My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, September 21, 2020

One Million Likes [Insight, Advice, Warnings, and Gratitude]

Note: I was just about reaching for the "Post" button on Friday when the news about Justice Ginsberg hit, and it just seemed like terrible timing. So, with apologies to anyone who was waiting for a Friday post, I decided to postpone it across the weekend, go ahead and post it on Monday even though I usually take Mondays off. I was able to get a lot of writing done this weekend, but as often happens during "interesting times," they were in biter-sized chunks on my Facebook page and may not turn up here until a compilation post from the end of September.

Before the MOST recent cascading waves of bad news about computers, data loss, fires, heat, and smoke-filled air (to say nothing of the during news of pandemics, more fire and smoke, fascism, murder hornets, and meth gators) and JFC the news from Friday about Justice Ginsburg, there was some really great news, and I want to share the good part before it gets obscured any further in the mists of time, and Galadriel starts talking like a turbostoner about how things were forgotten that should never have been.

Over on Facebook in the early hours of September 3rd, I hit 1,000,000 likes. Just like that: "Achievement Unlocked: Minor Internet Fame." It was a huge milestone, and I celebrated by buying myself a bunch of books, games, and a (very rare since Covid) treat of some decent take out. 

I'll spare you the details about how my digestive system is no longer acclimated to that kind of food, and simply say that I will probably celebrate with some quinoa and kale chips next time. Or bring some....you know I promised to spare you the details. 

Still, it also had a surreal banal quality. I know we like our big, round numbers, so even though 1,000,000 hasn't offered up too many logistical differences with 968,212, it's always going to feel like a milestone. And yet, it feels unreal in a way. Like watching someone else reach a goal.

I thought I would be happier or swing on a chandelier or speed down the road and have to change the channel until I found an appropriately "Fuck Yeah!" song for my mood like I was Jerry Maguire. 

But it kind of felt like Thursday. (Which kind of feels like every other day with the shelter-in-place Groundhog's day effect of the pandemic.)

In September of 2018, Facebook throttled their pages even harder than they had been before. They guard the algorithm carefully, so it's impossible to know exactly what they did, but my page growth, post engagement, and success of blog links here to WAW all plummeted by about 90% across the board. (And they were already only reliably at less than 1%.) Suddenly, everything was crawling along at 1/10 of what it had been. Facebook told everyone it was so they could see more of their friends and family but that was the customer outreach propaganda division saying it. These were pages people had CLICKED to see, and Facebook was showing them less. The REAL reason was so that, behind the scenes, they could tell page administrators (like me) they could get their numbers back if they paid Facebook for advertising. Mark Zuckerberg had apparently completed his transformation into the next Antichrist incarnation and felt it was time to unleash the next wave of evil on an unsuspecting world. And while that might be a reasonable approach to multi-billion dollar conglomerates who are using social media to basically run free commercials, they had no way to tier the throttling. Smaller pages (like for the local cupcake store) were all but shut down (and abandoned), and pages like mine that generate TONS of non-self-promoting content got treated basically like Nike or McDonald's. 

"That's a nice reach you got there. Be a shame if something........happened to it." 

-Zuck "The Reducer" Erberg. 

Watching it coming for weeks (and even months) at a predictable--but glacial compared to two years ago--pace meant it wasn't a surprise or anything. I knew it was going to be that day by three or four days before, I went to bed knowing I would tick over in the night, I woke up the next morning and saw that I'd made it. It almost felt strangely perfunctory. My brain made the good chemicals for thirty seconds. I did a fist pump. I made plans for where I would grab take out from to celebrate (alone because of Covid). And then it was time to go downstairs and get to work. And it was a day like most any other. 

But this is Writing About Writing so let's unpack this moment a little as a writer, pull back the curtain, look under the hood, mix the metaphors and show you that it's not pixie dust and unicorn jizz that make a working writer, but it's actually a lot of work, a little bit of intuition, and no small amount of luck.

How did I do it?

Getting to a million in eight years is less possible than it was before because of the aforementioned algorithmic changes. So the first thing is just to shake a fist at the sky, shout "Damn you, Zuckerberg!," and understand that the crapitalistic imperative to vacuum ever more cash out of this social media thing will be preventing your reach. I don't know how long it would take these days, but based on how quickly I got to one thousand, ten thousand, 100k, reached the first 875k, and then how long it took me to get the last 125k, I'd say it's going to take you at least two to three times as long. Which I'm sorry to say is around 20 years. Lord help us if we haven't moved on to a new platform by then. 

