The Writer's Life

This entry will be a myriad mish-mash (alliteration: the tool of the truly talented writer) of this week's events.

Let's talk about instinct.  I am a firm believer that one should always listen to your gut.  Rarely will your initial instincts lead you wrong.  My problem, however, is isolating that initial instinct before I smother it with my Vulcan-logic.  For example, I find it incredibly difficult to turn down writing assignments, even if my gut is screaming at me to do so.  I start rationalizing why my gut is wrong.  "This is a new opportunity--it's just fear talking." or "Hey, this is income.  So you don't feel like doing it. Suck it up and take the work."  However, the few times I've listened to my gut and turned down work, I'm convinced I made the right choice.

And gut instinct can work with good things too.  I had a writing opportunity presented to me today via e-mail and, on paper, the pay was so low that I thought, "I can't spend time on that."  And yet, some small part of me was whispering, "Check it out." So I called and spoke to the woman who sent the e-mail and had an overwhelmingly positive response to her the minute her voice came over the phone.  I can't explain it other than it was just that feeling of "good vibes."  So I'm going to give the low-paying work a shot.  Less for the income and more because I want to honor that little voice that's hinting, "Something more will come of this." 

Other gut instincts.  I have an assignment due the end of January for a magazine I've being writing for for years. Normally, I would just start the assignment.  But a nagging voice kept saying, "You better check and make sure they still want this piece."  So I e-mailed and yes, they still wanted the piece, but get this.  They had down that I owned them a piece from October.  I never turned it in and they assumed it was because they were behind on payments to me and so never contacted me, thinking I was done with them.

I was mortified. I've never missed a deadline in my life.  Somewhere the wires got crossed because I had the assignment listed in my assignment database (yes, I am that anal), but I had the due date as October 2006.  That's not unusual to receive an assignment that far out and, at the time, I was selecting the articles I wanted to write for them in 2006.  So I'm not sure what happened.

The end of this is that I just barely have enough time to get the article to them in time to slam it into the issue going to press.  So I'm hustling this week to get interviews and pull it off.  But thank God I listened to my gut and contacted this company.  Otherwise, I never would have known that they thought I was no longer working for them.  Aaaugh!

Another gut instinct.  I'm on a tight deadline doing work on a brochure for a company.  They want it by the end of this week, at the latest.  I e-mailed my first draft Monday and never heard anything. I found it odd my contact hadn't called to discuss but tried to dismiss it.  But my thoughts kept returning to it and I had something else to discuss anyway, so I called.

"What do you think of the draft of the brochure?" I asked at the end of the conversation.

"What draft?" she replied.

She never received my e-mail. Again, thank goodness I called so the process didn't get stalled.

I'm really not a very good gut listener, but I'm working on it.  Another goal for the New Year.