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Jade Lee | Deadline Psychosis

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So we writers are generally a normal lot. No really! Yes, we talk to the voices in our heads. They’re characters, I swear! And yes, we spend hours staring into space and then claim we’re working. Imagination needs to be exercised! That takes time and chocolate. And last but not least, we envision in gruesome detail all sorts of murders, mayhem, and ugly things. But we also spend lots of time on the color and shape of fairy wings. And whether to spell that fairy or faery. (Or at least I do).

That is the writer in her normal balanced state. But sad to say, there is an alternate state, one my friend Eileen Dryer coined as DEADLINE PSYCHOSIS! That is when a deadline approaches and we have half the book to write in a month. Or less. Like a weekend. Yes, I actually knew an author who had one weekend to write half her book. She got it in and it was great, though it took her another few days to come off her caffeine high.

So what characterizes this dread disease? It begins with subtle symptoms. Any email that comes in is ignored or dealt with in the most expedient manner. It’s easy to delete ads, but what about that pesky insurance form? Give it to your 4 year old to fill out. It’ll be good practice for him. This symptom advances to the people who interrupt your writing time. Yes, I had this conversation (more or less) with my daughter:

“Mom, can I borrow the car?”

“No.”

“But you promised. You said...”

“Fine. Take the car, gas it up, and pick up groceries.”

“I don’t have time! I don’t have the money!”

“Go into my purse, take whatever you need, and LEAVE ME ALONE!”

According to my husband, she was gone for two days. I didn’t notice.

The next thing that happens is that my desk gets buried with stuff I don’t want to deal with. Mail, children’s toys, laundry, last night’s pizza–it’s all there. Then it starts migrating to the floor in a circle barrier around my desk chair. Right now, I have a collection of cardboard boxes of various shapes and sizes laying haphazardly between my chair and the door. Why? I have no freaking idea, but I don’t have time to deal with them. So there they sit like my castle walls.

My husband no longer says hello and good-bye to me when he leaves. He peeks his head in and if he sees me typing or staring or snarling he just leaves. He used to try to gently kiss me on the head, but then I nailed him with an elbow to the groin. Now he just goes. Same for when he returns home. Though he will occasionally breech my castle walls with a plate carrying a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or (even better) a mug of coffee. He’s bringing me food, so I don’t rip off his arm at the elbow, but there are times when it’s close.

Fortunately, he knows that eventually the book will finish. The beast will emerge from her lair and take a shower. The dishes will get cleaned and the office fumigated. And all will be right with the world. Until the next time...

So now it’s your turn. Ever hurt the one you love in the midst of a deadline? Accidentally wash the dog in the washing machine? Or if you haven't just say "I don't suffer from your madness. I hope you recover soon."

Jade Lee / Kathy Lyons
JadeLeeAuthor.com / KathyLyons.com

One lucky commenter will win a copy of my latest Jade Lee book, WICKED SURRENDER.

 

 

Comments

54 comments posted.

Re: Jade Lee | Deadline Psychosis

Jade Lee you do it again every time. I love the way you write your books.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:18am January 11, 2011)

I don't normally have this problem because I do not have
deadlines like that but I do feel the anxiety that has
caused me to snap at my family. I actually was told by my
husband to go to the doctor and get some "happy pills" I did
and am able to manage it a little more now. I do end up with
the walls built around me and in certain places in the house
and finally I just give up and throw "everything" away. I
feel bad for my kids when I get like this cause usually an
innocent toy gets tossed if it is in my line of sight. I
really hope you recover soon from your "Deadline Psychosis"
:) BTW... I checked out Wicked Surrender and it sounds
amazing!!!!
(Leagh Christensen 10:23am January 11, 2011)

Jade Lee: Loved the interview...interesting...and I'd love to read your books!
(Leanna Morris 10:25am January 11, 2011)

Romance is always a plus in any book. The bonus is the characters act differently than planned and each has thier own wicked way of acting out or doing something out the normal.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:44am January 11, 2011)

Never count out love in any relationship and always have a back-up plan.
(Anthonia Sharp 11:06am January 11, 2011)

Jade,
I have not read any of your books and would love a chance to win... I am so glad that you family always loves you even when your inner beast comes out...
Thank you for sharing with us.
Kelly
(Kelly Mueller 11:33am January 11, 2011)

Love is uncondentail and it canovercome any task or trial in the face of true despair or evil.
(Anthonia Sharp 11:35am January 11, 2011)

Jade -

I think I should become a writer so I have a logical reason for that pile of papers that covers my kitchen counter. You know the "to be filed" pile that makes it difficult to cook, write a note, find the phone book, find the phone?

