The TIE Mini Blog Tour Continues at the Cabin Goddess!

When I was a child growing up in Chicago, my mother used to say, ‘I don’t HAVE to do anything in this world except die and pay taxes;’ a very appropriate statement since “Tax Day” in America is already upon us.  For those of us lucky, or better yet, wise enough to complete our tax forms early, April 15 is just another ordinary day.  However, for the rest of us, we always wait until the “last minute” in order to push the button. 

In preparing my own tax forms — unfortunately there is no immunity for us “regular folks” living here in Switzerland — I’ve been thinking a lot about one “imperative” in particular, this need to pay taxes and how it’s a lot like another one specific to authors — the need to write a fictional work, and what prevents us from performing such duties on time.  

To be fair, sometimes there are legitimate reasons for delays (missing 1099s or investment statements, for example). But, if we’re really, really honest with ourselves, most of the time our postponement of the “evitable”, this wait until the “eleventh hour” has more to do with procrastination than with anything else.  We work ourselves up into a frenzy, cursing ourselves for waiting to do something that we know we should have done months ago.  True relief only arrives after we’ve finished that dastardly deed for which we’ve been trying so hard to avoid. 

Writers know this uncomfortable feeling all too well – especially when it comes to trying to complete a fictional work. Most of us begin a new literary project with all the hopes and aspirations of completing at least a solid draft by a scheduled date.  We research our characters; carefully organizing the “receipts” of their lives into neatly tabbed accordion files or folders on our laptops.  Each day we add writing as a “to-do” task on our schedule.  We manage to record scores of pages – inspiration that we hope in the end will result in a satisfying work. 

Days turn into weeks, weeks into months.  The next thing we know, we’re reading online about the Kardashians or gossiping with our friends about some other television series instead of writing.  We're cleaning out the refrigerator or relining the kitchen cabinets.  We find a reason to do almost everything except write.  Then the panic sets in as our self-imposed deadline looms.  We have no choice but to scramble to get the writing done so that our editors or agents will not penalize us.  Once done, temporary relief is welcomed but we remain weary and cautious, knowing that we’ll have to do all over again very soon. 
The bottom line is this:  For authors writing, like taxes, is more than an imperative – it’s a certainty, just as sure as autumn follows summer.  There is absolutely no way around paying your dues so you might as well grin until you can bear it.

So I will close my post with this from the great author, Herman Wouk, “Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today."

Don’t you wish you’d thought of that wonderful quote first? I know that I do!   

Happy Tax Day!