January 24, 2006


Monday is my Hell-Pit day. It goes like this:
Get up at 5:30 and work out. Get Sam to School. Get Maisy to Preschool. Work on book for five hours. Pick up Maisy and change her into to Dance togs. As soon as Sam walks in the door, leave for Dance Class. Change Maisy to Street clothes and get Sam in B-Ball Togs. Make dinner and feed kids. Go to Basketball. Send Sam off to the showers and bathe Maisy. Put kids to bed. Watch Medium. Fall into a coma.

I lather, rinse and repeat this every Monday. It's a MARATHON.

SO, yesterday, I was in the middle of the WORK FIVE HOURS part, and I hit a SNAG in the middle of Chapter 7. I immediately quit trying to pass go, deferred my 200 dollars and went back to the beginning of the book ---It's how I work. I never panic, just rewind and tinker until I figure out what happens next. ( <---OMG what a whopper THAT was. Forgive the digression, But I was just rereading this before posting and came across this FAT AND HAIRY LIE. I can't believe I SAID that. Anyone who knows me is ROLLING on the floor howling. I never panic, my BUTT.)

The truth is I IMMEDIATELY panic and then I march around howling to the gods about injustice and what made me think I could write books, or wait I HAVE written books, but what made me think I could write THIS book when clearly it is beyond me and I am a bad person and my pants are still a little too tight ALL THE WAY FROM CHRISTMAS and what kind of a person still has CHRISTMAS BUTT in the LAST week of JANUARY, I ask you, and the only answer is a BAD ONE who cannot write this book and that is JUST the sort of person who should be FED TO WOLVES, especially given that the Christmas butt ALONE could nourish two good size wolves, SO YES! YES! I MUST BE FED TO WOLVES! ALIVE! WITH NO NOVOCAIN! And as they rend my small intestines I should cry out in grateful gratitude, saying, "THANK YOU! THANK YOU WOLVES! THANK YOU FOR SAVING THE UNIVERSE FROM THIS BOOK I WAS TRYING TO INFLICT UPON IT."

Yeah. That's a little more accurate. After the wolves finish, THEN I calmly rewind and tinker until I figure out what happens next. Lordy. So anyway, back to Monday, after the NOT PANICKING *snort*, I go back and I reread Chapter 1. Out loud. Best way to do it.

DIGRESSION THE SECOND: Chapter 1 is, excuse me, approaching gorgeous. This is the converse and EQUALLY ugly side to the whole EAT ME, OH WOLVES thing. When I am bad, I am very very bad, but when I am pleased with myself, I am downright abhorrent. I reread Chapter 1 out loud and had to stop and pretty much make out with myself every other paragraph. Had the wolves come to eat me then, they would have turned up their noses at the unappetizing over-abundance of SMUG I was emitting from every pore. You would have thought I had just written Genesis. Yish. You know, one thing that IS true is that for good or ill, I am almost never luke warm. Hot? Yes, we have that! Cold? Honey, you can get hypothermia off me some days. But if you want Luke Warm, we sold out of that at.....well. Pretty much, birth.

So after basically having to take a moment to be alone with Chapter 1 and rub its pages lasciviously up and down my thighs, I had to deal with Chapter 2, which is Chapter 1's awkward little sister. 2 is PERHAPS a future beauty, but has braces and a monstrous nose-zit just now. I went to work on it, and it obligingly GREW UP for me quite a bit. Grew LITERALLY, expanding and fleshing itself out until I realized it was splitting like an amoeba. This book is, like gods in Alabama, Southern lit built over the bones of Murder Mystery, so pacing is hugely important. I realized Chapter 2 needed to be two separate entities. SO, I made Chapter 2 be Chapters 2 and 3, and then I had to go RESAVE the whole book, moving the numbers. ( DIGRESSION: Let me pause here and answer the silent questions of the technologically proficient: YES, I do save each chapter in a sepearate file. YES, I do know this is stupid and inefficient.) SO, I had to go save the second half of 2 as 3 and the old 3 as 4 and so on, until 7 had magically become 8. I sat back, pleased with myself, until I suddenly realized....I had just BRILLIANTLY OVERWRITTEN the two of my chapters, namely 4 and 5. ('Nother Silent Question Answer: YES, I do know if I had saved it a whole MS this never would have happened. THANKS.) I realized they were just...gone. WEEKS of work. Gone gone for truly gone. Then the next part of the story is sad:

