Riding Out the Rough Spots

By P.J. Parrish

This has been the week from hell. I don’t know what else can go wrong. Here’s what has happened so far:

I hit the wrong button and deleted chapter sixteen and had to recreate it from memory.

I got to chapter eighteen and realized a scene I had written back in chapter five, which I was certain was absolutely brilliant, now makes no sense and I have to cut it.

My plot timeline is out of whack and I have lost three days somewhere, sort of like Ray Milland in Lost Weekend but without the gin anesthesia.

I did a virus scan and it came up with 778 “issues” but apparently none of them are fixable unless I cough up $69.99 for the Super Anti-Spyware Deluxe Version.

I tried to vacuum my crumb-ridden keyboard and sucked up the 4 and + keys.

I really need a vacation. The kind of vacation where I can get away from everything, including my WIP aka The Thing That Is Devouring My Soul. We all get to this point at times, right? (If you don’t, I don’t want to hear about it today, okay?) We get discouraged, disoriented in plot hell, doubtful of our talent, and desperate to just get the damn thing finished.

This is the nature of writing. It isn’t always sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and brighter than a lucky penny. Often, very often, it is long slow slog where the words come hard and the joy comes even harder. This is where I am this week.
 
But here’s the thing: When you’re in a trough, like I am right now, you need to remember that it’s temporary. You need to know that if you just ride it out, you will end up on a crest again where you can survey the wider sea and regain your bearings. I need to be reminded of this every so often. We all do. So I made myself a list. It’s a list of the things I really love about this whacked out business. If you have something you’d like to add, please share.

TWELVE COOL THINGS ABOUT BEING A WRITER
  1. You can drink on the job and no one makes you pee in a bottle.
  2. You can write off trips to New York.
  3. You don’t have to wear a bra at work.
  4. You get to kill people you hate and not go to prison.
  5. You can have mind-blowing sex with whoever you want and not worry about rubbers, disease or your spouse leaving you.
  6. You get to read fan letters (I answer every one I get and save them forever like old love letters.)
  7. You get to be in the Library of Congress. (In 1983, I went there and asked for the librarian to bring me a copy of my paperback romance. She did. Quite humbling.)
  8. You get to walk into a tiny bookstore in Moose-Butt Maine and see your book on the shelf. And then find out the old lady behind the counter has read your entire oeuvre and remembers each character better than you do.
  9. You get to live inside your head for days, weeks, months, at a time and not get carted away in a white jacket.
  10. You get to find a note taped to your bathroom mirror from your spouse or kid saying, “I’m proud of you.”
  11. You get to do something that gives others pleasure.
  12. You get to do something that gives you joy.

Thanks for listening. I feel better now. Hit it, Lesley!

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