A sarcasm-, coffee-infused state of being: Deadline day at the paper

Let’s pretend it’s Wednesday, because you will never ever actually see me post on Wednesday, but I’d like to describe it.

Wednesday is deadline day at the paper, which means I was probably up late the night before, I’m in the office early and I have a pile of page proofs on my desk – some with crescent moons of coffee stamped onto the white spaces around the copy. There are red and dark purple pen marks along my wrists from marking the proofs (red) and checking off that I made the edit in InDesign (purple). The way I hold the pens while moving the computer mouse always does this.

At 12:55 p.m., my alarm goes off because I’m terrified I’ll get sucked into the time warp that exists in our 105-year-old press building and forget my kids at school. It hasn’t happened before. But I’ve had plenty of anxiety dreams about this, so it’s almost like I have.

I run around and pick them up, try not to lose my schmidt over traffic, scarf down some cold leftovers once I get everyone home and head back by 1:20-ish. This is my lunch break.

Around 4 p.m., we know we’re in trouble if production hasn’t made the 1As yet – meaning we won’t be done by 5. We try to contain our sarcasm and (of course) hilarious jokes, because we have a paper to print, people! That lasts until someone finds we’ve left out a very important letter L in “public event” and we fall into a tired/wired state of hysteria. This is the witching hour that usually makes for good content in the “Editorial Quotes” file.

But we do it, our little team, every Wednesday.

From there, I cook dinner for my kids, take them to basketball and come home around 8. After kids are in bed, I work on my books.

When people say literary agents are busy busy people, believe them. But I’m not sure who decided writers just sit around in log cabins waiting for money to fall into their laps…