I cried and cried.
Then I thought, "WAIT! Did I save those chaps to my back-up CD?"
I checked my back-up CD.
No. I had not yet done that. My back up stopped at 3. HEH.
I rebooted my eyeballs and set them on "Cry More."
Then I thought, "WAITWAITWAIT. Did I MAIL those chaps to my CRIT PARTNER and YES I DID so they MUST BE in my SENT FILE!"
So I went and looked and I HAD mailed them....but as FETUSES, when they SUCKED, hours and hours and hours and three possible discarded plot trees worth of work ago.
Then I cried MORE.

When I was so dessicated I could not squeeze out any more cries, I went and hurled myself on the sofa and watched Game Show Network and ate an entire ten ounce bag of raw baby spinach. As I chewed my leafy greens, an idle thought wandered through my brain, something about G-Mail. I turned off PASSWORD PLUS and I thought, "Wait. Did I get a wild hair on Friday and mail ALL the chaps to myself over at my G-Mail Address while I was on the phone with Karen, just randomly, not even really thinking about it? Maybe I did? Just in case I was this stupid, and look, I was?"

SO I went and checked my G-Mail account and THERE THEY WERE.

So. Monday was fun.

Posted by joshilyn at January 24, 2006 9:29 AM

OMG, I need a break after just READING about your Monday, much less living through it. All that and the Augusta thing to worry about too. I think you need some new shoes. At least you'll be stylish as you walk around Augusta mumbling, "Is this where I'm supposed to be?"

Posted by: chris at January 24, 2006 9:37 AM

Just so that you aren't alone in the stupidity of saving each chapter as a separate file, I do the same thing. It makes it easier on me to "SEE" it all laid out. I also have overwritten multiple chapters in doing this insane form of file saving. But its how I work, along with taking out a pencil and notebook to write the book, then the semi-edit upon transposing this onto the computer. Really it doesn't matter how inefficient anything is as long as this is how it works for you. It would probably cost you TONS more time and effort to change yourself.

But I'm so thoroughly relieved that you found the overwritten files. That would truly suck. *Mental note to backup more*

Posted by: Tina at January 24, 2006 10:06 AM

Oh, goodness, Joss, what would i do without you? I need you to make me giggle.

Posted by: Heather at January 24, 2006 10:45 AM

AND you even ate spinach instead of junk food. After a panic session like that, I would've stuck my face in a bag of Reeses.

You are awesome.

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 24, 2006 10:51 AM

I am so glad it's not just me who does the wild swings of lascivious to dangling over the abyss by my toenails. I STILL think that word should be "laviscious," though, which is what I thought it actually WAS until about my third year of college when I said it out loud once and everybody stared at me. But, I mean, LAVISCIOUS just sounds so much more... um... onomatopoeic, somehow. Like something you would lick. Which would NOT be spinach for me. Reese's. Definitely.

I do make ginormous word files with all the chapters in one thingie, though. Because then I can word-count myself all day long, before emailing the honking thingie to my yahoo account at the end of the day, with humble prayers that it is not all massive suckiness put into the body of the email.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at January 24, 2006 11:04 AM

I still have Christmas butt from 15 Christmasses ago, so I don't think you really need to panic about that just yet :)

Posted by: Kitty at January 24, 2006 11:07 AM

I quit smoking on December 1st 1996, by Christmas, the bubble butt my husband adored was required to have its own zip code. Then menopause set in and the city council is now considering a double zip code utility fee to boost the city coffers. Will rubbing your book over my double zip code help reduce its size? It seems to do something for your thighs...so I was hoping.

Mr. Husband might back me up on this thought...Flash drive...say it after me...flash drive...see how easy that was. Saving in a few places...and your yahoo mail would maybe ease your mind a little bit more.

Gosh, now I need to go to work, you've worn me out...I am laughing but exhausted. I hope you have a more balanced, happy Tuesday.

Posted by: Cele at January 24, 2006 12:15 PM

*Smacks self on head*
Cele you genius.... I have a flash drive just sitting in its brand new case (over a year old now mind you) that I've just never used. Brillance. Simple, elegant Brillance.

