Your deadline looms, yet you are still playing phone tag with an interviewee, and the fact-checking is going painfully slow. Sometimes, you're just exhausted, and forcing together coherent sentences. Either way, to make your deadline, you rely on the time-tested method of caffeine and late night work. It's hard, but you feel a twisted sense of accomplishment at 5 a.m. as you run the spellchecker and get the file ready to go.
Years ago, I could pull an all-nighter with nothing more than an upbeat CD and some green tea. Not any more. After suffering enough misunderstandings and coincidences with sources, information, and the general universe to satisfy both Shakespeare and Three's Company, I found myself trying to just get the work done, push it through, and discover that little 5 a.m. rush.
At 2 a.m., I gave up, tired, crabby, and unable to communicate even with the cat. I must face the fact that, at 39, I'm getting too old to pull an all-nighter to finish an article. Years ago, no problem, and after a few hours sleep, I could bounce up bright-eyed. Those days are long gone. The only bouncing that happens is if I doze off in my chair, then fall out of it. I must accept the fact that my eyelids start to fall during the Daily Show, and the work has to wait. Oh, the humanity.