More like a Fart in a Blizzard, by Deb Eve

I just can’t fathom how other people stick to any kind of routines: Going to the same job every day? A PTO meeting every month? The bookstore to buy a new calendar every year? It’s all a bit much for me.

Of course, I can be very disciplined when I absolutely have to. When my manuscript was due, I sat down to write by nine every morning and did not stop until late at night. It’s truly amazing what the fear of failure, financial ruin and shame can do for you. And now I do freelance proofreading (I am the grammarian about whom your mother warned you. And YES, I DO know if anal retentive has a hyphen!), and will easily be busy at work by 8 AM if I have a deadline. But on those in-between days, when there’s no freelance work and no looming book deadline, I am about as directed as a fart in a blizzard.

Let me give you a rundown of yesterday’s writing routine:

7:20 AM – Drag myself out of bed, even if it kills me.

7:25 AM – Drag myself out of bed, even if it kills me.

7:30 AM – No, really this time … drag myself out of bed, even if it kills me.

7:32 AM – Slump like a ragdoll against St. John who insists on cheerfully kissing and hugging me every morning and attempting to make me lift my arms to hug him back. Damn him and his sunny morning disposition! Lean against kitchen counter, try to look useful as everyone scurries around me trying to get to work/school on time.

8:00 AM – Alone at last, except of course for the dog, two cats and a very loud and rather bold family of mice that seem to have recently taken up residence in the kitchen. I am overcome by the urge to crawl back into bed for just one more hour, but am accosted by a full hamper at the top of the stairs and decide, instead, to throw in a load of laundry. Go back downstairs and make a cup of decaf tea (god only knows what the shock of caffeine would do to my system!), eat a semblance of breakfast, check emails, check the Debutante Ball website, read the newspaper, play on Facebook, generally dither.

9:00 AM – Think about writing. Open files and look at the proposal for book number two. Read what I wrote yesterday. Ha ha, I am so funny, I should write more about . . . hey wait a minute, is that a hair on my chin?

9:10 – 9:15 AM – Obsess about the hairs on my chin.

9:16 AM – Get up and pluck the damn things. Stare at myself in the mirror. Decide I hate my new haircut. Go through my daughter’s closet in search of funky hats. Try on all the hats. Decide I need a totally new look. Call hairdresser for an emergency hair appointment. Call chiropractor. Call the supermarket to order turkeys for Thanksgiving. Call sister-in-law to see who’s coming for Thanksgiving. Make a list of who’s coming and what they should bring. Think about what to cook. Poke through latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine for inspiration. Read article about an attorney who gave up her practice to open a chain of crab restaurants. Wonder if I should give up my practice to open a chain of crab restaurants.

10:00 AM – Sit back down at computer. Check emails. Check Deb site. Check Facebook. Check latest polls … oh, wait a minute . . . the election is over. Check on what President-elect Obama is doing today. See what Michelle is wearing. See how the progress is going on finding a school for the girls. See if there’s any news on the new dog. Gee, I wonder what the inside of the White House looks like. Thank goodness for the internet. You can find out anything on the internet.

10:30 AM – Go to emergency hair appointment and take a well-deserved break from all this hard work.

Noon – Looming hair crisis averted. I ought to go home and get to work, but first I walk around town and look for people I know since my hair looks so good and I’m not even wearing my baggy, flannel writing trousers!

12:30 PM – Stop into the local bookstore. Chat with the clerks and order a book. Stare at the front shelves with all the new releases, fantasize about how my book will look there. Stare at the shelf with the Bestsellers, fantasize about how my book will look there. Stare at the front window, fantasize about how the full-color, life-size poster of me with the words “New York Times #1 Bestseller” will look there.

1:00 PM – Go home and eat lunch while thinking about what I’ll write for tomorrow’s blog post. And read Eileen Cook’s book while I do that, because since she’s a Deb, it’s kinda like thinking about tomorrow’s blog post. Also read the newspaper and uh-oh find at LEAST two issues that are just crying out for a letter to the editor from me! A writer’s work is never done!

2:00 PM – Back to the rock pile. Check emails. Check Deb site. Oh look, my mom commented. I better comment on my mom’s comment. Is that a piece of kale stuck between my teeth?

2:15 PM – Floss teeth.

