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On Being So Busy That You Don't Have Time to Title Your Blog Entry

Categories: This Writer's Life.
The funny thing about this blog entry, friends, is that I shouldn’t be writing it. I have a deadline that is two days past its expiration date, it is 11:35 PM at night, and I’ve just settled in to finally bang out the final piece to this story that I need to turn in before an editor I haven’t really worked with in the past (new magazine!) decides that I’m not worth the (modestly!) spectacular and wisely worded self-deprecating jokes in the piece.

Perhaps the scarier thing is not that I need to switch over to Word and get cracking or I am seriously regretting the two drinks I had with dinner, but that my freelance schedule over the next month is downright frightening. I have agreed to do a Red Sox package due at the end of the month, I have a huge 4,000 word piece that’s sort of been waiting in the wings all year that will be due end of February, I have tentatively agreed to do some sort of sitdown discussion piece about the dating, relationships, and the social scene in Boston, and all of this is in the next two(ish) months… And that’s on top of my day job editing, writing, and researching daily pieces AND, most importantly, writing this lovely and vent-worthy blog. Whew. Until I re-read it, it felt really good to get that stress quantified.

But you know me, friends. I’m not really alive until I am bitching about the stresses surrounding my writing, an infliction that makes my girlfriend alternate between stressing for me, and actively looking for creative ways to disown me. But– at least, I think– the stress of the deadline invigorates my creativity. It gets me fired up. It makes me reach deep down inside and, um, write mostly because I have no other choice. So we’ve come to that point. And this is my plan: I am going to fire up some caffeine-heavy Twinings English Breakfast Tea.  I am going to slay like six cups of it. No milk. No sugar (substitute). Just f-ing straight. Whatever, I was in a frat. Then I’m going to write the Big Cat an email/e-card wishing him a happy birthday, but not in any sort of earnest manner, because we are male and in our 20s, and that would scare him into thinking I was terminally ill. Then I’m going to re-read where I left off, get confused, glance through my notes, and quickly play a game of Ms. Pac Man on my iGoogle page. Then I’m going to put some Vicks Vapo Rub on my nose, because it hurts from the negative 86 degree (Kelvin!) Boston weather. Then I shall start to write.

It’s a system, friends. And it damn well (better!) work. Stay tuned to your regularly scheduled comments to see how this actually plays out. Now chillax to one of my top 7 favorite music videos of 1994, directed by that dude Michel Gondry, the French guy who did Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and that movie with Mos Def and Jack Black that I told everyone I wanted to see, even though I didn’t.

It’s Lucas With,
The Lid Off

Lucas

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23 Responses to On Being So Busy That You Don't Have Time to Title Your Blog Entry

  1. Kevin Alexander says:

    Appreciation to all those about to send out a "Missing Child" call… but I was just completely swamped yesterweek, and didn’t have time to even bang out something to the effect of "ahhh, I’m so busy" (you know, bc I did that the week before…) But i appreciate your worrisome comments and detective work!!!

  2. Genevieve says:

    Do you think the hippies have him? They’re holding him hostage until their demands for fair trade espresso and patchouli are met.

  3. Christine says:

    I’m with Erin. We may have to put out an APB on Kevin.

  4. Erin says:

    If there’s nothing by tomorrow, I’m thinking we all need to head to Boston and search every coffee shop in town.

  5. Genevieve says:

    Yeah, I know. At the risk of sounding like a stereotypical New Orleanian, where y’at, man? Hope you’re not too waist deep in deadlines. And if you are be good to yourself.

  6. Tom says:

    I’m just hoping there’s a Kev-authored comment today at the very least. Our favorite blogger must truly be up to his eyebrows in work this month.

    Best of luck, dude.

  7. Pat says:

    Did anyone check the WD newsleter where the blogs are posted? Kevin, you are not listed. Is there a reason for this?

    I have been following your blog from day one. I might not post often but I do read your wonderful funny comments made by the usual crowd. You all make my day!!

    Kev, where are you? Should I be worried?

  8. Tom says:

    Yeah, what Christine said. I’m sure Kev’s got a busy schedule still, and that his boss/self probably didn’t give him the day off on Monday like I had (in which I indulged in super-fun activities like cleaning off my writing desk and getting a new cell phone (that is not a white iPhone) because the battery was about to die on the old one, and it was two years old and starting to act funky).