I decided to simply blame it on the males in my household (otherwise everyone but me) and tell them it's a "girl" thing (okay I'm in my 60's so many it's a "senior moment".

Stick to your story that it's because of a deadline - now if only I could use it as an excuse - hmm, maybe there's a writer in me somewhere if only I could find a blank piece of paper to start!
(Jeanne Miro 11:36am January 11, 2011)

I've been on happy pills. They help! But mostly, it's the
love and understanding of my family. As for Jeanne's to be
filed pile...I actually have TWO BOXES of stuff to be filed.
Plus two more piles. Erp. I like that it could be girl
thing (though actually, my husband is just as bad).

THanks for the kind words everyone. And keep those comments
coming!
(Jade Lee 11:48am January 11, 2011)

I am still working on writing and i have so many ideas that if i do not write them down i will forget them and i have to start over again. I hope iw ill become a writer, i love books and i love to write.
(Anthonia Sharp 11:53am January 11, 2011)

I loved your description of your work day and relationship with your family. It's left a smile on my face.
(Anna Speed 12:09pm January 11, 2011)

I guess I need to become a writer also - like Jeanne above. I don't even have a family to blame for the mess in my home office. I know there's a microSD card adapter that I need in that jungle somewhere. So now I'm off on safari......
(r w 12:14pm January 11, 2011)

Anthonia! You know what it takes to be a writer? You just
sit down and write. Being a writer is not dependent on
publication or approval or anything other than your
willingness to sit down and do it. So...just do it!
(Jade Lee 12:15pm January 11, 2011)

"I don't suffer from your madness. I hope you recover soon."
I suffer my own personal hell, with my mom, my dght and husband who all do not get along I have to split my time visiting each one when I come home from work since I am the only working it is rough. My Husband suffers the most but I'm working on that on one. Welcome the wonderful, Crazy, downright rotten time on earth due to the current economy and every one being layed off at the same time. So all I have to say is "Stop the world I want off this crazy ride!"
(Cj Swier 12:58pm January 11, 2011)

I have heard similar stories told about my MIL, a now
retired romance author. My understanding is that she didn't
come out of her office for months at a time when she was
writing. And yes, she handed keys and credit cards to my
husband, who was a teenager at the time.

My husband is a writer and he tries hard to be aware of his
potential to do this too. However, it cuts into his writing
greatly. It will take him learning that it's OK to stay up
and write. I'm capable of going to bed and sleeping on my
own. Or with the dog. And I'm ok taking care of things
while he's preoccupied. So, spending a little less time
with me now is fine if it will get him where he wants to be,
writing full-time and not working a full-time job as well.
I fully support that. Any tips on getting this across to
him?

As for me, well, I work well under pressure. But I hate
being late. I snap and snarl if I think I'm going to be
late anywhere, anytime.
(Amy Rogers 1:21pm January 11, 2011)

I don't suffer from your madness, but now I know what to
expect from my daughter in the future :D
(Ilona Fenton 1:36pm January 11, 2011)

How grateful we readers for the imagination of you writers!
Blessings,
Marjorie
(Marjorie Carmony 1:50pm January 11, 2011)

I don't suffer from your madness. I hope you recover soon.
Too funny.

You must have been really into it to give your teenage daughter carte blanche with your purse!
(Anne Muller 2:06pm January 11, 2011)

I'm an accountant and every year-end, deadlines turn me in to a *itch. I growl at everyone, including the dog.
(Sue Farrell 2:43pm January 11, 2011)

:) I enjoyed reading your post!
(Colleen Conklin 2:48pm January 11, 2011)

Fortunately I do not have the deadline problem, at least not anymore since retirement! Yahoo, it is something to look forward to so there is hope.
(Elizabeth Parzino 3:03pm January 11, 2011)

That was funny!!! Haha!!!

