O my God, many people dream of being their own boss. Thank You that I have that privilege. However, their bosses give them this Labor Day holiday off. OMG, don’t You think my mean boss should let me goof off, too?
Friends and family urged me to celebrate the accomplishment. Those who know me best, however, stayed out of my way because I resembled a bear awakened from a long hibernation — groggy, growly, and ready to snap at anything that moves.
Now, having recovered as much as one can in two days, I join my husband in offering survival tips for those near and dear — including critique partners, writing friends, as well as normal people — in how to tame a post-deadline writing bear.
Let the bear sleep.
In fact, encourage the bear to snooze extra minutes in the morning, to retire early at night, to take naps. Nothing will increase the life expectancy of those in a writing bear’s path like a few additional zzz’s.
Conversely, nothing will guarantee the loss of at least one limb like the question, “Why are you so tired? You don’t work.”
Give the bear some honey.
In the face of bared fangs, this presents a challenge tougher than letting a writing bear sleep. But trust us, it works. When insecurity looms 3.5 seconds after the author hits “send,” pour on reassurance thick as honey: “You’re a good writer. You worked hard on this book.”
Even better: “We prayed about this book. God will use it.”
Accompanied by bear hugs, chocolate and other sweet things, this approach can’t go wrong.
Kick the bear in the butt.
Only use this tactic when the other two have been applied assiduously.
If, after generous amounts of sleep and support, the bear remains un-bear-able and spends valuable writing time playing infinite games of Candy Crush or watching Saved by the Bell reruns or the potholder channel, do what you’ve been aching to do for months. Give the writing bear a good boot in the bootie: “God has gifted you. Is this the way you propose to use His gifts?”
Then offer honey from the Rock in the form of questions such as “What did you learn from writing this book? What would you really like to write? And what has God been saying to you that should shape your next book?”
Any hints on how to handle the writing animal at your house?
I have discovered that God designs writers with His usual love for diversity. However, when it comes to the organizational aspects of our profession, we fall into two basic groups. With a scratch-my-head bow to our Father (I never will understand why He created people the way He did), and an apology to Jeff Foxworthy, I suggest the following:
You might be a piler if:
- You have an office at home but never work there because you can’t find your computer.
- You haven’t seen your office carpet since the Bush administration. Is the color still neon mauve?
- You can’t recall whether you have a window, either.
- You just moved into the house next door because your to-be-read stack of books has taken over your first home.
- You still haven’t unpacked from the 2006 American Christian Fiction Writers conference … or 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. … (Not admitting anything, here.)
- The number of your undeleted e-mail messages exceeds that of the national debt.
- You still have every story you’ve written since kindergarten. And every story your children have written. And every story your grandchildren have written. Plus all the rough drafts.
- Your smartphone, having given up on organizing you, has run away from home.
Yes, you are a piler.
On the other hand, you might be a filer if:
- You can see the top of your desk. No respectable piler would permit such a thing.
- You have scheduled morning, noon and night tweets and Facebook posts through the year 2021.
- You can eat on your kitchen table. If your family can, too, give yourself bonus filer points.
- You actually know where your goal list is.
- Every Facebook friend of yours has been categorized according to relationship, location, hairdo, and Popsicle flavor preference.
- Your idea of a good time is to alphabetize your recycling.
- Your latest mystery’s murderer is the only character in your novel who hates to file.
- Your smartphone and you go to Starbucks for regular coffee dates. It buys.
Yes, God knows where your membership belongs. And mine. So do our spouses or significant others. And our friends.
Your turn. Fill in the blank: you might be a filer/piler if .