I spent some money back when I had much more discretionary income, but I will warn you that spending money on Facebook advertising will create a feedback loop that probably isn't what you want. You will get better numbers for the ONE post or the time you're promoting the page, and then they will dip down to WORSE THAN BEFORE. There's this whole theory about WHY--the people you "gain" with paid advertisements are not authentic fans and will not engage subsequent posts so they become a "waste" of your infinitesimally small organic visibility. This forces you to spend MORE money to be seen by the same amount the next time. And so it goes.

What I observed early on was, if I only posted one or two things a day, growth would only happen on geological time. (David Attenborough: "Humans are simply incapable of understanding how long it takes a page to get a thousand likes at two posts a day. If every century were a second, it would STILL be a thousand years in this primordial soup of not-very-entertaining pages.")  But even worse was posting too many things at once. FB would show fewer and fewer people and the followers would get annoyed seeing your name come up in their feed over and over again. No matter HOW good a post was (how funny, how original, how unlike your last post), and no matter how much they wanted EXACTLY what you were providing, if they saw your name over and over again, it would be like seeing the same commercial on Hulu for every break or hearing the same song on the jukebox four times in a row. They would get annoyed and unfollow. 

And the magical number when both human and FB algorithm appeared to stop being annoyed seemed to be ROUGHLY every hour. 

So that's how I did it. 

I tried to put something up about every hour. Every. Single. Hour. Unless I was asleep or just could NOT. I even made sure I had some memes saved to my phone when I went to Disneyland or Gilroy Gardens for the day. I would excuse myself during dates for just a moment like one of those assholes in the movies. ("Hang a tick, babe, would you? Gotta check my portfolio. Chaz....talk to me!") I would stick something up before and after I watched a movie in the theater. 

I was relentless. 

There's no trick. I don't know "ten ways to hack the algorithm." I didn't find the recipe for the special sauce. I just spent hours (aggregate) every week making sure I was on some device or computer roughly every single hour (or if I was really planning ahead, scheduled one) to drop something that kind of had something to do with writing a little. I've since eased off the throttle a little (and I talk about why below), but that's how I got HERE. 

I'm hardly writing my own ticket.

A lot of people seem confused that minor Internet fame is somehow the same as on-camera type fame. (It's not.) Or they think that a million likes on FB means I make a lot of money. (I don't.) Or that I can in some way write my own ticket. (I can't.) The truth is fame (even at the relatively low levels of a Facebook admin of a "big" page) doesn't really look like most people imagine. I get ghosted on OKCupid (a lot). I'm lonely on Friday nights. I need to work a few hours a week at a second job to afford Bay Area prices. 

A million likes on Facebook might feel a little empty because it didn't really come with anything. I know that every one of those million is a real human being, but with everything being online, it's like having 50 Million Bells in Animal Crossing. It's fucking cool, and the people with 300 bells think it's unbelievable, but my life hasn't actually changed much, and what has changed has done so very slowly and gradually OVER those eight years so I usually don't even notice the good stuff. (Kinda hard to not notice the uptick in online harassment.

Certainly, I have some Patrons only because my FB reach got to their eyeballs and they found me worth supporting, and some folks even say they're mostly supporting the page and don't really read my blog. So in some ways I must give the devil its due. It's just not the life of glitz, glamour, and wealth here at one million. Perhaps at TEN million, things will look a little more like so many assume it does now.

I would actually warn people against reach exceeding content.

If I could somehow go back and time to do it ALL again (assuming I could only give myself philosophical advice and not warn myself of more logistical things like, "Look, FB is actually going to become SUPER evil right around 2016 and all the kids are on Tumblr anyway"), what I would tell myself is that maintaining a delicate balance between reach and content is as important one way as the other.

A lot of writers have the problem that they don't have a platform. They write perfectly well and then they don't or won't self-promote. And even if they're still stuck in the last-generation model of traditional publishing, they aren't spending enough time having release parties, going to readings, or pounding the pavement to put their books on consignment in bookstores. (Usually because they have this mythical idea that good writing will sell itself and a true artiste never gets dirt under their fingernails. All bullshit, BTW.) So they have this really good ability, multiple novels, dozens or hundreds of short stories, often PUBLISHED work--occasionally even in prestigious venues--and no one knows about them.

