Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sh*t Writers Say

Here I am, the WiP well in hand. Or so I keep saying.

Do you know the single utterance I’ve uttered the most in the last six weeks?

“I’m almost done.”

Lately when people ask me how the writing’s going—and generally they don’t, that was more for rhetorical purposes right there—what I hear myself claim over and over again is that I’m just about finished with my latest manuscript. And the thing is, I truly believe it.  I say it with a straight face every time.

"Yup. Just about there. Only a few more days. Maybe some tweaking here or there, but really, I’m all but done."

What is up with that?

Granted I fully admit to being the type to underestimate how long things will take and how much work they’ll be. But as I say so often, if I didn’t routinely underestimate things, I wouldn’t undertake anything at all. Self-deception is but one of the many important tools in your average writer’s handbag. It’s right next to proper grammar and usage, a level of obsessive devotion that would put Edward Cullen to shame, and the wee little package of Kleenex for periodically weeping your eyes out (see: soul crushing disappointment, December 2011, as but one example).

But really, this is getting silly. It seems to take as long to do the last 2 percent as it takes to do the first 98 percent. I’ve been teetering on the brink of doneness for the better part of a month, and yet I seem to draw no closer to the end. The End just beckons me through a hazy heat wave, like an obnoxious mirage. Yoo-hoo! Come and get me! Yes, that’s what it says as it waves its hanky at me. Then it moons me.

Please tell me that it’s not just me who does this. Please tell me that you also make grandiose claims and optimistic projections about when your manuscript will be ready for consumption, only to recant, backtrack, and otherwise flip-flop like an election-year politician.