    So, I’m just offering Kevin more support this week in his busy month of busy-ness. I bent wire last night, that was my contribution to doing what needs to be done. I also realized this AM after I got to work that I have a fiction critique group meeting tonight for which I’ve done none of the reading. Again. For the second meeting in a row. Doh.

  9. Christine says:

    I am a fan of this blog because…well…it kicks a**. I love the humor and dig the music references. I look forward to reading it and the comments each week.

    Kevin, your writing comes off the page like we’re having a conversation. I often imagine that the regular commentors of this blog and myself are sitting around in some hip cafe in Boston with you, just shooting the sh*t and I don’t mean that in a weird stalker way (been stalked, not fun), but in a we’re all in this writing thing together way.

    Sending positive vibes your way that on your next deep breath, all is serene and productive for you (and everyone else in this comments section).

    Christine

  10. Kevin Alexander says:

    Sorry, friends. I didn’t see these until right now, and I have to say: they completely and utterly made my day. And I’m massively hungover and unshowered.

    You guys/girls are the best team of commenters one could ask for… If I could give you a gift certificate to the Ruby Tuesdays of your choice, I would do it in a minute…

    Thanks again. I really appreciate all the support. And yes, of course, I saw Tina Fey. She’s f-ing awesome.

  11. Genevieve says:

    Oh dude…no. No, no, no, no, and no. Do you think the guy or girl who wrote that is the same one who, a year or so ago, wrote a reply to one of your query letters in which he took it seriously? He said something like, "This is a terrible query! It’s full of every single major mistake! We at Teen Beat would never publish this article!" Do you remember that shmuck? If it’s not the same person then they must play tennis together or something. You’re right, the reviewer didn’t offer you a single constructive bit of criticism. And don’t feel bad about it bothering you. It’s an afront to constructive criticism in geneeral. If you were upset with good, helpful constructive criticism then I would say you should change your perspective, but dude, that was just a spitball flying at you from across the room. And you know what needs be done if that happens to you in class, don’t you? That’s right. You give him a wedgie. You learned this in grad school, right?

    Besides all of that I second and third Olivia and Tom’s reasons for making this blog a regular part of my week. Never doubt that you’re a funny m******f***. I will send you five bucks if you can substitute atleast five other letters in place of those astricts, thus making it say something other than the explitive that I only use to praise great humor. And music. And anything else that rocks.

    Olivia- I just sent you an e-mail, man. I’m sorry I hadn’t gotten around to congratulating you yet, and you must let everyone in the commentary know what you won.

    Tom- Keviccino. I love it!

    Erin- thanks for the good advice, babe! And that Tina Fey thing is awesome.

  12. Erin says:

    Kevin, Since you’re so busy, I’m guessing you didn’t watch the Golden Globe awards last Sunday (actually, knowing how addicted to procrastinating you are, it might be safer to assume the opposite), but Tina Fey won an award and literally got up on stage, listed a bunch of her Internet haters by their screen names and told them to suck it. I think the next time you are in a public forum, you should do the same to this person. Or get Dane Cook to do it for you.

    Also, I hope I’m not being perceived as a hater for complaining about your one measly bout of complaining. I’m just having a bad week for the exact opposite reason you are, but I still love the blog and keep telling the people in my writer’s group to read it!

  13. Tom says:

    Kev,

    I’m glad that, for some reason, you seem to enjoy the fact that I often comment in a manner that is far too lengthy. I’ll try to ramble on as much and often as possible in the future.

    I wasn’t going for "Don’t b***, you’re getting paid," more the fact that, hey, if you are feeling pressure, at least it’s going to be for quantifiable cash, realy moola, wampum…the kind of reward the the tax man and the landlord appreciate, which means you’re effectively enlarging your fan base in the process. So, complain. I do. But try to keep some positive things in mind at the same time. I do.

    Someone actually REVIEWED an issue of Writer’s Digest? OMG! SRSLY? That right there is a sign of someone with too much time on their hands. As for taking it personally, yeah, I’d probably do the same thing. I think a lot of us would – especially during a time when we have about fifty deadlines, making it pretty easy to get worked up about random shizzle.

    On "my novel" (Hah! How pretentious that sounds!) my characters actually restated elements of the plot and said, "That’s it?! That sucks!" They aren’t happy. They’ve come to blows over it, but the girl kind of decked the two guys, so that was sort of fun.

