I KNOW WHAT needs to be done. And I don’t want to do it. Not any of it. Getting things
done is really about one thing, and one thing only: overcoming the resistance to doing what we need to do. There’s all kinds of external pressure, and frankly, I’d rather hole up in my blanket fort and read. But here’s what I’m doing instead:
1. Get projects and tasks out of my head: The To Master Do List
2. Prioritize: Take the Three Most Important for the To Do Today List
3. Overcome the resistance to actually doing those important tasks. Yeah. Right.
Stephen Pressfield wrote in The War of Art:
“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.
What’s keeping us from sitting down is Resistance.”
Combat this by realizing that you are facing Resistance. Once you become aware of it, you can fight it, and beat it.
4. Come to writing ready to work. Of course it’s hard. If it was easy everyone would do it.
5. Make an appointment with yourself. Set a Start Time (and an End Time–that one’s tough for me) and when that time rolls around, get to it.
6. Have your goals and research ready. When I get to a place where I need to know how much it would cost to Fed Ex a head in a box, I start meandering the ‘net and, inadvertently, discover why dinosaurs don’t have thumbs.
7. What do I hope to gain from this? What’s my endgame? What makes that important to me?
8. Just start. Sit down, open a page, and move your fingers. I don’t know of any other way to fight resistance than to just start. When I start to wander, I remind myself what I’m doing and why.
And without further procrastination: Dead Copy (the followup to award-winning Scoop–now on Amazon for Free!)
Tom Logan was in my driveway?
Shit, shit, shit!
My heart sprinted as I ran a toothbrush over my teeth, fed the cat, leashed the dog, and locked the front door of Aunt Kat’s little Lake Austin bungalow. I skipped down the porch steps to where Logan’s beat-up old bureau car was idling under the magnolia tree, headlights glowing against the warm, blue velvet sky. I couldn’t help but smile.
The scents of fresh-cut grass and Mexican sage hung heavily in the pre-dawn air, and I wished I’d had time to pop an antihistamine. We were already into the August blast-furnace of heat that puts my teeth on edge. Despite my endless-summer restlessness, getting that phone call from Logan made me happier than I’d been in more than a month.
I stood outside Logan’s dented passenger door, waiting for him to pop the lock as the dog made little warbling noises, leaping at the window like a hound from hell.
The dome light in the car was out, but the stars were bright in the August sky and I’d know that dark hair and those dark eyes anywhere, even in the dead of night. Tom Logan is the man my mama warned me about. Never mind that Mama’d been mentally fitting the man for a tuxedo …
Logan grinned, his face illuminated from the blue glow of the dash lights. Leaning across the console, he opened the passenger door from the inside. “Hello, kid. Long time, no see.”
My heart did a ridiculous little jazz riff and I felt my cheeks go red. He was wearing faded Levi’s and a worn, black tee shirt. Both garments bulged in all the right places.
I slid into the tattered passenger seat after Marlowe, who was happily greeting Logan with a whole-body wag.
I knew how the dog felt.
Squinting at Logan, I said, “I am not a morning person.”
“No kidding,” he said, but he was smiling, scratching the dog’s white, fuzzy muzzle as I buckled up. “You still putting him through his paces?”
Marlowe actually belongs to Logan, although I’ve been looking after the dog since Logan got called away on a big assignment. Or the dog’s been looking after me—sometimes it’s hard to tell.
“Yeah, we do the training thing every week,” I said. “He’s great at the agility stuff, but so far the only thing I’ve seen him search and rescue is a ham sandwich.”
Logan chuckled at that and handed me a trough-sized go-cup of iced tea. “We doing this downtown?”
I shook my head and gratefully swallowed a big gulp of undiluted caffeine. “We don’t do print or production at the Sentinel satellite, but we do have Cronkite.”
“It’s a working model of an old-fashioned printing press. We use it to make mockups when kids come for Career Day and that sort of thing.”
I swallowed another gulp of tea. “We take a stock story from inventory and plug in the kids’ names,” I said. “But we try not to use obituaries.”
“Right,” Logan said, a streak of amusement in his voice. “You need to call anybody to make it happen?”
I shook my head. “It’s early. The nightside crew rarely comes up front and we’ll get there before dayside gets in. That way we don’t have to explain anything.”
Logan nodded and put the car in gear. “We’ve got to make a stop first,” he said, and turned his attention to the big silver-white dog who was straddling the console.
“Back,” Logan ordered, and Marlowe leapt into the back seat.
Behind me, a nasally voice yelped, “What the hell? I gotta sit with the dog? I hate dogs!”
Startled, I jerked my head toward the back seat. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw a guy shielding himself from Marlowe with his forearm.
He looked like one of those guys you see getting chased over a chain link fence in an episode of Cops. His spiky black hair looked like it’d been hijacked off a hedgehog and moussed with so much product you could bounce a quarter off of it. The sleeves of his black tee shirt were rolled up to reveal biceps that didn’t quite bulge. His features were straight and even, but there was something sort of vague about him that landed him on the ugly side of handsome. With his pointy nose and too-close eyes, he looked like a genetically altered weasel.
“Who’s that?” I said to Logan, who was staring at the guy in his rearview mirror.
“That,” he said, “would be our obituary.”