About once a year or so, I look back through my blog archives just to see what I’ve written about, and to see where I am now, relative to where I was then. Years ago, I was writing lots of stuff here almost every day, so I got a pretty granular view. For the last couple years, I’ve been working on this book so much, in addition to all my other jobs, I just haven’t made it a priority to post here. When I have a quick thought, and a quick minute to spit it out, Facebook is where it goes.
I hate Facebook. Facebook is evil and bad for humanity, and it should be regulated like tobacco or alcohol. Zuckerberg ought to be shipped off to some island for sociopaths where he can live a life of luxury and whatever, and let someone with actual human emotions and some semblance of a conscience make the apparently difficult decisions about promoting Fascism and genocide that Zuckerberg seems to really struggle with.
But I’m an entertainer (so what do I know) and it just makes sense to go where the audience is. You can write the most interesting stuff, make the most beautiful music, perform the most incredible entertainment, but if there’s no audience to receive it, it starts to feel a little pointless. Facebook is where the people are, and something I post there is seen by hundreds of thousands of people, while something I post here is seen by a few thousand at best. Facebook is also where the conversation seems to have moved, and I genuinely enjoy the conversation that used to happen in blog comments, way back in the before times.
“And yet you use Facebook. Interesting.”
Yeah. We’re not doing that.
I’ve taken to cross posting here most of the things I consider important enough to have in my own space, instead of a space controlled by a company that can lock me out for telling a Nazi to go fuck themselves, where I’ll always be able to find them when I do my semi-annual mental clip show. The last few days have been fairly consequential, and I’ve been posting pretty regularly about all this stuff on my Facebook thing. I’m adapting those posts into one big post here, with all my glasses, and my shoes, so I can have them.
22 October, 3:22pm. Feeling Anxious.
I should be working, but…
Huge deadline tomorrow. Just under two years of work coming up to the absolute drop dead date. If I miss it, the whole project dies. The last three or so days has just been this epic, high stakes sprint of rewrites and changes that has been at times exhilarating, exhausting, frustrating … essentially everything that the larger process was for two years, just crammed and concentrated into 72 hours. I don’t really need to do it this way ever again, and will absolutely do again because that’s how I’m wired.
I am so close to being finished! I have two significant things remaining to write. Probably about 2500 or 3000 words, total, before I turn this thing in and don’t get to mess with it any more. I feel like I should be excitedly cranking out those words instead of writing this, so I can get it out the door and get it that much closer to your hands. But I’m holding it more tightly than I have at any other point in the process, because I am so afraid to drop this baby off for its first day of preschool. I know that I have to trust my editors, my publisher, my beta readers, when they tell me they enjoyed it, when I used the valuable notes they gave me to make it better. I know I really have to focus on their supportive voices, even though this loud, insistent voice in my head that’s way too familiar, just will not stop screaming at me THEY’RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU.
I have been writing professionally for about twenty years, but I was today years old when I fully understood what it means when an author says that a book isn’t ever really finished, that it can only be let go. I’m so scared to let this go, y’all. I have this white-hot terror that, if the big, fancy reviewers at the NYT or Publisher’s Weekly or whatever even pay attention to me and this work, that they’re going to be like, “Here’s an extensive examination of all the ways you suck. Zero stars.”
I know a lot of this (okay, all of it) is exclusively in my head and is probably not really supported by an objective reading of the material. I keep reminding myself that all these professionals wouldn’t be supporting this work if my fears and insecurities reflected the material I delivered, instead of just being existential worries inside my skull.
I am doing what I can to get from trembling-with-apprehension to trembling-with-antici-
SAY IT SAY IT SAY IT
…pation. This is a big deal. This is one of those things you work hard for and hope to achieve, and you pour EVERYTHING into it. You work on it so much, it starts to define your days, and on one of those days you look up, realize it’s been two years, and it’s like, “Okay, the work is done and it’s time to put it into the world!”
Oh, here comes that voice in my head, only this time it’s showing me a meme. Gob Bush: I’ve made a horrible mistake.
Thanks, brain. You’re the best. I love you, buddy. Let me know when you’re ready to get back on team Me.
I gotta get back to work. I’m so close. A lot of people are counting on me to turn this in on time.
I think I get to drop the full announcement later this week. Or maybe it’s early next week. That decision is being made by professionals who know what timing is best, and I’m staying in my lane. I do hope you’ll all pretend to be super surprised whenever it hits your feed.
You are all so kind and supportive. I just did about 1000 extremely important words that had to be just right. I read them, and the whole section they go in, to Anne, and she said, “Oh, that’s so much better. I love that.”
I trust her. She loves me enough to be honest with me, and she knows how much I care about this. So I’m letting that whole section go, and heading into the next one.
