Too many ways, it would seem, to fit my current circumstance. I have arrived at the threshold of my dream; all is about to unfold.
|photo credit: DavidTurnbull via photopin cc|
And I can’t find the time to write.
Now that I finally have a book deal, I haven’t been able to maintain focus on my work-in-progress for more than a day or two at a time for months now. Editing jobs I've promised in two weeks are stretching to three+. I’m not keeping up. I live in fear of letting someone—especially myself—down.
Here were the components of my life pre-book deal. All are still in full swing, in demand, and not ready to release their grip on my life:
- developmental editing for clients
- leading my Craftwriting workshop series
- hosting two four-day writing retreats for women in June and Sept.
- completing board work for Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, conference work for The Write Stuff, loop moderator for the new Women’s Fiction Writers Association
- conducting a book club (I’ll let this represent the all-important notion of continuing to read)
- participating in various church activities that help remind me that not everyone in the world is writing a novel
- engaging with social media
- caregiving for mother with dementia who lives one hour away
- maintaining self (cleaning, groceries, appointments)
- working out daily to keep butt from spreading
- minimally acting as grandmother (my husband is downstairs playing with two cuties right now)
- giving/attending talks, readings, and other writing events
So what? I’m busy. I love it! To heck with the old-fashioned notions of reclusiveness and focus—such is the life of the modern writer as she builds skills and platform. Many writers keep even more plates spinning, and make it look easy!
But over the past month, transitioning from “writer” to “author” as the countdown to my release continues, I added in the following—you know, in my spare time:
- developing platform: update and increase social media contacts
- obtaining mailing list info for targeted readership for Sourcebooks publicist
- making list of potential blurbers for Sourcebooks; contacting those with whom I have a connection
- writing the Reading Guide questions and Conversation with the Author for back of book/publisher website
- pouncing on unexpected opportunities to make connections that can support my book
Reality: since I have no spare time, these have continually hijacked my writing—even while knowing that the best way to sell your first book is to write a great follow-up book. It’s a real problem! And it’s not just because I prefer well-defined tasks on firm deadline as opposed to the nebulous “The End” I am reaching for with my WIP. These activities are new, sparkly trinkets—I must try them on immediately! Look at me now, this is so fun! Just what I wanted!
Until I realized I was no longer writing. Which occurred to me last week here at the BRP, when I read multiply-published Maryann Miller say of her “Seasons” series, “I am working on the third book. It is still early in the process, so I really need to buckle down and concentrate on finishing,” I’m thinking, Maryann: Show me how!
Turns out that for an author, writing isn't optional. I will have to give up some of my "writing life" to be an "author." The multi-tasking is already nuts, but by all accounts, it only gets worse as release day approaches.
So change is a-coming, because something’s gotta give.
What have you given up for your writing? All time management advice welcome—go!
Just catching up? Here are links to the other posts in this series:
Countdown to a Book 1: Joining Hands
Countdown to a Book 2: Pitching
Countdown to a Book 3: Getting My Agent
Countdown to a Book 4: Developmental Editing
Countdown to a Book 5: All About Image
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Her women's fiction and memoir are represented by Katie Shea at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Her monthly series, "Countdown to a Book," details the traditional publication of her debut novel, The Art of Falling, by Sourcebooks in January 2014. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.