Publetariat Dispatch: A Writer’s Night Before Christmas

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, Publetariat founder and Editor in Chief shares her annual holiday tradition of reprinting her poem, A Writer’s Night Before Christmas. For those who don’t know, the “NaNoWriMo” to which she refers in the last line is National Novel Writing Month, in which participants attempt to write an entire novel in the month of November.


Twas the night before Christmas and all through my draft
Were examples of my inattention to craft
My characters all hung about without care,
In hopes that a plot point soon would be there.

My family were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of red herrings danced in my head.
The dog on its blanket, and the cat in my lap
Had just settled themselves for a long winter’s nap.

When on my computer there showed a blue screen!
(And if you use a PC, then you know what that means.)
Away to the cell phone I flew like a flash;
I dialed tech support and broke out in a rash.

The sales pitch that played while on hold I waited
Ensured my tech guy would be roundly berated.
That is, if he ever should come on the line.
And for this, per minute, it’s one-ninety-nine!

“Good evening,” he said, in a Punjab accent,
“I am happy to help you, and my name is Kent.”
More rapid than the Concorde was his troubleshoot,
I was back up and running, after one last reboot!

“Now Gaiman! Now, Atwood! Now, Cheever and Austen!
Salinger! O’Connor! Shakespeare and Augusten (Burroughs)!
Don’t withhold your wisdom! Upon me, bestow it!
Inspire me! Show me how best not to blow it!”

To their books I turned for some worthy advice;
I was pumped to return to my work in a trice.
So across clacking keyboard my fingers they flew,
With a speed and a passion—and no typos, too.

Hour after hour, the prose kept on flowing,
Though I had no idea where my story was going.
“But write it, I must!” I decided right then.
I resolved to see this project through to the end.

At one a.m. the second act came together,
At two I knew this book was better than ever!
My hero had purpose, my plot had no slack.
I cut my “B” story and never looked back!

I got up to make coffee at quarter to three;
Curses! My spouse left no Starbucks for me!
With instant crystals I’d have to make do.
Cripes! He used all of the half and half, too!

“I could add some Kahlua,” I told myself.
“There’s a big, honking bottle right there on the shelf.”
So I added a splash. And then a splash more.
At five, I finally came to on the floor.

With more Kahlua than coffee in the cup nearby,
An idea for the third act I wanted to try.
Werewolves! In high school! And vampires, as well!
It worked for that Meyer chick, my book’s a sure sell!

I tied up the plot in a neat little a bow,
With the arrival of aliens, and giant worms from below.
Defeated were foes of the Earth and the sky,
And thousands of townsfolk did not have to die.

With the Kahlua bottle all but drained,
I turned to do the last bit of work that remained.
To this one tradition, I was happy to bend.
Two carriage returns, all in caps: THE END.

To Facebook I sprang, to announce I was through.
From thence, on to Twitter, and MySpace too.
But lo, I exclaimed as my face met the sun,
“Twenty-four days late, my NaNoWriMo is done!”

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