Monday, April 30, 2007
Ahead of me are two more article deadlines. The latter is for one of my regular columns, so I'm pretty sure that I can polish that one off without much bloodshed. It's the first article, which will be the result of three months of research and interviews, that has me totally freaking out.
This takes me back to my days at Toronto's tourism office, when I was asked to write a three-page advertorial for a publication. No sweat, I thought, as I needed more stuff like that in my portfolio. Then I made the mistake of asking which publication it would be appearing in, expecting it to be "Trips for Swingers" or some other "under the radar" magazine.
It was for the New York Times Travel Magazine.
No pressure. I spent the first afternoon staring at the monitor until spots appeared before my eyes and my forehead burst open. Every single word I tried to type was absolute crap. By 5:00 I was breathing into a paper bag. When I got home, the DH wanted to know why I was shaking like I'd been with Petunia in rehab.
So I told him how my boss was going to discover that I had no talent and would fire me once she read the article I couldn't write.
That's when he told me to get it over with and hand in a piece of crap. "Just put some words on the page and run spell check," he said. Easy for him to say. Didn't he realize where the article would be appearing?
"Why should this be any different than the other stuff you write?" he asked, which made me want to strangle him because the man is too logical for me at times.
So I wrote the piece and lived to tell the tale. Sure, some parts of it needed revising, but that's just the way writing is. But why is it that I let myself get all caught up in a frenzy when, ideally, this should be just another assignment that happens to be for one of the larger publications?
Do I really need to lose my mind every time I want to produce something good? Couldn't I just eat some raisins or sacrifice a pet rock or something?
Hmm. Are there any bizarre rituals that work for you?