Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You Can't Fake Quality

I am really struggling to meet a deadline. The struggle stems from all sorts of reasons:

1) I am not as fast at the type of writing I'm doing right now as I am with other types (so, my own time estimations for the work haven't been spot on target — close, but not quite there).

2) My mind is on real life instead. As it should be.

3) Other higher-priority but unrelated time commitments sprang up after I took on this project, and there are only so many hours in a day.

4) I am exhausted.

I will press on, of course. Just taking a second to make this post because the literary quote for the day on my iGoogle page hit home. It is so very true, and I thought fellow writers out there would relate.

"So cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can't fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal."
—William Burroughs

Trouble is, a writer for hire has her deadlines. Can't exactly ignore them and keep her clients happy. It's part of the same issue I was thinking about in this post. At least when you work with people face to face, you know them a little bit and it's easier to build flexibility into schedules. In an office, turning in a project 2 days past its scheduled due date is very often considered fantastic, even when someone works that way ALL THE TIME. You and your colleagues have a better sense for how the workdays go and can put faces to the work, a reasonable sense of wiggle room to its execution. When a freelancer comes in late on a project, she is LATE. Even with wonderful clients.

But, you can't fake quality. I can't, anyway.

Best get back to desperately trying not to be LATE.

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