Thanks for sharing some of your madness with us.

I must say that I am very much used to interruptions...it's a part of my life. With a hubby and eleven kids, can't get around it, so I just go through it...sigh!!!

Valerie
in Germany
(Valerie Bongards 3:14pm January 11, 2011)

I do not have your problem at all, but thank you for giving us a view of your life with a deadline looming. I have read several of your books and have enjoyed each one very much. I would love to have this one...
(Joyce Bruner 3:25pm January 11, 2011)

It sounds like you've got a tolerant husband -thank heavens he
understands the madness that can overtake a writer when
they're in the zone. For all I know, I could be agreeing to
buy my daughter something completely out of my price range
when I'm there!
(Margay Roberge 3:49pm January 11, 2011)

Oregon--my only advice is to keep telling him and telling
him it's okay. eventually, he'll start to believe you.

And yes, everyone, thank you for enjoying my particular
madness today! It was snowing today so I holed up and wrote
11 pages. I'm very proud of myself. And hubby will be too
since i"ll actually smile at him tonight!

Keep the comments coming! I love reading them!
(Jade Lee 4:25pm January 11, 2011)

Please, please recover soon because that will mean we have another of your
great books to read!! CONDOLENCES TO YOUR FAMILY!!!!!!
(Sandra Spilecki 4:34pm January 11, 2011)

I am new to your books but I love what I've read so far.
It is always comforting when the people who love you stand by you no matter what enean when we are being the big B
(Vickie Hightower 4:47pm January 11, 2011)

OMG! Too funny!! Although I must admit, I totally do the same types of things when on a deadline for my classes! I find myself spending almost every available moment in the studio, whether ceramic or photographic, and I don't eat well, don't sleep well (sleep, what's that?), don't get laundry done until absolutely forced to (i.s., the last pair of jeans is walking around the bedroom by itself), and so on.

I don't give anyone free access to my purse because for one thing, there usually isn't anything in it worth giving, and for another, I don't have anyone to give it to, but otherwise, yeah. I've don't a lot of those things.

Later,

Lynn, laughing away!
(Lynn Rettig 5:15pm January 11, 2011)

We all have bad days. But family usually forgive.
(Deb Pelletier 5:19pm January 11, 2011)

I have had my moments of beastliness. It's family - all is forgiven.
(Mary Preston 5:27pm January 11, 2011)

I really enjoyed Wicked Surrender so I am glad that you have more stories coming even if others must suffer.
(Maureen Emmons 5:37pm January 11, 2011)

Love finding a new author!
(Linda Daley 5:43pm January 11, 2011)

hi jada i follow you on her and face book and may be twitter i am not sure but your books sound great and the people will be great wish you the best and hope to win one one day
(Desiree Reilly 6:23pm January 11, 2011)

I don't suffer from Deadline Psychos, but I do tend to procrastinate; well, sometimes, occasionally, maybe. Yes, I do. Then it's the OSM -- what have I done. Or didn't do?!? Same thing, but just different situations. *head desk*
(Cynthia Netherton 6:27pm January 11, 2011)

Deadline psychosis sounds like an interesting way to lead into a story. The heroine gets into the psychosis, all her roomies leave while she keeps writing, then when she emerges, she runs into...
(Carol Drummond 6:47pm January 11, 2011)

I'm in it to win this great book!
(Silvana Moscato 6:55pm January 11, 2011)

sometimes I think deadline pressure squeezes more out of our brain cells, sometimes painfully, but finally gets the job done.
(Diane Sallans 7:06pm January 11, 2011)

Deadline psychosis seems like a reasonable conclusion to most
other deadline activities (English papers, taxes, FDA filings,
open heart surgery, etc.).
(S Tieh 7:23pm January 11, 2011)

totally love this read; since i a bad (or good) procrastinator, I have this deadline often in my life!!!!
(Barbara Studer 7:38pm January 11, 2011)

I don't know about Deadline Psychosis, but I'm less able to deal with stress. I once put my car keys in the refrigerator, and then had a melt down when I couldn't find them! When I gave up, got the spare keys and grabbed my lunch to go to work...there they were.
(Michele Lawrence 8:09pm January 11, 2011)

