I hung one of those academic-year wall calendars on the door to my office because, whether I'm in a classroom or not, my whole life has been attuned to starting a new year with the start of school. I can take big blocks of summer to laze around and do things on impulse, but when the first leaf turns, I start to chart my time.
So I'm sitting here looking across the room at that calendar and trying to future out what all those blocked-out periods of travel are going to mean to my book production schedule. Here's what I see:
1. I have three weeks coming up during which I should be able to work on the first draft of "Damed Yankee." The third week has the potential to be super-productive because my husband has jury duty, entailing him leaving the house by 7:00 AM every morning. Since I'm not going to want to tackle that rush-hour traffic twice a day, he'll be taking the car and leaving me effectively house-bound. That's OK, though. That's how I get work done. I also expect the first proof copy of "Left by the Side of the Road, 2nd ed." to arrive and demand a careful line-edit.
2. Labor Interruptus: Between September 13 and October 7, I only count eight days when I will not be traveling, and of course they come as individual dates, not strung together in one work period. Those trips promise visits with many old friends, so I want to be free enough to enjoy them without work-guilt. My eight free days will be filled with all the pre-publication stuff that has to happen between the first proof and books hitting the shelf. So, new writing? Probably not. But thinking, planning, and making notes to myself? Absolutely. That's how I fill interstate miles.
3. October is "Nose to the Grindstone" Month. From October 7 on, I see only three evenings booked--two meetings and a wedding. My days are free (so far) to accomplish the following:
- Official publication of "Left by the Side of the Road" in trade paper and text conversions to adapt it to Kindle and Smashwords.
- Creating pre-publication hype for "Damned Yankee," scheduled to make its debut sometime in the spring of 2014. That includes posters, a trailer, pre-pub postcards and other handouts to be used in conjunction with book talks to audiences that may be interesting in what is coming next.
- Estimating future book sales and ordering copies to take on a book tour coming up in November.
- Planning the presentations for each of those book talks. For various reasons, they cannot all be the same. Different venues have asked for different topics.
- And, of course, writing. Right now I have good intentions of finishing the first draft of "Damned Yankee."
4. Hell month (otherwise known as November): From the very first day through Thanksgiving on the 28th, we have ten days at home, again scattered across the calendar and likely to be consumed by laundry for the next trip. We're on the road every weekend, and I have five book talks scheduled on the weekdays in between.
5. After Thanksgiving comes one last chance to find some productive writing time, either finishing first draft of "Damed Yankee" or starting a full rewrite. Then on December 12th we hit the road again, managing just two days home
before Christmas. (I'm betting there will be no fruitcake and no Christmas cookies baked this year!)
So, think retirement means boredom and sitting on your hands with nothing to do? Think again.
So you want to be a writer? Better think that one through again, too. Want to make some real money? Try being my cat-sitter. As for me? Back to work!