3 S.R. Johannes: Secret ailments from revision deadlines

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Secret ailments from revision deadlines

When you are in the midst of revisions and deadlines (whether it be agent imposed, editor imposed, NaNoWriMo imposed) , you tend to put your life on hold.

You roll up your sleeves and dive in.

Determined. Excited, Hopeful.

Then you get in the middle of it.

And you curse, sigh, cry, and force yourself to sit and fight through it. Doubt sets in.

No one talks about the ailments of writing under speedy deadlines. It is a problem swept under the rug of the writing community. The embarrassing things we hide and don't talk about it out of embarrassment or fear of quarantine.

I'm here to bust the door open on these ailments and create a support group - in sympathy of all the writers who have to turn around deadlines in record time.

Here is a List of Common Writer Ailments (resource: WriterMD). Read it! It could save your life!

PB-ASS (also know as Pancake Bottom) - This is a very common problem that no one talks about. It a very "tush"e subject
  • Causes - sitting in the same chair for way too long, genetics, no support
  • Symptoms - sore buttocks, butt falling asleep, cramps, widening measurements, and saggy pants.
  • Cures - butt squeezes, squats, donut hole pillows, or butt implants

The Claw
- This is a problem for many writers.
  • Causes - lack of typewriter training
  • Symptoms - your hands look like they could be doubles in the Thriller video, kids think you are trying to scare them when they come around the corner, carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Cures - Typewriter lessons, prayer, stress ball exercises

(Also know as Major Sleep deprivation)
- This one is hard to notice if you have a problem with kids waking in middle of night, late night prank calls, friends on the west coast, and snoring husbands.
  • Symptoms - grumpiness, burning eyes, deliriousness (is that a word)
  • Causes - no showers (yes you heard me right) staying up late, writing for 18 hrs straight, overactive mind, too much work - not enough time
  • Cure (rare) - hubbies who allow you to sleep in!

(also know as Sugar & Caffeine Rush)
- ok so we can get this a lot.
  • Symptoms - the shakes (which makes it hard to write), stomach aches, vegetable deprivation, dehydration, quicker movements
  • Causes - chocolate, candy corn, sweet tea, coffee with hazelnut cream (the non sugar free kind)
  • Cures - detox, pace your office, pace outside

(SlipperFeet/Sweatpants Syndrome) - also known as MommyWear
  • Symptoms - 3 new pairs of sweats, lazy feet
  • Causes - shoes with soft fur inside
  • Cures - not available at this time. Incurable.

The WHAAAAs (Uncontrollable bouts of tears)
  • Symptoms - crying at commercials, crying at kids, crying b/c you forget to make lunch
  • Causes - see all the ailments listed above
  • Cures - hugs, encouragement, colored pictures slipped under the door, turning in your work on time
Should you experience the above ailments,
  • Don't call your agent! (or editor)
  • Do call your writer friends (Thanks Katie&Kimberly!)
  • Don't yell at your family
  • Do call your mom
  • Don't give up
  • Do step outside and breathe
  • Do ask for help
  • Do pat yourself on the back
If you have not experienced any of these ailments, please call for help!

Denial and avoidance can be fatal!

If you have come across any other ailments, please let us know in the comments.

You could save a life!


Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

ROFLMAO! Brilliant post! You've given me the giggles.

Catherine Denton said...

The "Hunch" is the only one I would add. Permanently bent over from reading and re-reading manuscript pages.

This post was awesome.

PJ Hoover said...

LOL! Pancake butt. Butt implants are something I will never have to consider no matter how many revisions I do!
Good luck!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Hahaha! So true!

Rhiannon Hart said...

I suffer from MHS: Messy House Syndrome. Can only be cured by audiobooks on my mp3 player as it turns cleaning from the TOTAL waste of time it is into something that approaches research. And we all know that for writers, reading is working. Very fun working, might I add ;)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This post is fabulous! How about blurred vision and chronic computer-directed hostility? ;-)

V. S said...

The hunch is my problem. Smart post!

Gail said...

I haven't had the pleasure of agent/editor rewrite demands yet BUT manuscript revisions after critique groups usually give me the Hunch complicated by LBP (lower back pain)

Thanks for the warnings- I'll post them near the computer!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

That was roll on the floor, hold on to your side and try not to --- your pants funny.

You're... ummm... not trying to avoid revisions are you????

Unknown said...

Ooh, mommywear...ouch. That one hit a bit close to home. :)

Suzanne Young said...

HA HA HA!!! I suffer from all of the above! I need an intervention!!!

Awesome post!!!

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I have an award for you!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yeah, sometimes I need a spatula to scrape me off the chair. :) you're too funny!

Sherrie Petersen said...

I'm experiencing the MSd right now :)

Pen said...

Haha, love the post.Hmmm, yes the hunch is a big one. I also struggle at times to get my head back in the real world when life decides to intrude. Think that one might be incurable as well. *sigh*

Kristi Valiant said...

All of these also apply to picture book illustrators who work digitally. And I'm finding pregnancy increases the symptoms tenfold.

Kelly Polark said...

Mommywear and MsD are just too common here. :)
Hilarious post, Shelli!

Katie Anderson said...

hilarious!!!!! But what I find so fascinating is the insane inner desire to keep on doing it... Obsessively! All of this sick stuff is addictive?!

who knew?

Patti said...

So funny because it's true.

Windy said...

Too funny! Thanks for sharing. Especially those visual aides!

Elana Johnson said...

I have all of these! However, since I sit and eat bubble gum or soda or chocolate or whatever, my bum is less than flat. It's sad really.

But I'm so with you on revisions. I has a bad case of them. BAD.

Alyson Noel said...

Finally someone tells it like it is!

Good job!


Rebecca Knight said...

AHAHAHAHA! Is it bad that I'm not even a Mommy and I have the "mommywear" issue? ;) Uh oh!

lisa and laura said...

Too funny. And yes, we've suffered from all of the above. I also tend to get TMJ from all of the Twizzlers.

Ellie Kings said...

What an awesome post Shelli! You're hilarious! BTW, I'm suffering from the first four on your list. Love it!

Gerb said...

How about The Ledge Syndrome - severe panic attacks which require editor, agent, writers' group, husband, best friend, mother and/or all of the above to approach writer with chocolate and a soothing voice to convince same that MS does not suck, career is not over and this deadline, too, shall pass (otherwise known as 'talking down from the ledge.')

Christina Farley said...

I love this post! It's so awesome. I totally identify with this. It's nice to know there are other people going through the same things.

mary.anne.gruen@gmail.com said...

I've experienced some of these! Especially the ones near the center, Major Sleep Deprivation, Sugar & Caffeine Rush, and SlipperFeet/Sweatpants Syndrome. LOL

Stina said...

Oh this was too funny! I wear yoga pants so I at least look stylish when I take my kids to the bus stop. And people just assume I'm some sort of yoga guru even though I'm as flexible as a drinking glass. And my slipper *starts crying* . . . well I finally figure out where all the weird pieces of rubber were coming from.

Good luck with the revisions. :D

Natalie said...

Shelli, you are obviously hilarious (or delirious). Thanks for the laugh. :)

Lori W. said...

Thank you. Hilarious. MsD? Yes, definitely, and that crying one. Thank goodness for writer friends.

Elissa J. Hoole said...

hahahaha I have all of these, with the addition of the hunch and the messy house syndrome.

also the inability to speak to humans who exist outside of my computer...