Friday, October 11, 2013

Scream Diva - That's Me!

Scream Diva by Renie Britenbucher, an original painting
 that hangs across from my desk at my law firm office.
I have been on a crushing deadline for my 9th Odelia Grey novel and then will go immediately into another high-powered drive to finish up the second Granny Apples novella due as soon as I can crank it out. And then there's my day job as a paralegal. Right now we're in the middle of two closings and just finished up another, so work is high octane these days too.

Am I difficult to get along with during these constant, never-ending pushes? Which means, am I difficult to live with ... period.

Like Susan Shea, my cats rule my home. They've been with me for over eleven years - most of my writing career. They used to protest all the hours I spent at the computer, which translates into hours not spent adoring and worshiping them. For the first four or five years they would take turns nipping my feet, clawing my chair or my knees, sitting on my key board, and even pooping next to my desk. Now they're older and just sit next to me or on my feet snoozing, waiting for me to take a break. Who says you can't train a cat?!

I broke it off with my last boyfriend after several years because I felt guilty about not having the proper time to spend with him. When I did the deed, he wasn't surprised - sad but not surprised - and we have remained very good friends. Since then I've not been able to hold together a decent relationship with anyone but my TV. I'm sure it has something to do with working 60-80 hrs a week between writing and the day job.

I didn't ask my close friends about my disposition when writing because, as with Robin Spano's significant other, I didn't want to put them in a position of lying.  So let me tell you how it is:

When I'm in the throes of cranking out a book, I let my apartment go to the point it becomes a toxic waste dump. Said boyfriend above always said he could tell how the writing was going by how my apartment looked. If I was stumped or blocked, it was sparkling clean. If the writing was flowing like gravy on Thanksgiving, the apartment was a mess. Truer words were never spoken.

My friends would also tell you that while I'm generally easy going in nature, the more looming the deadline, the more neurotic, paranoid and babbling I become. By the time the current work in progress is finished and turned in, I'm one step away from being institutionalized.

It's a wonder I don't have a drinking or drug problem. Then again, I do have eating issues. I can tell you from first hand experience that constant deadlines, sitting for hours at a computer, and bags of cookies and take-out food are lethal to the bottom line, and I don't mean the bank account.

Now if you'll excuse me, my publisher granted me a few days of extension and I gotta make it work or die trying.


Michael Allan Mallory said...

It's a wonder you haven't had a mental breakdown by now, Sue Ann. but that's a good thing!

Meredith Cole said...

Good luck with all your deadlines! And I'm sure the cats love having you sit still (even if you can't adore them non-stop)...

Susan C Shea said...

So this is what success looks like? I can already say my cats won't cheer if I get to the place you are with two series out and publishers and fans begging for more books. But at least I'd have an excuse for the mess!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Who says I haven't had a breakdown? I do smile a lot at nothing...

Robin Spano said...

I can relate to the toxic waste dump! And eating is better than drinking (for your liver and long term health). Good luck with deadlines!