Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Problem

I feel like I’ve given the blog short shrift lately and the fact is, it’s true – and I’m sorry about that. We’re all working writers at Topdown (thank goodness) and sometimes looming deadlines simply have to take priority over the blog. I know. Hard to believe but us girls gotta eat. So do our critters. And occasionally the dh likes something other than take out :o)

In any event, I’ve been chasing a March 2 deadline for several months now on a book that I was hoping to wrap up in around 400 manuscript pages. It ain’t happening. I’m well over that page count and may soon have to re-title it: The Book That Will Never End. Somewhere along the way both the plot and the relationship got too complicated and I’ve been trying to write my way out ever since. And now, here I am, once again, attempting to slog my way out of a book that sounded like it would be so simple and so much fun to write. Will I ever learn??

I find this has always been a pattern with me. For example, when our son was still in school and I was asked to be a den mother for his cub scout pack, I said, "No Problem.” What was I thinking? Yes, it was enjoyable and I loved working with the kids but I would dream up these wild projects – once I took ten 8 year old boys hiking along a shallow creek bed looking for animal tracks that we then cast in plaster. You already see the problem with this scenario, don’t you? 10 boys? Water? Mud? Gooey plaster? OMG. I thought that afternoon would never end. I was also always the mom who got involved in throwing parties for the football team, taking a part in the local community theatre, stitching up costumes for Halloween or writing skits for pep club. No Problem. A LOT of fun – but yeah, it was a problem. And still I’d do it all over again.

This post is another example. I should have been a 'no problem' issue for me to get it posted but Blogger didn't like me last night when I tried to post and I've been scrambling ever since trying to figure out what the heck to do. What should have taken me 1/2 and hour tops, has ended up eating about 3 hours of my time. But it's up now!! (Thanks Helen)

Okay, so what I want to know is, do you ever get into a project anticipating it will take X amount of time and the next thing you know you’re utterly consumed and over run by it and there’s no end in sight? When was the last time your ‘best laid’ plans went awry? When that often uttered, “Oh, I can wrap that up in a sec. No problem,” turned into a huge time drain and a huge problem? And if this doesn’t happen to you …. How the heck do you do it?
Oh - and there were going to be pictures but guess what? It turned out to be a problem :o(


Keri Ford said...

I do this quite a bit. In fact, did it yesterday! Son's bedroom needed to be rearranged. He's getting to where he likes to watch a little tv before going to bed. And the former arrangement of tv and bed wouldn't let him do so. Move a little furniture. I’m thinking 30minutes top. So here I go, kicking toys to one ends and start pushing. And nothing happens. Too heavy.

Next thing I know, the mattress, box spring, rocking chair, and other toys were in the hall. Got the bed moved out far as I could. And then I had to vacuum. Lots of fun getting the vacuum down the hall. And really, where does my boy find bits of trash to drop in the tiny crack between the wall and bed anyway? Got one corner vacuumed and stuck it in the hall.

Still needed to move the dresser. Jerked out all six drawers and started pushing with one hand and held the wobbling mirror with the other. Had to vacuum where the dresser was because of more bits of trash, I’m starting to think aliens live in there because it’s pieces of foil and wood chips. Wiggled dresser in place and shoved on the bed some more. Finally got the bed turned around and in place.

Pushed the vacuum in one corner, chest of drawers in another. And was able to bring the rocking chair in so I could get to the mattress and springs so son would quit jumping on the bed brace things. By now, son has dragged out toys faster than what I can kick them out of the way. I’m covered in sweat, gasping for air, and the muscles are burning. Put the tv/vcr back together and call it a day. Few hours later, I hear a loud boom.

Son pushed his tv off the dresser. Yep. Room needed to be REARRANGED so the tv could go back on the high chest-of-drawers. I started this project around 9am and finished with hubs about 8pm.

And hey, I’ll don’t mind taking a look at the mss of yours *verybiggrin*

Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- Been there. Doing that. (g) Feels sort of like you've been ambushed doesn't it??

I'm so sorry I took a break from email last night! I missed the SOS but our intrepid Helen picked up.

What do I do when something that was supposed to be easy blows up in my face? First I say things I shouldn't say. (g) And then I completely swallow my pride and drop a dime to anyone who could possibly help me.

Writer friends, business friends, Mom, sister, hubby, cat or dog. I start hauling in favors. (g) Usually someone either "talks me down" or talks me through a solution or offers to do something to take the pressure off.

Debra Dixon said...

Keri! LOL! You poor baby. What an awful sound to hear because you know it's just not going to end well when you go look.

Helen Brenna said...

Painting my kitchen this last time comes immediately to mind. Since it's red, I figured it would take 3 coats rather than 2. Hello. 6. Yep, 6 coats. I found out later I was supposed to use a gray primer. Right.

Deb - I actually didn't fix Cindy's post. She did it all by her lonesome!! I was out walking the dogs when she called and helped her figure out what to do. Now's she knows something about html coding and LOOK OUT!

lois greiman said...

Cindy, I have a April 1 deadline so I'll soon be right where you are. And yet...I'm coaching a little competition called horsebowl. I've done it for about a dozen years so you'd think it would be no big deal, but I become obsessed with it. I will actually wake up in the middle of the night thinking of terms the girls should know. "OMG, they don't know what azoturia is!!" That sort of thing. Seriously, I can obsess about anything. I should get a t-shirt. Hey, I should make one for every rider. :)

Good luck with your deadline.

Kathleen Eagle said...

