My chief technical officer (aka brother) Dave is on probation.
“Can you do a little post from the conference,” I ask, “while we’re out hiking? I’ve said you will on the blog.”
|Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.|
Nothing like a commission to bring on a full-scale case of writer’s block, huh, Dave? I know the scenario all too well from my own experience.
A commission! Wow! Someone thinks I’m a legitimate writer! I need to go out for a run and think about how I’m going to write this! Back home, showered, ready to work, I have to tidy up the kitchen. No way I can work with clutter in the periphery. It’ll only take a few minutes. Laundry, too. It can run while I’m writing. How efficient!
Okay, no nonsense now, I tell myself. I have a deadline, time to get started. I sit down and stare at the screen. It stares back. There is little in this world as menacing as an empty page in Microsoft Word. I hate Microsoft Word.
“Blahblahblahblahblah,” I type, just to pierce that awful whiteness. Not the best lead sentence I’ve ever written. How should I start this? What amazing sentence can I write that will sum it all up and hook the reader for the next 5,000 words?
While I’m contemplating this, I play a few rounds of scramble, nothing major, just to get my typing fingers warmed up. It has been at least five minutes since I last checked my e-mail, too. I’d better open it up to see if anyone else has sent me a more manageable task. Something smallish, hopefully. A little translation, a request for a tennis game, anything other than this article.
I feel like the article has grown teeth and claws. It’s way out of my league. What was I thinking? Why did I think I was a writer? I hate writing.
Is it too soon to think about starting the taxes? I have been avoiding weeding the slope off the back yard, too. This suddenly looks enticing. Before I head out the door I scour the kitchen, devouring every refined carbohydrate I can find. After the weeding is done I clearly need to go grocery shopping. We’re out of cookies. No way I can tackle the article without brain fuel.
I should also think about what to make for dinner tonight. Something complicated and healthy. We really should eat better. I’ll just sit down with my cookbook collection for a few minutes. I can even make a shopping list, so I won’t waste valuable time in the supermarket!
Despite the ten-ton weight of the deadline wrapped around my upper vertebrae, I feel productive. Things are getting accomplished. The article is going to be great. I’ll get started on it first thing tomorrow.
So I do understand. Commissions are hell. Deadlines are hell times a million. But I got through them somehow, and I know Dave can, too.
As luck would have it, we postponed our hike until next week, due to a combination of an unforeseen feline medical situation (that’s another story) and bad weather, so Dave has miraculously earned an extra week to do his post on the hacker heaven conference! Nothing like an extended dealine to up the ante, eh? And now that he’s no longer in Vegas, with all the enticing, blank-screen-defying diversions offered by that city of sin, I just know he’ll do a great post.
Either that or he’ll finally clean out his home office.