Writing Daze—Bursts and Bits © 2012, Vicki Hinze
I know it’s been a week since I’ve posted, and you know that’s very odd for me. But a bunch of events conspired and all hit at once.
Line Edits on book 2 in my new LOST, INC., series, CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN arrived and had a short turn-around time, right during peak writing time in book 3, TORN LOYALTIES.
I stopped the big writing burst push on TL to do the writing bit on CC. Then came edits on SHADES OF GRAY. Burst and bit and got those done.
My eldest angel was selected to play on the All Star team, which meant more ballgames. (That’s a treat I wholly enjoy and I try hard never to miss her games.)
During all of this, there are contract term discussions going on and they have been for an extended period of time now. More bursts and bits.
And marketing discussions on two other books, both of which required planning action right away. More and more bursts and bits.
Then there’s the Christians Read program, which required some immediate work and still requires a little more. (This is soul work for me and I enjoy it immensely, but the timing wasn’t exactly great though it was unavoidable.)
I won’t bore you with the blow by blow but there is a lot more–think tornado watches and warnings, power outages, failed computers and net access, a fraud alert on identity theft, and just for good measure, a couple copyright infringements by pirates who don’t mind stealing to profit off others’ labors.
I’ve worked on no less that seven different projects in the past week. Some things had to give no matter how much I love them. Blogging was one of them. Email loops and, frankly anything not urgent, had to wait, too. I’ve been working from 4 am until 7 pm with a few later nights also required. You do what you have to do to get it done, right?
I’m not sharing this to complain. There is no complaint, well, aside from the attempted ID theft and piracy. I’m sharing this so writers understand that there is no such thing as projects lining up in a pretty row where you work on one, finish, then start another. Writing doesn’t work that way.
Projects are messy, overlapping, cut into time allotted for other projects. Working on multiple projects at once is common. It’s helpful to be aware of that so you’re not overwhelmed or floored when it happens to you. It will happen. So be aware. 🙂
This morning, I got up early and finished Torn Loyalties. I was elated. It’s done and I love it. That’s such a fantastic feeling. I have been planning to finish it and take a day and just be. That’s not going to happen today.
I opened email and discovered galleys have arrived on another project. Those have a short turn-around time, so I’ll have to do them right away. But that day of being won’t be as soon as those are done, either.
I haven’t blogged in a week and I miss it. Emails—over 800 on one account, and there are two more accounts. I haven’t yet checked them. Just reviewed my to-do list (it’s three full pages long right now) and I have four pages of notes to review and those items to incorporate into the priority list. Some items will take five minutes, some days.
But I’m taking that day of being, anyway. I’ve scheduled it, and when that day arrives, it’s mine.
You see, that’s the point of this post. When you work for yourself, you never get done. You rarely get caught up. And you seldom don’t have a to-do list longer than your arm. So you must choose: you work and have a life, or you don’t. If you choose work and a life, then you make it happen.
Block out a day now and then to just be. If you don’t, you will resent not having it. And there will come a time when you regret not having it.
And go to a few kids’ ballgames. It’s a fantastic attitude adjustment. The kids are excited and enthused and eager to do well. They’re competitive and yet realize working as a team has tons of perks. And you get to observe all this. To watch and just soak it in.
One of my favorite things at our games is watching a specific umpire. She’s a mature woman with a ready smile, who stops the games now and then to show a child how to hold the bat or square up with home plate.
She also does the chicken dance before games. 🙂 Her happiness and joy at what she’s doing is infectious. Quite a character, and a good umpire too.
I wonder often if she knows how much the kids and their parents and grands love watching her at play. She has no problem connecting with her inner child, and could care less if anyone watching considers her silly. I love that about her, and I think she’s a wonderful role model for the kids. Dance like nobody’s watching. She does, and it’s terrific. She also teaches by observation the value of loving what you do. No one could doubt that woman loves her work.
Give up all that? No. I need it to balance the intensity of writing suspense and villains and tackling terrorists and issues. The kids playing their hearts out lifts me up. Watching the little ones learning get confused on running the bases, or skip from first to second at the beginning of the season and run like gazelles and slide like they’re greased at the end of it. That’s not the place to cut corners. No, that’s the stuff that makes life heady and fabulous.
So if I’m a little late responding to your email, pardon me. I will get to it as soon as I can. But I need my moments studying the chicken dance. Believe it or not, it’s harder than it looks!
Bottom line: Work matters. But not more than life. Both have value and purpose. Shoot for balance by getting comfortable at working in bursts and bits. You’ll smile more and regret less. That, my dear ones, is a winning combination.