I’ve got the shakes. On top of that, I just knocked over a glass of water and a large cup of Diet Coke, both spilling onto my cream-colored carpet. The carpet is only two years old. I don’t want it stained, so I just spent 30 minutes or so standing on towels trying to soak up the mess. It’s now 1:32 PM and I still haven’t started work. I thought I was starting work when I knocked over the glasses. Now I’m writing this instead of working on my sex book.
Last Friday night, I broke or jammed a toe. Last night, as I sat in bed with two computers, working hard on everything but the sex book, I accidentally slammed the injured toe into one of the computers. Man, that hurt. I have a tendency to break toes and sprain ankles when I’m under deadline. As you can imagine, I’ve broken a lot of toes over the years.
I know that my behavior — the spilling of drinks, the breaking of toes, the shakes — sounds like I’ve been experiencing boozy nights. No. Though I have been indulging in unhealthy behavior lately, it’s not alcohol. It’s cookies and cake and pizza and skipped workouts. This too is typical of me when I’m under deadline. I get to the point of saying screw everything until I get this book finished, though I guess since I’m writing a sex book I need to clarify that I don’t mean screw in the sexual sense.
Sex book. There you have it. That’s why I have the shakes. I’m terrified of this book. Of what I’ll expose. Of what my editor wants me to expose. What I need to expose to make this book great.
No, I’m not sure that’s true. I’m not terrified of the exposure. I’m terrified of the repercussions of the exposure. Of what my friends and family will think of me. How they’ll judge me. And … well, I could tell you more, but I’m not comfortable exposing all that right now and it might distract from my point, which by now you’re probably wondering what it is.
My point is that this is normal modus operandi for a writer. And I’m making this point for all the writers out there who come to me for coaching, who take classes from me, who come to my book signings to ask for advice, and who seek me out at conferences for a few words of encouragement.
My words of advice and encouragement are don’t be afraid of the fear or the panic. It’s part of writing. Now go (figuratively) jam a few toes, spill a few drinks, and get the shakes.
By the way, I wrote this a while back, so my toe is doing better. I haven’t spilled anything in a few days. I’ve eaten fish two nights in a row. I don’t have a slice of pizza or cake or a cookie in the house. And I’ve been making it to the gym four days a week. You can imagine how my rewrite is going. Well, okay, I haven’t had the shakes either but I have wakened in panic. Maybe there’s hope!