I have the opposite problem. 

I have a blog, and it is quite a monument, but I'm still working on my first book. It is likely to get a lot of attention when it's finally done, but given the pandemic and my current life circumstances, that could be years. In the meantime I have this absurdly huge platform that is mostly just quietly promoting a couple of blog links a day. My "reach" FAR exceeds my content. I know when I'm writing more and HAVE WRITTEN more, I'm going to be grateful for all the interrupted dates and Disneyland trips, but right now I sort of I feel like I'm killing mosquitoes with a bazooka. I have more likes than many NYT bestsellers, and there are days when that feels simply ridiculous to me. I'm a small-time writer with a huge platform that is a big time commitment just to maintain.

That means I more time moderating comments than I do writing fiction by a factor of ten. I won't just let the comments descend into the wild west and hateful bullshit because if you invite wolves and sheep to sit at the table, you end up only with wolves. Plus, people are focused on my every move so that I can't post something that is mostly true most of the time for most writers without some jackhole getting RIGHT up in my face about it because I have had the audacity to post something that does not apply exactly to them. Or if I nuance something like NaNoWriMo or getting an MFA or don't let people cast aspersions all over fanfiction. And don't even get me started about how I can't post a point about how linguistics affects social equality without having to babysit the responses from SQuiDs all day long. 

If there's an air/fuel mixture to self-promotion....   One where most writers have too much ability but not enough reach to show those abilities off..... One where finding new readers is good, but it's still mostly about your work.... 

I went too far the other way. 

So what I would tell past me is to relax a little. Take more days off from social media. Just ENJOY the damned day at Disneyland. Post every two hours instead of every one. It's not going to matter if you have half a million likes instead of a million if you still have just as many READERS of the blog. (Hopefully because you're cranking out just as much or more quality content.)

But I did it this way. Live and learn. And now that I'm here, I wouldn't give it up for the world. I understand the pervading love that artists and entertainers have for those who follow their work. 

Lastly, thank you.

I know not all of you are coming from Facebook, but there are other milestones at least as arbitrary and you ARE the reason for those. Plus most of you are (coming from Facebook, that is), and I couldn't have done it without you. I mean I literally couldn't have done it without each and every one of you. 

So inasmuch as this has been a time of quiet reflection and perhaps the acknowledgement of a few zigs where I should have zagged, it is still a breathtaking moment and a huge milestone and thank you all so, so very much. 

Reminder the second: I'm currently working on a clunky older computer made for gaming (not writing) while my new Mac Air is on order. I will keep working, but it's a bit like pulling toffee. Nothing QUITE works as well and every step takes extra time. So please be extra patient with me as I navigate that in addition to all the pandemic/fire season/quarantine/rising fascism stuff. And if you like what I'm doing and have always wanted to donate, helping me offset the costs of buying a new computer is a great time to do so.  My Paypal:  paypal.me/WritingAboutWriting  Of course, if you really want to help, become a patron at a level you can handle monthly, because that is money I can factor into my budgets. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

In Case You Missed It (Logistical Follow Up To Yesterday's Post)

If you missed Monday's post about losing data you may not know the latest gonads slam that life has thrown at me (on top of the fires, the overworked, the pandemic, the terribad air quality and the Mordor-skies).  The facts were tucked between a sort of metaphor for how "Art" likes to kick me around and demand I sacrifice things to prove my love and the practical advice for the modern writer to simply know and prepare for the fact that their computer (and more specifically data loss) is just a fact of life to prepare for as best one can. 

I spent yesterday trying to troubleshoot the problem myself (no dice), and to fire up a VERY old, very clunky, very hard to use MacAir and see if I can figure out how much was on the cloud. (More than I hoped. Not as much as I feared. A dreadfully large number of half written articles and notes which is going to be quite a setback.) Said MacAir cannot just step in either, I'm afraid. It's just too damned old. The touch pad requires almost smacking it to get a left click, and a couple of the keys are REALLY twitchy. Plus it does NOT love what modern programs ask it to do. I ride my computers hard and put them away wet. I write every day and some of those sessions are 12 to 14 hours. It's a miracle the thing still turns on at all. 