Posted by: Tina at January 24, 2006 12:35 PM

Oh my gosh, as soon as you said you were changing numbers around I thought "oh please don't let her overwrite anything!" Very happy you found your lost chapters!

Posted by: Heather Cook at January 24, 2006 12:52 PM

I'm a one-chapter-per-file person, too. AND I use a flash drive. Two, in fact. AND I archive at intervals on CD's. AND I keep them in different geographic locations in case of fire, famine, whatever. Nevertheless, just days ago, I had to email friends and family to see if anyone still had a little snippet I'd sent them. It existed ONLY in that email. My dear, sweet, blessed friend and candidate for sainthood, Kathleen, still had it. *kissing her feet* IT IS NOW SAVED AS A FILE, thankyouverymuch. I'm so relieved to hear you recovered yours.

Posted by: David at January 24, 2006 1:25 PM

Wow, I SO needed to have read about this last night to jog the memory. I just blogged about serial nightmares and I completely forgot to mention this horrible scenario as my number one worst serial nightmare of all times. Sorry this wasn't a bad dream, Joshilyn, but hooray for your happy ending!

Posted by: cathy at January 24, 2006 1:55 PM

OMG, I'm giving you a flash drive for your birthday.

My first novel is divided up into 8 files on my computer, while my second is in one humongo file, and actually, I think I'm going to have to go back and divide it up, because scrolling through 172 pages of text is just a huge pain in my
Christmas butt.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at January 24, 2006 3:29 PM

Laugh at me if you must — and, yeah, you must – but I write first drafts in longhand on Steno pads. Have yet to have one of those go corrupt or fail to back up.

Also, after retyping a novel into the computer, I have a revolving system for "go-backs," or corrections. I can only go back a maximum of 20 pages. Any problems further back than that, and I just write a Post-It note that says, "this sucks, will fix later." And my brain percolates on that problem until it works out the kinks without my needling it.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that Joss writes LITERATURE, which probably takes a more creative and clever system than mine. Straight-up mystery genre stuff. Fast food for the rods and cones.

Posted by: Dana Conrad Haynes at January 24, 2006 3:38 PM

Whew, thank goodness!

As for the Christmas butt, mine celebrated Hanukkah too. And New Year's, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It also celebrated Valentine's Day, and Casimir Pulaski day, a whole month and a half early. It drowned my sorrows about the flood in triple venti frappucinnos and root beer floats.

A friend of mine said she thought the PT cruiser "fit me" as a car. And I realized it is because the PT cruiser has the same butt that I do.

Posted by: Martha O'Connor at January 24, 2006 4:06 PM

Little teensy suggestion: Save each chapter not just with the chapter number, but WITH THE DATE you save it (eg. Chapter 3-01-24-2006.doc). Then you have a new file not overwritten & you can back up to whichever version whenever you need to.

Shutting up & crawling back under my rock now....

Posted by: Lulu at January 24, 2006 4:32 PM

I save mine that way too! Only I have two books going at the same time, so I have Chapter 3 and Chapter Three (like it makes a difference, really!)

How do I keep it straight? I don't. I just re-write as Chapter 3a and then I can really have a mess on my hands. But it's all there ... every stinkin word, and boy do they stink!

Thanks for the laugh, and sometimes I even think I'm normal!

Posted by: Patti at January 24, 2006 7:51 PM

Oh Tulip, I was distraught for you until I read the last part. I would have ripped the computer from the wall and thrown it through the gorgeous new paint job in a fit of rage. And you ate spinach! Sometimes I think you are FAR more mentally healthy than you give yourself credit for. Thank Goodness for Gmail!!

Oh, P.S....My Christmas butt is FIFTEEN POUNDS lighter now, thankyouverymuch!!! Sorry for gloating all over your blog, but I know you'll understand. *PREEN* ;)

Posted by: Amy-GO at January 24, 2006 10:10 PM

Speaking of an over-abundance of smug....

Posted by: Amy-GO at January 24, 2006 10:12 PM

Well, you're on theologically sound grounds. See Revelation 3:16.

(Oh, don't look at me like that. I had to google it.)

Posted by: rams at January 25, 2006 9:21 AM