Yes, I do go crazy, not as a writer, but others deadlines. I think we all honestly do. Maybe the craziness is part of the way that you write, and you need it. That might be something for you to think of.
(Debra Simning-Chapman 8:21pm January 11, 2011)

It sounds like a pretty stressful life with all those deadlines, I look forward to this book.
(Kathleen Bianchi 8:28pm January 11, 2011)

I have to confess that I feel guilty for devoting so much time to my work or my dogs (dog shows) and taking the time away from my son when I'm facing deadlines. I don't remember ever causing him or anyone physical harm... but I can see where it could get so crazy that could happen. It can get really crazy sometimes.
Thank you for this contest today!
(Linda Townsend 9:01pm January 11, 2011)

I know when I'm really stressed at work I tend to get short tempered and bitchy. At home, I definitely have a short fuse. So, I can relate!
(MaryAnne Banks 9:02pm January 11, 2011)

I don't have deadlines like you do but I feel like I am always racing the clock and calendar.
Usually when I start snarling a bit everyone treats me better because I rarely snarl and they know it takes a lot of abuse for me to go to the dark side.
So I know how your feel.

Good luck managing your deadline psychosis.
(Gigi Hicks 9:20pm January 11, 2011)

Yes, I do believe that many times, we end up hurting
the ones we love...Hopefully, they forgive our madness/
psychosis! Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com
(Cindi Hoppes 9:38pm January 11, 2011)

Jade. I am so like you, minus the food boxes!! lol For months now, I have been trying desperately to get caught up with my e-mails. My life is quite hectic here because I am a caretaker where I live, plus I help with a volunteer knitting class once a week. Between looking at patterns on line, and the mail I receive from sites, as well as dear friends who seem to decide to "love" me all at the same time, cause a vicious cycle for me. At the present time I have over 500 pieces in my inbox, and I'm determined to look at every piece if it kills me!! My Husband doesn't understand at times, and having dial-up service slows me down. On the days he is more understanding means lunch or dinner dates at the local McDonald's so I can get some high speed downloading done, which helps a lot. I've actually been down in the 300's, which was such a treat for me!! I've even thought about being an author, and would probably pattern myself after you. Congratulations on your new book!! I'm sure it will do well, and I will find time to read it - I promise!
(Peggy Roberson 10:58pm January 11, 2011)

My thoughts went immediately to something my son said one time. I over heard him telling someone one time that when his Mom gets into a good book and he tries to talk to me, all he gets is noises in response.
(Christine Stack 11:09pm January 11, 2011)

A little madness can be a good thing. Keep up the good work.
(Ginger Hinson 11:20pm January 11, 2011)

I have experienced those reactions! And I took note for the next time my deadlines loom...
(Robin Daily 12:43pm January 12, 2011)

Whew, it's a good thing I have neither husband nor children to interrupt me in my misery; either I would be a goner or the others. No, no, I've never written a book, but I remember writing term papers or letters, filling out forms and applications under deadline conditions, and your jeremiad rings very true. I'm still hoping to get around to writing my Christmas/New Year's wishes and am sitting here in very similar conditions as you described. My health is always rather indifferent and I feel most comfortable lying down, unless I surface to watch the newscasts or try to catch up on e-mail a bit. You can't do much writing lying down. It's a good thing my one attempt at writing a story ended ignominiously more than 45 years ago.
(Sigrun Schulz 12:57pm January 12, 2011)

Jade I have always loved your stories. You do write interesting tales and I enjoyed making you part of the Cindy club LOL
(Cindy Olp 3:02am January 12, 2011)

Wow, everyone! Glad to hear I'm not alone in my psychosis!
And that for those who have a more sane life, they can at
least reassure me that family still loves me even when I'm
nuts.

Sigrun--I once had a rib infection that kept me on my back
for 2 months. Sitting was hideous, standing okay, lying
down perfect. So I ended up pulling my computer onto the
floor with me and learned how to type on my stomach. Very
odd, but it worked for as long as I needed it to. But i can
sympathize. It's hard to work while lying down. I'm much
too prone to close my eyes then...
(Jade Lee 2:22pm January 12, 2011)

A deadline is a promise to finish, but that's not always kept since life throws a few detours along the way.
(Alyson Widen 1:48pm January 18, 2011)

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