By day I work 60 hour weeks. At night I am a devoted father and husband to the world's greatest family. Somewhere in the non-existent time between the two, I am a writer. Join me from the beginning as I chronicle my adventures to become a successful published author.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 37 - Stress, the Beast of Many Faces - Hard Knocks

By now, it must be apparent I live a rather stressful life in many respects with crazy things happening at work at any hour, long hours of work no matter what, and am in a period of transition with home and church. Last night was no exception, but it reminded me of an ever important lesson: Write it down.

Here's what happened. About a month and a half ago, a renter called and said they were sorry, they would have to break their lease. They were very urgent about the need to move. I explained that was fine, they would lose their deposit and would need to assist in finding a new tenant. Within an hour it seems they had the ad I used with them before up on the internet, but with their contact info and the availability date of June 15. Fantastic! They get lots of calls, several of the viewers call me to run applications, and we select a great family. I have a conversation with the current tenants right before creating the lease for the new people to verify when the home would be ready for move-in. No problems yet.

Move-in date is scheduled for this Friday. However, we were having a hard time reaching the current tenants for status updates. I swing by yesterday because word was that there were no signs of efforts to move. Sure enough, I knock on the door and can immediately tell no packing of any kind had been done. I confront the tenants, who have been great tenants, about why they are still there. The claim? "Well, we've had a hard time finding a place we like, and we never actually said in writing when we were going to move." Wow. They never called to let me know they were having problems. They did put it in writing in the ad and tried to say they had no idea they could be held to that. So now the new family is going to be homeless for a couple of weeks while I make a monumental effort to get them out of there. The icing on the cake? The new tenants happen to be great people, but the husband is also a litigation lawyer who is none too happy with them, and in a lesser part us.

So what is the moral to this story? Write it down. Normally I do this anyway, so this is exceptionally unusual. Between the original ad, the fact they told the date to multiple people, including myself, and we used that for creating a contract, etc. I simply assumed I had it recorded. But I didn't. A tiny mistake, and yet huge consequences. Had I verified that such an important piece of information was correctly recorded, it would have been a major headache saver all around. I could be moving a great family in rather than spending time searching for properties I won't get paid on, and helping the lawyer to understand that suing the first family (and tangentially possibly us by implication) is not productive and vengeance is not productive. I'm not concerned about our case in particular, but that I am having to spend time on these things when I have other important tasks is a little stressful to say the least. Three parties involved, all good people. Mistakes on two sides. Writing it down would have prevented it.

So why do I bring this up? Because sometimes we each have great ideas for scenes, characters, or even whole plots and books suddenly appear in our heads. We often get busy and say we'll remember it, or even think later we surely wrote it down. Then later that day, or someday in the future, we realize that award winning scene is completely gone. You know it existed. You remember the feeling of when it first came. But it's lost to the ether forever. This happened to me two weeks ago. I had a brilliant idea for a sci-fi book. It was so amazing and (possibly) original , so vivid, I thought that surely I would remember it later! Predictably, that was not to be. I'm left with a sense of amazement at my genius and my stupidity, and not quite sure about why I felt either one.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever lost a great writing idea or had any other blunder happen in your life because you forgot to write something down?

*** Today is the second to last day for the contest! Be sure to leave a comment. Every comment gets you an entry! ***


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