Okay, maybe this is a little silly? Like it’s liveblogging the last mile of this epic marathon?
But I just finished a very emotional 1000 words, and I’m down to my final thing.
I finished the writing I had to do. Earlier today, I thought that I needed to do between 2500 and 3000 words, I think I said?
My super great math skills tell me I did just about 2800. My super great estimation skills are just giving me that ‘sup look. Like, they see me. They never doubted me. (My math skills are the kid from Parenthood, running into a wall with a bucket over his head.)
Anyway. I did all those words, put them where they go, annnnnd … I’m done. I’ve been working on this for a couple of years, and tonight, like just a little bit ago, I finished it. This will be one of the most high profile things I will ever do as a writer, maybe the only high profile thing I ever do as a writer, and … now it is … done.
Honestly, I don’t really feel … anything? It’s a little unsatisfying. It feels like something should happen. Like a confetti cannon should go off or something.
What did happen was I leaned forward in the chair I’d been in for ten hours, took a deep breath, and clicked the save icon (which I hear high school kids don’t know is based on the floppy disk? Or what a floppy disk even is?). Then, I let that breath out, as I fell back and then sank into my chair.
I looked over my shoulder at Anne, who I had asked to come look over the last bit to make sure I didn’t leave anyone out, and I said, “Holy shit, I’m finished,” and we did the best fist bump two suburban middle-aged white people have ever done. And then I went and played Mr. Do! to unwind, because I am a 49 year-old teenager.
But I really did expect to feel … something. Maybe not a huge celebration, but at least maybe relief? Or satisfaction? I don’t exactly feel anything as much as I am aware that there had been this thing in front of me that said FINISH THIS, and now that thing isn’t there any more.
I know it was unrealistic to expect the confetti cannon. That’s on me. I would have had to plan that. I don’t know why I thought it would just show up.
I told Anne that I just hope it all holds together, you know? There are parts that I just love, that I’m so proud of, that I loved writing, rewriting, and polishing. There are parts where I feel like I got it as good as I could get it, and I have to trust that somehow nobody will notice because I’m probably the only one who knows exactly what I was going for. Then there are all the parts in between.
And that’s how a bill becomes a law!
Inside my head, that is the funniest goddamn thing I have written in a long time. Maybe in my whole life.
And that is how I know it’s probably time to go lie down forever for a few hours. I get to do a cool thing tomorrow, and I need to be rested, and way more coherent than I am now.
So all of that happened on Monday. On Tuesday, I worked on Ready Room.
26 October 2:14pm
I did an interview for Ready Room today, in our fancy new set that was built specifically for us!
Without getting into spoilers or breaking my NDA, I can safely share that Ian Alexander and Blu del Barrio (who I got to interview today) are two of the most remarkable humans I have have the pleasure of sharing some space and time with. I had to keep reminding myself that they are decades younger than me, because they are so wise and insightful. I know for a fact I was nowhere close to them, intellectually or otherwise, when I was their age. They are just amazing. And Ian is the most stylish person I think I’ve ever been around. I spent WAY more time picking out my clothes for today than I normally would, because I knew he’d be there, and when he (and Blu) noticed, I had a little moment. It was pretty great.
We are members of a very small club, made up of people who were young actors on Star Trek. What are there, like … six? Nine? Of us? It won’t mean to them what it means to me for another decade or so. I hope I still have the privilege of sharing time and space with them when that happens.
I can’t say anything about the episode we shot. That would get me into all sorts of trouble. But I loved every second of it, and I am so grateful.
Sometime between when I posted that, and when we ate dinner, I had a long conversation with my manager about an acting offer I was considering. I’d spent a lot of time talking myself into it and then out of it and then back into it and I just needed some objective counsel from someone who I knew I could trust to have my best interests at heart. I knew he’d help me make the best decision for myself, and for where we hope to steer my professional career in the coming years.
27 October 1:04pm
Okay so I can’t say anything specific about it, but … I just accepted an offer to work a couple days on a network series, even though I’m pretty much retired from on-camera acting.
If you’re familiar with my journey, I think you’ll understand what a big deal it was for me to tell my manager, “I’m really not interested in acting on camera, but I’ll read the script, and if I like it, maybe I’ll do it because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.”
So I did, and I did, and I said yes. On my terms. On my terms, y’all!
What a crazy week this is turning out to be, and it’s only Wednesday.
And because all of this isn’t cool enough already, if everything goes the way we think it will, I’ll get to do a whole book reveal thing tomorrow. It will happen on my Facebook and my Instagram, and eventually find its way here. And then I get to do Ready Room again on Friday. What a crazy week this is turning out to be, and it’s only Wednesday.