In Night School, a show airing on MTV in 1982 that ran roughly a half-hour long, in which he answered questions posed by audience members, Billy Joel revealed that the pressure he was talking about in the song was something along the lines of writing pressure and pressure to provide.
“When I was starting out and trying to get things going, the pressure was, ‘if you don’t get things going, they’re going to throw you out of this apartment,’ that was that kind of pressure. ‘I’m hungry,’ my stomach was going, “pressure, food.” I think that’s pretty intense pressure. The pressure I was writing about in this song wasn’t necessarily music business pressure, it was writing pressure. … At the time, I was saying, “Well, I gotta write some more stuff for the album”; I was about halfway through, and I said, “Well, what am I gonna do? I don’t have any ideas, it’s gone, it’s dead, I have nothing, nothing, nothing. There’s nothing.” And then the woman who is my secretary came into the house at that point and said, “Wow, you look like you’re under a lot of pressure. I bet you that’d be a good idea for a song.” And I went, “Thank you!”
I’m looking at that and thinking Billy Joel ain’t got nothing on me. You don’t know pressure till you realize Christmas is 16 days away, you haven’t bought a single present for the family, haven’t hung the decorations, written and mailed the cards, even thought about Christmas Day dinner, let alone bought any of the ingredients. And you’re busting a gut trying to get your latest novel ready for publication.
I promised readers I’d publish next week, and I don’t want to go back on my word. This is why I’m in a sweat – deadlines. Publication and Christmas.
I’ve had input from my line editor, my editorial consultant, my beta readers. But these fabulous people don’t edit the novel – it’s not their job – they advise me what to do. It’s up to me to make the edits. And I’m always afraid I missed something. Or left words that should no longer be in there when I altered a sentence or paragraph. Or messed up formatting. So I read it again. And you know what happens when I read through again? I make more changes. Then I worry I messed up, again.
And what do you buy a teenager who has just about everything? No, hubby, we can’t give them money. This is Christmas, time for family and gift-giving. They need to have presents under our sparkly tree. We need to get the tree up and make it sparkly so we can put presents under it. When we have presents.
Do I really like this cover? Will it look okay on the Kindle product page? Oh my God I just thought of the perfect words to describe that scene!
Are we doing a dinner this year, or a buffet? I can’t do a dinner when I never know what time anyone will turn up!
If I read my own work much longer tonight, I
Maybe I can manage one more chapter . . . . Damn, where did that typo come from?