That's me in a nutshell, Cindy. Always. Every book. Most projects. There's a movie with Meryl Streep as the dying supermom who tells her daughter something like: Your father likes to say, "Less is more." But I've always thought more is more.

Good grief, Cindy, won't we everlearn to KISS?

Cindy Gerard said...

Keri - I think we use the same play book. Conclusion: There is no hope for us. :o)

Deb - you'll notice I did not hesitate to contact you and Helen and Michele in the hopes you could bail me out of my blogger dilemma :o) I don't hesitate to holler for help. It's embarrassing somethings, though.

Cindy Gerard said...

Yes, Helen. I have no shame. You couldn't even get a morning walk in with your lovely doggies without ME pestering you. And 6 coats of paint? that definitely qualifies as a 'no problem' problem :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Lois - okay. You're heading the wrong direction again? T-shirts for every rider? I see a 'no problem' problem on your horizon.
And what the heck is an azoturia???

Cindy Gerard said...

Kathy, sadly i think that you and I might fall into the "Can't teach an older, mature super fantastic lovely female dog" new tricks.
i suspect we are doomed.

Michele Hauf said...

I think I actually got the post working this morning. :-) Doesn't matter. It's up! And I think I take a lot of 'no problem' tasks on hand, but always remind myself that "I did ask for this" so try not to complain. Hmm, maybe I need to complain more?

catslady said...

I use to be like that because I would never say no but that's one advantage to old age - I now say no thank you, not at this time, etc. I went the route of home room mother, girl scout leader, women's club secretary, etc. etc. The best part is I no longer do things I don't have time for or that was too time consuming or I felt pressured into.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Michele - really? You think you did it? Because I clicked on the HTLM thingy and took out all the funny junk, hit post and voila, it was there. Maybe we crossed wires and some magic cosmic cyber thing happened. Anyway, thanks no matter how did it. Mucho appreciated!

Cindy Gerard said...

Catslady - yeah, I thought I'd reached that time in my life too. But still, I end up agreeing to speak here or there or wherever, or read someones 'stuff', judge a contest. It seems like no problem at the time because, well, it's wayyy in the future. then the future becomes the present and oh, crap, I'm eyeballs deep in that 'no problem' thing again.
Okay. I'm going to practice now: "No. No. Sorry. No."
I think I've got it :o0
Now if I could just get this book done!!!!!!!!

Michele Hauf said...

Hee. I don't know now! It wasn't posted this morning, so I hit 'publish' then it showed up. I think we were working at the same time. whatever!

Hey, if you have a lot of extra words in your story, I could use about...30K. Send them my way!

Debra Dixon said...

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could just move words around and "presto" they'd work for the next story?

Cindy Gerard said...

Wouldn't it be lovely if we could just move words around and 'presto' they'd work for the CURRENT story?
Sorry, that's where I am right now.
Also practicing avoidance.
I'm going back to work now. Really.

Kylie said...

I had to look twice at the post to be sure I hadn't written in my sleep, LOL! Last time I underestimate time necessary to complete something...wait, I posted about last Oct! That was *my* book that wouldn't end. And we can title this one the book that refuses to be written!

I'm a volunteer-aholic. There should be a twelve step program. The problem is, when you've involved in a few different activities, you can bet they will have something major due at exactly the same time. And since I constantly underestimate how much time it will take me to write a book, a book is usually due at the same time.

Anyway, Cindy, I feel your pain and share your stress!

Cindy Gerard said...

Kylie - I agree. You are a volunteer-aholic. You over extend farther than anyone I know.

Fingers crossed that you meet your deadline too.

Betina Krahn said...

I'm always getting into projects and then learning that they take more time than I'd planned. Often because I try to include others.

I'm not an anti-social person, honestly. But doing something myself often means getting it done faster and to my standards. Does this mean I'm getting to be one of "those" old ladies? You know, the kind that can't bear to have somebody wear shoes on their carpets or wash their dishes for them?


Cindy Gerard said...

Ohhhh Betina ... that way lies trouble :o)

amy*skf said...

OMG. My husband always says, "Why do you say yes to these things..."

Love to volunteer until I actually have to volunteer--still love it, just don't have the time.

And yeah, every single household I just figure out how much time it will take me and then I double it. It seems to work. Unless cans of worms are involved--and you know they're alwaays involved--little buggers.

Kathleen said...

I am a planner. Everything has to be just right. Last summer when I was helping to plan my niece's grad party, with one of her other aunts, other relatives and some of her friends, I knew I was in trouble. I make lists, lists, and more lists of things that have to been done. What can I say I am a detailed person. I schedule everything that had to be done, everybody new what they had to to do and then it was show time. Of course nothing went according to plan except me turning up at the specified time to meet. Just let say I got slightly freaked out and leave it at that.
My mother claims that I am early for everything because she had me four days early. So hey what can I say.
But Cindy I would rather you meet your deadlines than blog, as I cannot wait to read another of your fantastic books. I finished "Whisper No Lies" it was fantastic. And I cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out.

Cindy Gerard said...

Amy - I LIKE that. Figure out the time and then double it!! That's gonna be my new plan of action.

And Kathleen. I have lists. Lots of lists. Problem is, I forget where I put them :o)
And thanks for the props on the books. I'm scrambling. Mendoza's story will on in the cyber mail to New York first thing Monday morning - provided I actually FINISH THE BOOK!!!!!! :o)

Nikki said...

Let me just say this: I am a teacher of 11 & 12 year old creatures. Of course this happens to me. About 3 or 4 times a week. I think my whole life is like that.