    And this! –> "Maybe I’ll just cut and paste that for my next blog entry and attach a link to a DeBarge video…"
    This is why I keep coming back here. It’s like a free venti cup of Keviccino.

  14. Olivia says:

    Oh, dear Kevin, I’ve never seen you use so many explitives in a single rant before. Not to mention you got close to the record in your original entry. I can totally justify it here, though.

    I feel the need to balance out the universe here and tell you why I started following your blog.

    Back in August ’08 I received (meaning "charged on my Discover cuz I really couldn’t afford it") my first computer in over ten years, in the form of a way-cool modern laptop. The reason for it was that I had been writing my first novel longhand, and the sore on my finger was so bad that even covering it with a bandaid didn’t help…and I still had oodles left to write.

    Anyway, with this new laptop came automatic access to the internet, which I had also been away from for over ten years. Totally different now. There was no such thing as a blog the last time I logged onto anything.

    So, I found this site called "Writer’s Digest", didn’t even know it was a real publication for writers (how cool is that?), and found this page of blogs. Hmmm…."This Writer’s Life"….that sounds interesting. So, I clicked on your face and instantly fell in love with your blog.

    Then, I look to the column on the side and see "Writing a Literary Masterpiece" and I thought, ‘Okay, that sounds like what I’m trying to do, so maybe there are some good tips in there for me.’

    Ha! I was wrong. But…I never laughed so hard in my life. I seriously spewed all over my brand new laptop and I’m pretty sure I peed my pants. Not afraid to admit that, cuz it was just that funny.

    The reason I love your stuff so much is because 1) I can relate. We’re both about the same age and we both write. Yes, we write totally different things, but there’s a lot of similarities in the act of writing that we all experience. 2) You’re honest. I’ve never read anything that appears to be a "front" or something that is "just for show" or to "toot your own horn." You tell us all about your writing life — the good, the bad, and all the crazy in between. (sorry for the cliches, the brain is still foggy) 3) YOU NOTICE THINGS. You have an uncanny ability to see things that most of us would take for granted. Not only that, but you are then able to write about them and present them is such a way that is not only realistic, but humorous as well. Not many people have that ability, and I don’t think it’s something to make light of. Anyone who does so is, dare I say, a jealous whiny-pants.

    Hopefully, that helps you to see yourself the way that you truly are, and not through the eyes of a pompous, self-praised idiot with no credentials.

  15. Kevin Alexander says:

    The general consensus seems to be that I should stop complaining bc I’m getting paid, which is totally fair.

    Tom, my man– it’s good to see you back to semi-decent sized posts. As for your novel’s lack of activity, I kind of dig that the characters have even sort of struggled with it. That’s past meta… sh*t, we didn’t even learn about that in grad school.

    Genevieve, Erin, Olivia– I had very specific things I wanted to say to each of you, but then I remembered why I wrote this comment, so they will have to wait: So I was minding my business, procrastinating last night by Googling myself, when I came across some review of a Writer’s Digest magazine from June in which I was called "cringe worthy", "amateurish" and something like "not funny in the same way Dane Cook isn’t funny", which isn’t the exact quote, but, man, does it need to be?

    What annoyed me about the piece– and, as seriously and as objectively as I can muster– it was a terrible piece of sh*t takedown in some media blog I’ve never heard of, only serving to purport some sort of superiority onto the really lame writer– was that it annoyed me at all. You’d think, after more than four years of writing and putting myself out there, shrouded in a veil of self-deprecating humor as a protective layer, yes, but still doing it… that I would be over noticing stupid, personal attacks. And yet they still bug me. Ugh.

    Hating for the strict purpose of hating is so tiring and lame. Give me some constructive f^&*$ing criticism, friend! Tell me I need to re-read my blog entries to correct spelling mistakes. Tell me I ramble and forget that I’m not writing a blog about youtube music videos I used to like, or find ironically amusing, or just want to listen to. Tell me something! But don’t just say I’m like Dane Cook, without knocking back some examples. Bc then you’re just being another pseudo-"snarky" user of the Internet, and you’re not doing anything original, and you’re not doing your readers a service, and you’re not even being mean/funny. You’re just making me write a really, really long blog comment, to myself, when I should be working.