A new Mac Air is ordered and on the way. They usually overestimate and adjust, but who knows with everything else going on, if I'll even get it by Sept 30th. While its arrival will not solve every problem that the death of the old computer has caused, I will at least be able to pick up some pieces and start at square ten (instead of one). Right now I'm at square two.

Still, I'm not at square one. I have a band-aid laptop. It's really more for gaming, and I hate writing on PCs because I'm a walking, talking writer cliche, but it has a keyboard which will create the wordshapes. I will start some articles from scratch and try to reassemble a few from memory. It's slow going though, so my writing is a bit like pulling taffy.

Until I get my Mac Air, expect most of my main articles to drop on Wednesday and Friday. (And more and more over at NWAW for the next couple of months as the election looms and my brain is consumed.) I imagine the rest of the days will be a combination of posts that are lower impact for me (like compilations or poll stuff) and just nothing. Empty days. I'm going to work hard to keep posting, but stack enough speed bumps on top of each other and they start to look like a wall. 

I'm definitely going to need tomorrow off. Although if I think of the next poll topic, I might make a quick call for nominations. 

Writing for money isn't like I imagined. It's better at times, but there's a lot of days where I feel like I'm treading water, wasting time with the not-writing stuff, or spinning my wheels. I mean obviously the pandemic wouldn't be something anybody really PLANS for, but some days I'm a little surprised at how much you have to ignore a missed post or a bad week and take it to the wide angle lens to assure yourself that you really ARE a writer, and things are just particularly shitty right now. 

Hang in there if you're having trouble. Setbacks--real and terrible setbacks--are part of the cost of doing business, but writing is a lot like flossing. If you don't worry about a missed day or a terrible week, but keep doing it as often as you can, you'll still have pretty good um.......gums.

Because of all your support, I was able to just order a new laptop immediately without angst or wondering how I was going to pay rent. (It took some budgeting and saving too, but that money wouldn't have existed without my Patrons and supporters.) If you'd like to be a part of the next laptop rescue fund, please consider becoming a Patron (even a dollar or three makes a big difference), or if a one-time donation is more your style, this is my Paypal

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Muse Wants What the Muse Wants (Three Things to Remember When Surviving Data Loss)

I guess Paul's muse didn't wear a leather corset.       
The Kiss of the Muse by Paul Cezanne 1860

[CN: My relationship with Art reads like a D/s relationship, so if that squicks you, skip this one. Or at LEAST bounce down past the italicized part.]

She was sitting astride me, leaned over with her face hovering over mine when I woke up, her fingers already woven through the hair at the back of my neck. As soon as my eyes fluttered open and I started to "Wha--", her fists clenched, and yanked me back into the pillow with a yelp.

"Oh good," she said, her smile growing just a little sinister. "You're awake."

"Yeah, do you think maybe- Ahhhhh!"

Her hands gripped tighter. "We never talk anymore. Let's chat, shall we." Her face was right over mine, but she leaned in even closer. "It's been a little rough these past few weeks. All that nanny work you've gotten up to."

I nodded with what little head motion I could muster.

"And this whole pandemic," she added. "Poor little you."

"Uh...." I didn't like where this was going.

Her head went down and her teeth found my earlobe. They slid over it, gently at first but with rising pressure.

Through clenched teeth holding my ear, she whispered. "I think it's time for me to remind you of all I do for you. But more importantly, it's time for you to show me that our love can overcome a little adversity."

My breathing was quick and jagged.

"It can, can't it?" She asked shifting her hips along mine.

"Yes...", I gasped. "Not that you're not totally overdoing this, but yes."

Her eyes narrowed.

"Good," she whispered as her hands clenching my hair relaxed. "Very good...."

This is one of those mornings where the chapter heading could be "But the Universe Had Other Ideas."

My MacBook has died. Dramatically. Suddenly. Thoroughly. 

Of course, I was being careful with some of my information, and less so with others. I lost some half-written articles, notes on many more. About a zillion pics and memes for the Facebook page. Some stuff will be in the Mac Cloud that I don't expect. Some is gone forever.

It's a pretty severe setback. 

But today I talk to you writer to writer. Because if I can't eke some folksy writer wisdom out of a personal tragedy, what are we even doing here?