2:17 PM – Back at the computer. Shall I work on my proposal? My blog post? A new long-lead article idea I have? Oh, look there’s that poem I’ve been working on that I’m just sure I’m going to read at President Obama’s inauguration (well, maybe Oprah will read it and then we’ll sit together at the State Dinner, me and Oprah, and discuss how it’s the best poem she’s ever read and when can I be on her show to talk about my fabulous book?). Work on poem.

3:00 PM – Damn, it’s time to pick up the kids from school. No wonder I can never get anything done around here!

3:30 PM – Kids home and plugged into laptops/cellphones/televisions or whatever it is they actually do when they say they are doing “homework.” And I finally sit down and write. Tomorrow’s blog post, the Pulitzer Prize winning poem, the proposal. The creative muse is on fire now! Or is that the living room?

4:01 PM – Rush downstairs to make sure that 11-year-old son, who has recently started building the fire in our wood stove after school every day, hasn’t set the house on fire.

4:02 PM – No, it IS just the muse that’s on fire!

6:00 PM – The kids, the dog, the cats all start to make noise about being hungry (the family of mice have gotten eerily quiet). I drag myself downstairs to cook supper. And while I do that, I also wash the dishes, empty the dishwasher, and put this morning’s laundry in the dryer – none of which got done today because I was so busy writing!

7:30 PM – Supper done, kids handed off to St. John, me and the muse retire to the rock pile once again, where I will now type my fingers to the bone until bed time. Oh, no … I’ve got a hangnail . . .

19 Replies to “More like a Fart in a Blizzard, by Deb Eve”

  1. Eve, I’ve been at my computer for two hours and have yet to open my WIP.
    My latest excuse is that I have discovered blogging. Late, yes, but I’ve been very busy. Busy, busy, busy.

    Now have made a committment to a one-hour time limit. Isn’t there a medication for this? Jacqui

  2. Eve- Your post is so funny! I can’t wait to read your book.

    Yesterday I finally realized that I was not going to get any writing done, and I lay on the couch and read the New Yorker… Amazing issue all about Obama. Just shows I can still be obsessed about the election even though it is over.

  3. Jacqui, I’m not sure there’s a medication for our condition, but there ought to be a 12-Step Program! Or at least a support group. I know . . . let’s form our own support group – online and we’ll check in every hour!

    Thank, Meredith. And I – and my mom – can’t wait to read yours!

  4. Whoa, it’s scary how similar we are. And can I tell you yesterday I was checking that a word I was using was indeed a word (putrefication, and yes, it is a word, thank you many years of Latin class for that) and so I googled it and the 3rd thing I saw was a blog called poop and the day it pulled up was called The Ideal Poop. Now while I’m universally repulsed at a blog about poop, I am equally compelled to find out more about fetishists who have a thing for doo-doo. So I couldn’t help but divert over to to find out. Yes, that was but one minor diversion in my ADD world. I change directions more time than a squirrel on a highway…
    Today I planned to start working on my WIP first thing in the morning, right? So when I got back from taking my daughter to school (and got home an hour late because I just had to stop to get a decaf cappuccino, and then ran into friends, then got a call from someone I had to talk to, and then I had to sit in the car because if I drove and talked, then my cell phone would drop me at a disadvantageous moment) instead of writing my WIP, I got this brainstorm! A new book idea! So I sat down and started typing away and have gotten a TON done on it. But just not on what I’d planned to…
    And lastly, yet another example of my diversionary mind…Two nights ago one of my kids came in searching for matches because one of the other kids evidently stunk up the bathroom. But I said I didn’t want them lighting matches in the house. Now, they are teens, so in theory ought to be able to do so without my worries. But first off, their bathroom is a fire hazard in and of itself, with the mountains of dirty clothes piled up on the floor and the stacks of make-up, flammables, you name it strewn about their sinks. So my husband and my kids ridiculed me for not allowing them to light matches in the house. But yesterday, as I was taking time away from writing my WIP (that same WIP that didn’t get many words accumulated on it yesterday because I was taking so much time away from it even though I’d slotted the entire day for writing), I came across a headline on AOL news about a teenager in Germany who got severe burns from blowing up the toilet. Um, hellooo!! I had to read THAT article. And it turns out, guess what? He had stunk up the bathroom and then sprayed something to kill the smell, then picked up his dad’s lighter to fiddle with it (and isn’t that what teens do with matches and lighters? they fiddle around with them), and the flame came on, coupled with the aerosol in the air and whooosh–blew up the toilet, sent that kid flying into the air, ended up burned everywhere. So then of course I had to copy the story and email it to my husband and my kids: “See, I was right!!!”