    Ok. Whew. Sorry, friends. Maybe I’ll just cut and paste that for my next blog entry and attach a link to a DeBarge video…

  16. Olivia says:

    Nice vid, Kevin. I liked that.

    The weather here in NE Ohio isn’t much better than yours, unfortunately. This is the third day straight that I’ve received a message from the PD about code red emergency road condtions. And, I was 40 minutes late for work yesterday because of a stupid frozen door lock on my car. It doesn’t like temperatures below "holy s*** my eyes are frozen!" Imagine that.

    I totally hear you on the Vicks. I’m currently fighting my third bout of cold/flu-ish illnesses inside of two months. Not fun. And the drug-induced fogginess is really no good for writing anything more interesting than "I hate being sick, this totally sucks." Yeah. Try fitting that into an awesome futuristic military sci-fi. Doesn’t quite jive. My aliens are laughing at me right now and they’re holding (not so) secret meetings to figure out how they can impeach me as their author.

    Writing on a deadline is something I’ve only had to do for short story competitions. It does seem to give your creativity a good jolt. Or maybe that’s the caffeine. *shrugs* Either way.

    Good luck, Kev. At least you get to write. Right?

  17. Erin says:

    Oh, and I also have to add that everyone should see that Michel Gondry movie that Kevin told everyone he wanted to see even though he really didn’t. It’s called "Be Kind Rewind" and my godfather’s son is an extra in it!

  18. Erin says:

    I wasn’t going to leave a comment on this post (because I’m too jealous of how much work Kevin has. My plate, and hence my checking account, is pretty light at the moment). But I can’t ignore Genevieve’s cry for help. I don’t want her smashing any mirrors in her home out of self-inflicted frustration.

    Genevieve, my "sage" advice is instead of inflicting a self-imposed deadline, concentrate instead on reaching a goal of writing for a certain amount of time each day. That way you’ll make steady progress and reach your goal in a sane, "one day at a time" manner. This was how I finished editing my novel last year (although I’ll admit, I’m having trouble getting it to work on the new piece I’ve started, but I think that’s mostly just because it’s been a long time since I started a new piece of fiction and I’m pretty rusty).

  19. Shannon says:

    Thanks for the insight. It’s good to hear.

  20. Genevieve says:

    Tom – don’t lose faith, dude! Keep writing and see what happens.

    And now I shall take my own advice.

  21. Genevieve says:

    You’re right. Though I don’t have the hellish schedule that Kevin has (Kevin, I think you might want to add a shot of espresso to the English Breakfast), I have a tight deadline that I’ve imposed on myself. So instead of being frustrated with an overly demanding boss I’m looking in the mirror and lamenting, "Why do I doooo this to myself?!" very dramatically. Besides screaming in the mirror and guzzling caffeine I have no suggestions. Commentators? Tom? Olivia? Erin? Jesus? Buddha? Superman? Any sage advice?

  22. Tom says:

    Ah, The Kev comes through. He may be a day late, but it’s an action-packed blog fer sure. The only thing that comes to my mind at this point, is that in some ways it would be nice to be inundated with writing work that people were paying me for. This is easy for me to say, because I have no pressure placed on me at this time, but it still brings up the point that one of the two of us is getting paid to write. That’s pretty cool. I wonder if your dad still thinks you don’t have a "real" job?

    I’ve written plenty of pieces under threat of deadline. Often, it’s the only thing that gets me moving, which would probably largely account for the lack of activity on my novel. (Oh, it is kind of cool to use the words "my novel" these days, I guess.) Crap, I gotta get something done on that. However, my plot is failing so large-istically at this point that my characters have just spent ten pages arguing about how bad it is. I think they’ve achieved self-awareness. That would be good, if it meant that they could figure out what the hell should happen next. I think someone is going to die or be seriously injured. Doesn’t seem fair after all they’ve been through together, and they’re all great kids, but what can I say?

    Good luck, homey. Enjoy that tea.

  23. I’ve actually been meaning to write about something similar to this whole "deadlines and stress help me get my work done" deal. For those of us writing fiction on our own time, with no deadlines at all, writing becomes very hard. Why?

    Because you don’t have to. No one is hassling you about getting this or that in. Any artificial date you set to have this or that story finished can simply be crossed off the calendar if things get busy because, who’s gonna bring the hammer down on you? No one.

    So if anyone else has a better system, please share.

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