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A Day in the Life of a Writer Under Deadline
 by Jim Butcher

In an effort to get the inside scoop on the man who's capable of such wisecracking looniness as the Dresden Files provide, we asked Jim Butcher to let us in on a typical day in his life as a fantasy writer living under the gloomy cloud of a deadline.

 

 7:00 am--Your alarm goes off. Deadline is coming and you will be ready to face it. The plan is for you to leap out of bed,
seize a cup of coffee and hit the keyboard first thing, bright and early, to bang out your quota for the day.

Instead, you remember that you stayed up until two in the morning participating in a flame war discussion about the
psychological dysfunctions of the characters in Winnie The Pooh, so you slam your fist down on the snooze button. The
announcer on the radio sounds a little distorted, but he doesn't shut up. By the time your sleep deprived brain has managed
to work out the dysfunction of the snooze button, you are irritated and awake.

Moments later, your nine-year old bounces into the room chattering about what a pretty morning it is. You make a mental
note to add an irritating morning person into the next chapter. And to kill him hideously.

9:00 am--The kid is off to school by now, and you have had enough coffee to restore vague function to your brain cells.
You sit down at the keyboard to start working on your chapter.

 9:04 am--Telemarketer calls.

 9:06 am--Charity worker calls.

 9:09 am--Telemarketer number two calls.

 9:14 am--You don't know who calls, because the phone breaks into pieces when you throw it at the wall. They didn't
warn you about that in the owner's manual. You get a broom and clean up the phone.

 9:30 am--The school calls you and tells you your kid has been sent to the office for referring to his teacher as a "vile
minion of darkness," a "gutless varlet," and a "malevolent knave." You explain that you don't know where he picked up
those phrases, and agree to come pick him up to let him cool off for the day.

10:00 am--You finish the talk with the nine-year old about his verbal communications skills. The kid tells you, with a
straight face, that you screamed the same thing at a drive-thru fast food operator just yesterday.

You send the kid to his room.

10:30 am--Just as you sit back down to get to work, the fire alarm goes off. You think wistfully of sweatshops and/or straightjackets, and tell the kid to put away his junior science chemistry set.

10:40 am--The chemical smell hasn't come out yet. The spouse calls and asks you to pick up some things at the store,
because after all, you have flexible hours. You clench your teeth and keep your voice nominally pleasant as you agree.

11:00 am--You get dressed, get the kid to put on something besides underwear and a Batman cape, and run to the store.
You pick up lunch while you are out, and make another note to yourself about getting more exercise.

12:30 pm--Finally, some writing time.

12:31 pm--Heavy air conditioning usage in your neighborhood blows out the local transformer. Everything in the house
shuts down. You realize that the keyboard is going to create a little grid of marks on your face if you leave your head lying
on it like that, but you don't have the will to actually sit up.

1:15 pm--The power comes back on. Your computer doesn't. And the smell still hasn't come out.

1:30 pm--After calling for technical help, which doesn't, you attempt to reinstall whichever version of Windows is out this
week.

2:30 pm--By now you are gritting your teeth and taking deep breaths.

3:30 pm--The kid has quietly barricaded himself into his room.

4:30 pm--Everything has turned a nice, pretty shade of red. You call technical support again, but they ask only ask you if
you or anyone else in your home can speak any English.

7:43 pm--Your spouse, having already come home, eaten and settled down comfortably with a good book, coaxes you
away from the recalcitrant computer and browbeats you into eating something. You sit down in the kitchen for ten minutes
to eat and cool off.

7:48 pm--You return to the computer to find that the kid (who apparently can't operate the drain in the bathtub or the
handle on the toilet) has repaired the computer problem, and is playing your favorite video game. Better than you. You
take a little walk outside.

8:00 pm--The kid gets sent to his bed. You sit down to write.

9:00 pm--Finally, some work done. At some point your spouse tells you something. The words 'important,' 'money,' and 'foreclosure' figure prominently, but you're working. You mouth the ritual assurances while chopping excess passive voice from your sentences and get a kiss on the cheek in return.

10:00 pm--You are finished with the chapter, even if it is a short one. The chemical smell seems to have lessened (or maybe your nose has just been burned out due to overexposure). Pleased, you save your chapter, print it, catch a shower and get into bed.

10:02 pm--You realize that you forgot an important detail from the last chapter that makes the chapter you just wrote logistically impossible and that there is no way to salvage it. The sound of your head thumping repeatedly against the headboard wakes up your spouse, and you slink down to the computer to sulk.

10:05 pm--You erase the chapter. You try to get in touch with your muse, but she has gone missing and left no forwarding address. The whore. You look at the calendar. You despair.

10:30 pm--You start hacking on the chapter again, but it's like pulling out your own teeth. Through your nose.

12:30 am--Finished at last, you eye the chapter with the same affection as you might a newborn tapeworm. Then you save it and print it out.

12:32 am--While the chapter prints, you check the mailing list. Some witless loudmouth has posted an argument supporting Pooh's manic-obsessive behavior with regards to honey as his primary psychological dysfunction, when OBVIOUSLY he is simply learning-disabled with an inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. Why else would he try to sneak up on a nest of bees disguised as a rain cloud?

 2:07 am--Finished with your rebuttal, you fire it off to the list with a satisfyingly forceful thump on the enter key. That will show them.

Honestly, some people really need to get a life.
 
 Uh, thanks, Jim. We think.


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