    So, now that I’ve wasted another 10 minutes of my day, better get back to my WIP…

  5. I’m totally going to work on my WIP- but I had to read your post and then dance about because you’re reading my book. Then your post reminded me I haven’t flossed yet today. Oral health is important you know…

  6. I, too, stare at the shelves of my local bookstore, dreaming about my book’s release….There are just so many great ways to procrastinate, aren’t there?

  7. Well thanks for all the comments ladies! Jenny – you are too much! Really! Beware the exploding toilet and may that put fear into the hearts of ahem, toilet sitters everywhere!

    Eileen, I am LOVING your book! And don’t you love how it feels when you know someone is reading it? And I am sooooo about oral health! I used to be the health and nutrition manager of a Head Start program, so don’t even get me started on the importance of good dental hygiene!

    Danielle – you are most definitely NOT alone. Like I said, maybe we ought to form a support group and meet online, like once an hour!

    Tiffany, I actually have to limit my visits to bookstores these days (especially the big boxes, my local store I can handle) – because I usually end up overwrought and sobbing. “how will anyone ever find my book in here?” – that kind of thing.

  8. I am so glad we had this theme this week. I was so ready for everyone else’s routine to be:

    6 am – Calisthenics

    7 am – Cook gourmet breakfast for family

    8 am – Sit down to write. Write all day.

    5 pm – Lean back and sigh contentedly at a good day’s work.

    6 pm – Enjoy gourmet dinner with family

    7 pm – Volunteer work

    12 midnight – bedtime

    But no, instead I find that we are all slackers! Hurray for slackers!

  9. Howdy Ladies…
    Eileen, chapter 4 is soooo funny I was LOL, startled the dogs. I will probably finish entire belly laugh making book by later tonight. Keep em’ coming. This would be a funny movie too.

    Ah the art of procrastination…and it is a creative art, let me tell you. But finding a site about poop…that shouldn’t surpise me…but it is funny. On the web, the IS nothing new under the sun.

  10. OMG, Katie – You NAILED my actual schedule! I just didn’t want to embarrass the rest of you! (Ha!) And don’t forget to add “help children with homework, bake cookies for school bake sale and have fabulous sex with hubby before bed!”

    More power to all of slackers, Meredith. I’ve actually been studying the Alexander Technique, whose main theme (as far as I can tell right now) is about NOT doing. About the lost – and incredibly important – ability for our bodies and our minds to STOP. Stop moving, stop tensing, stop talking, stop the neurons from firing in order to allow our bodies to regain their natural ease.

    And, oh, there’s my mom! Hi Mom!

  11. The subject of procrastination came up today; I pondered the issue for a while in an attempt to form an opinion on it, and its relation to me, but soon became distracted by something else, a cloud perhaps, or something cute my dog was doing. I soon forgot what it was that I was supposed to be doing, and only much later was I able to form a coherent thought on what procrastination means to me. Alas, I misplaced the thought, along with half a roll of Tums and some lip balm I’d purchased on a whim days before. So much for self actualization, I thought, turning to issues more germane to the moment, like where I’m going to find chocolate flavored lip balm in the time I have left before I leave for the mountains of Yunnan. If there’s a lesson in this I can’t find it, though to be truthful, I haven’t really made much of an effort.

  12. Welcome back, Larramie! You were missed! I actually write plenty, but the funny thing is my most creative time does tend to be later in the day. So while it’s true that I will piddle away an awful lot of the daylight hours (unless of course I’m on deadline, then it’s all work and no play for this girl!), I do tend to get down to business come 2 or 3 in the afternoon and then work through til bedtime on many nights. Which is why you found me here now! And, of course, in between all the goofing off during the day, I am taking care of chores, things for the kids and house and other stuff that needs taking care of.

    And hey there Joshua! (That’s my baby brother!) My you’re funny. And a fine writer. Hey, you ought to think about writing your own book. (Ha ha) Travel well and keep us posted.

    This was a good topic, Debs. We should revisit this topic again. See who’s still farting around in their flannel trousers in a year from now!

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