1- Life will challenge the "sunk cost" fallacy of pursuing art. 

This isn't  new experience for writers. It's been happening since the wind blew a hand-written manuscript into the fire, or the only physical copy of something was lost in the move. Computers haven't helped that much. Data corrupts. Even saved files die. Personally, I've been through this half a dozen times in my 30 years writing with ever better technology every time (and it never gets any easier). The worst was a total purge of Dropbox (yes, I'm naming names). But even with clouds and triple redundant backups and USB thumb drives and everything else, you're probably going to lose some stuff.

And if the only reason you're writing is because you have put so much into it, that's going to be a really rough moment. You're going to want to quit, and if the only reason you were slogging on is because you'd come so far, it's going to be a pretty GOOD moment to be spectacularly self-honest. 

I'm not saying you SHOULD quit. I'm just saying that you're being leaned over one heck of a psychic volcano. 

It's normal to be upset. To flip a table. To abandon a project. Maybe even to give up for a while. But what happens then will be the most interesting part. Did you write because you had all this effort sunk into it? Or did you write because not writing was terrible or because that story was desperate to get out?

Have the reasons you write been obliterated, lost in some pixel (or ink) graveyard? Or will you come back to the page for the same reason you did before?

2-Just know it's coming and prepare for it.  

You will eventually lose your work. You will. It is going to happen. Just be ready for it and prepare for it.

If you don't believe me.... If you think you can be careful enough.... Check with any other working writer ever. One of the worst ones I remember: a friend went through a power surge that killed every autosave, leaving only the last dedicated save.....three months prior. (And that was three months of high-octane writing too.) When I saved all my shit to three USBs and Dropbox, I thought I was untouchable. Guess who discovered that he couldn't find two of those USBs and one was corrupted when all his work disappeared from Dropbox? 

I probably got too careless about some of those articles, and like a farmer with the cow, I'm going to be a lot better at it for a while. But what I didn't do was forget that certain LARGE files needed to be backed up in the cloud. That's why this is going to be intensely inconvenient for me rather than utterly tragic. 

So just keep a couple of redundancies and know it's going to happen. I don't save to six places every time I work, but periodically I update a Google doc......just in case. And I spend the six dollars a month to have an Apple cloud. If I lose data like today, I'm out a week or two of notes and maybe a mostly written article or three and the last few days on my manuscript rather than months or years of work.

2b- Just know it's coming and prepare for it. Money version.

You should also know your hardware won't last forever. Especially if you're using Apple--which I love like the cliche writer I am, but the engineered obsolescence is no GD joke. Some of their shit basically celebrates its third birthday by breaking. (My Pro had already had a battery changed and was falling apart at the hinge.)

Writers don't spend $100-$200 a month on art supplies or driving around to auditions, but we should still work the cost of our art into our budgets as much as is possible. Instead, we have to come up with $1500 or so once every couple of years and pass it all at once like a kidney stone. If you're not planning for that to be an expense, it can be rough. (It's quite analogous to our taxes since we don't have employers. We always owe, and it's always a lot, so if we're not saving, it's going to hurt like a root canal.) I know a lot of writers don't HAVE an extra hundred or two a month, so it's even more important to sock away a bit here and there when we do.

Economically, I was ready for this. I don't make a lot of money, but I can stretch a budget. I just assume my heavy use of whatever writing laptop I use means that I'll be buying a new one every threeish years, and I drop some money into a dedicated savings account. I have access to other ways to blog in a pinch (like today), but basically I can't go long term without it, so I just make sure it's a priority. 

If you're curious, I'm probably going to get a MacAir instead of a Pro. I don't do video editing or anything and I don't use my writing computer for games (unless it's Bardbarian uploaded so the smol will have something to do). All the reasons I had the more powerful computer are no longer apropos. I stream things on a donated flatscreen through my Playstation now. So a MacAir will probably do the job nicely. 

3- Take heart.

This has got to rank among the most frustrating experiences for writers. Even rejection feels different and has a kind of death-by-a-thousand-cuts feel that one strong wallop of data loss doesn't often achieve. And you have every reason to be frustrated. To perhaps even sulk in bed over ice cream and abandon your daily writing for a week.

