned revision. As has been observed many times on this site, I am a champion procrastinator. But it takes training and dedication to procrastinate at my level, so don't feel bad if you actually accomplish what you're supposed to accomplish every day. Someday I'll teach an advanced procrastination course, but I can't until I've...um...cleaned out my refrigerator.

Here's what my read-through / revision / identity crisis process is like, for those of you who are aspiring writers. Read and learn. Or procrastinate. There's always that option.
  • Have all 412 pages of your novel printed off at Kinkos. Make sure they 3-hole punch everything, because you're going to put it in a 4-inch binder.
  • Go home.
  • Watch "Modern Family," "New Girl," and "Raising Hope," while recovering from your exhausting trip to Kinkos.
  • Open your binder.
  • Decide you simply must have little sticky notes to mark the places where you'll need a lot of revising.
  • Close the binder.
  • Watch "Unforgettable," "The Voice," and "Smash" while waiting for the Sticky Note Elves to magically drop a load on top of your binder.
  • Heave a gigantic sigh. There's no such thing as Sticky Note Elves. You googled it on your phone during the boring parts of "Smash."
  • Geeeett iiinnn yoooouuuurrr caaaarrr. Geez this is taking forever.
  • Drive to the grocery store three minutes from your house.
  • Buy sticky notes, four 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke, chips and ranch dip, some red pens (damn, you have to go back to the sticky note aisle), shampoo for in case you ever decide to try basic hygiene again, a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs because who knows? they may suddenly stop selling them and then where would you be?, a block of cheese just to be random, and another jumbo bottle of Tums.
  • Drive home.
  • Pour yourself a giant glass of Diet Coke and bust open the chips and ranch dip.
  • Notice that your hands are now greasy.
  • Watch "Bones" (gosh dangit, it's a rerun), "Parks and Rec," and six episodes of "Portlandia" until the chips are gone.
  • Put the junk food away.
  • Wipe your hands.
  • Return to your binder and all of your beautiful office supplies.
  • Open your binder.
  • Read one page.
  • Use an entire pad of sticky notes on that one page.
  • Text your writing partners and whine that you're a hack and that first thing tomorrow morning you're going to apply to be a night-shift shelf-stocker at WalMart so that you'll finally contribute something meaningful to society.
  • Eat nine peanut butter eggs while waiting for them to text you back.
  • Read their texts of assurance (they're getting tired of this, by the way. You can tell because their texts all say, "you can write stop sniveling go You go DeNae go Team write write write.")
  • Surprisingly, this works.
  • Turn to page two.
  • And start revising. 
After all, you've got 411 pages left to go! Hey, wait. Did you remember to buy pizza rolls?

Close your binder ... get in the car ...

12 comments:

Stacy said...

I love Smash. Except the last new episode was boring. Right now, my littlest boy is listening to the soundtrack and dancing.

I realize this has nothing whatsoever to do with your writing process. Oh well.

My current favorite is pretzels dipped in Nutella. Or anything in Nutella. Or Nutella by itself.

Collette said...

This makes me think of the 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' books. Like 'If You Ask a Writer to Revise' type book...except I'm not clever enough to think up the story from this point on. Maybe that can be added to your list of 'Ways to Procrastinate'.

Kristina P. said...

Only 9 PB eggs? You must be on a diet.

Becca said...

I am so glad I'm not the only one who prints to revise. Those people who can do it all paperless have some kind of something going on that I do not have. (Guilt at the vast amounts of tree-pulp-based garbage I'm contributing? Not a problem for me.)

Is it really 412 pages long? I have page-count envy, too.

Shawna Faye said...

Hey now, procrastination is a finely honed and completely under-appreciated skill. I get soooo much stuff done whenever I know that I really should be doing something else. Like right now.
Pass me some of those pb eggs. :)

Karen Peterson said...

And don't forget that the colored pens MUST match the sticky notes. Otherwise, all is lost.

sarah davies said...

What a relief! This is a very similar process to what I've been going through trying to finish my thesis. I was worried that my procrastination was perhaps a sign of a bad fit (e.g., maybe I don't love my chosen field after all?).

BUT my conclusion after reading your post - this happens even when you're doing what you love!

Unknown said...

haha mom! you are soooo funny! but honestly, why waste your money on reeses eggs when this is the ONLY time of the YEAR where they have my precious cadburry mini-eggs? the ones with the candy shell? that grama hates? that i love? and have no access to out here in the bush? that u should buy on clearance sale immediately after easter so i can have them when i get home is less than 3 weeks (OMG 2 WEEKS TOMORROW :D)? really mom. let's use some sense here. and bills. sense and bills. get it? hehe. kloveubye.

Stepper the Mighty said...

Wait...I need a binder?

Crap!

(where's the keys...?)

L.T. Elliot said...

I freaking love this post. I freaking love everything you write. TELL ME WHO I AM is fabulous and I'm so, so glad you did it. I laugh (a lot), I cry (thanks a lot!), and I'm generally just happier after reading it.

As for this post: "whine that you're a hack and that first thing tomorrow morning you're going to apply to be a night-shift shelf-stocker at WalMart so that you'll finally contribute something meaningful to society." is EXACTLY where I'm at.

Love you. And the diet coke.

charrette said...

Love this! Love you! Envy your wordcount and your binder and your sticky notes and red pen, because I'm so far behind you. In every way. Including peanut butter eggs. You're going to feel so GREAT about your novel (and yourself as a writer) when you see mine. (it might be unreadable). I do, however, have some cadbury mini-eggs to save for tu hija!

Garden of Egan said...

I hope you were able to stock up on Cadbury eggs and sticky notes.

Just wait until V gets home, then you have a taxi service.
You can make her get those nonsense items that take up so much of your time away from writing.