Monday, May 24, 2010

This Is What A Deadline Looks Like by Caitlin Crews

My latest Presents is due in eight short days (next Tuesday! Yikes!), and that means I am in a little bit of a tizzy. Which looks a lot like this:

We have all the hallmarks of deadline-induced stupor and panic laid out here:

*Post-it notes with crucial thoughts on character that usually come to me in the dead of night, which necessitates me lurching up from bed and scribbling them out in the dark. They are only occasionally legible.

*Yesterday's writing with my notes scribbled all over the place. I go through the previous day's writing before I start on the new day's writing. This is the one step forward/two step back version of writing books that works for me, somehow.

*The desk itself, upon which I have written every single one of my published/to-be-published books, and my doctoral dissertation. I am very attached to this desk. I toted it with me from England all the way to California. I don't have many superstitions, but I really like that desk.

*A half-drunk mug of very strong black tea. One of many, many such mugs I suck down during the day. (Why no, I'm sure that has nothing to do with my inability to sleep sometimes, why do you ask?)

*My little chart tracking my daily word count progress. This is very psychologically important! And it must be written by hand!

*The actual stack of manuscript pages, which I keep near me at all times, because it feels good to watch that stack grow.

*My tired and dusty old keyboard which has several non-functioning keys that I am too panicked to replace at present. That will have to wait for June, when I leave the house.

*The manuscript in progress on my lovely big monitor. This is the main reason I don't think I could go back to a laptop. I like everything big, big, big these days.

*My Blackberry, should anything terribly important happen--in reality, I tend to receive only texts from friends.

*A Proust quote written out for me by a dear friend, next to a little plaque I made of the USA Today Bestseller List when I (to my great surprise!) hit it in February. Positive motivation!

*The series Bible of the continuity I'm currently working on, with all the bits I thought important for my character marked with green post its.

*My vast collection of pens and markers. The truth is that I do not feel secure unless I have a thousand writing implements to choose from. Another truth is that I generally use only that blue pen you see sitting above my keyboard. What can I tell you? I'm complicated.

What you don't see in this picture:

*Me in deadline zombie mode, complete with bag lady attire and crazy hair/eyes. There's no need to scare the children with any photos of that.

*The great vats of chocolate I consume to get me through the writing. Why don't you see said vats? Because I ate them all.

*My poor husband, who has to deal with all of this, and my crankiness and absent-mindedness besides.


practimom said...

hey, this kinda looks like my work desk!

GladysMP said...

My desk here looks a great deal like yours and I am not an author. I just keep adding items to remind me of things I need to remember or to do. Theres a couple of books nearby and a cup of coffee (not tea.) I, too, have a few spare pens scattered here and there, ett. etc.

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host said...

I'm on deadline too :) and I feel much like you! Good luck!!!

Caitlin Crews said...

Gladys and Practimom, my husband can't stand how much clutter I require in order to work. But I have to *SEE* everything!

Host, Good luck on your deadline!

Michele L. said...

Oh gosh, wow! I have found another person who has to have every writing instrument available. I work for an office/art supply store and in heaven there! I see all the new stuff that comes in and instantly have to have one of everything! It sure is fun!

As for the desk, hey, if it works for you, that's all that matters. I am basically organized but my desk gets messy at times too. That is a true sign of a really busy person, right? Ha, ha!