But there are things no data loss can take away. You practiced and improved your craft. You improved your ability as a wordsmith. You learned how to sit down and put in the effort until you had something you would lament losing. None of those things can be lost. You will remember more about the things you lost than you think you will if you decide to rewrite them. You may even find whole sentences are still rolling around in your head, but certainly most of the beats are probably still there as soon as you start working.

Perhaps most importantly of all, while you might feel that you really nailed it with a paragraph or three, and you can't seem to get that particular magic back, one thing you will notice is that, for the most part, your rewrite will feel better. (It's the same reason you really ought to completely rewrite a first-to-second draft instead of just going into the old file and trying to revise.) You will have an easier time abandoning things that weren't working or trying completely new approaches, and for the most part, you're going to find your finished post-data-loss-product is better for it. 

I won't go so far as to say this might be the best thing that ever happened, but it's probably not as bad as it feels. Take a moment. Breathe deep. And if you were going to keep writing anyway, hopefully you took some precautions that make this not the worst thing that has ever happened.

If you would like to help me pay for a new writing laptop (or technically help me get started on the saving fund for the NEXT one), a one-time donation through PayPal is always most appreciated, particularly in these difficult financial times. And, of course, I will always be most appreciative of even small ongoing contributions through Patreon as they allow me to budget.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Best Contemporary Fantasy!

Text results below.

Best contemporary fantasy book (or series)? The results are in!

We're still dealing with air so bad that even with an air purifier cranked to max in the same room, staring at a screen for too long causes burning eyes and headaches, so for today, I'm just going to post poll results and keep my everything crossed that we get some tiny kind of wind or relief or something over the weekend so that I can start writing again. Otherwise, I'm going to have to buy four additional air purifiers per room or something. 

I was really sorry to see Jemisin do so poorly, but the competition for this one was stiff. Only some real power houses got through the nominations and the semi-finals. And thank you to SO. MANY. PEOPLE. for the participation. 

Sad news! I'm back on the hunt for a new free polling program. Anything that can handle the numbers of responses and the number of choices is asking me for $30+ a month, which is entirely too much for the one or two times a month I actually run a poll. So our future polls may have some logistical differences (and will almost certainly have cosmetic ones). I might have to limit things to fewer choices or run them on Facebook or something. 

The Innkeeper Chronicles Series - I. Andrews 2052


Discovery of Witches Trilogy - D. Harkness 1501


Ghost Story - Peace Talks - J. Butcher 566


The Stormlight Archive - B. Sanderson 365


Broken Earth Trilogy - N.K. Jemisin 124


First Law - J. Abercrombie 25


Middlegame - S. McGuire 23


Circe - M. Miller 20


Riyira Revelations - M. J. Sullivan 13


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Sometimes the Bar Eats You (Personal/Meta)

Somewhere around here there is a posting schedule where I warn everyone about days like this.

This is our air quality right now. And that's accounting for how it gets a little better after dark. Ironically, the reason we were getting a blood-red apocalypse sky yesterday was because of a cool marine layer keeping all the crap way above us where it could blot out the sun. Now it's all down here with us on the ground. 

I did eight hours today at my other job. I often stay over and tag in with the baby as soon as he wakes up, which is sometime between 5am and 7am. Usually I'm tagged out by 10 to nap so that I can do an afternoon shift. There was a miscommunication. I wasn't going to be able to do the afternoon shift because of appointments. I thought it just meant a short day. Instead, I went straight through to the eight hour mark. 

AND THEN I bounced out the door to not one, but two adulting appointments. Since I have to go into quarantine for my clients' sake before I go back to work every time I have a dental or doctor's appointment, I decided to double dip so that I wouldn't have to take any more time off. So after waking up at six, and eight hours of work, I went to back-to-back dentist/doctor appointments. All while dealing with air quality roughly akin to not moving when you're standing in the campfire plume. 

However, this is the beginning of quarantinication! I have a week off! I'll post something on Monday next week to make up for this bullshit (even though I usually don't), but this is one of the days I warn everyone about. When I'm sitting in my apartment with the air purifier turned up to eleven (and haven't been running around in visibly shitty air for thirteen hours) I'll get a lot more work done.

And if you need your moment of writerly zen, it's this: can't win em all. Some days you have to look at the clock after a longer shift than you thought at your second job, and two appointments and a nap that you WOKE UP FROM after 8pm, and just say "It's not happening today." 

(I mean.....except for THIS.)