Well, November didn’t go exactly as planned. It wasn’t so much that I got off track so much as I was derailed. But it wasn’t outside forces that derailed me. No, it was pretty much my own hubris that did me in. I thought – in hindsight, rather stupidly – that I could do much more than I actually got accomplished. Isn’t that always the way?
To start, I was gone for two solid weeks. Sure, I had my computer, and sure, I had internet access, but traveling cross-country takes so much out of me, especially because I was traveling with my three kids. At night, all I wanted to do was to lie in bed, stare at the ceiling and decompress. I’m calling it my two-week black writing hole. Plus, my brother got married – a lovely occasion, to be sure – but there I was, traveling again (cross-country again). While my solo time on the plane got used to advantage, I was in the wedding and had no downtime the rest of the weekend.
I used to travel – quite a bit, actually. But somehow, when you haven’t done it in a while and when you’re trying to do it with three small kids and when everything’s just a tiny smidge off, the writing gets pushed off, too.
Which brings me to my next topic – prioritization. Boy, did I bite off more than I could chew. I thought I had everything lined up writing-wise – plotting my next manuscript, preparing my next two proposals for my editor, and setting aside time to pound out at least 40K words during National Novel Writing Month.
Screeee – say what? “Setting aside time?” That was the problem, right there. I was trying to set aside time I didn’t have, and I hadn’t really thought about that. “Oh, I’ll figure it out,” I thought, quite blithely. But there’s the rub. You can’t just figure it out. You have to plan it out. And I didn’t, so when I got to the middle of the month and a fresh round of line edits on DEEP AUTUMN HEAT came through the pipeline and I’d only written 7K words on my latest project and I realized that my proposals were due in December, and I was about to take off on a two-week trip to New York, my head nearly exploded.
It took Mr. Barrett, that wonderful man, to bring me back from the brink. “You’re not going to get done what you want,” he said, “so step back and figure out how to get done what you need.”
Well, of course! So obvious, right? So I scrapped my grand plans for a new completed manuscript by the end of the year and focused on what absolutely needed to get done. And things are going better. I finished my latest round of line edits and sent them back to my editor, those proposals are coming along swimmingly, and once they’re in I will take up the mantle of my new project. It won’t get done by the end of the year, but it’ll be done by February (Lord willing). And next time I have grand plans, I’ll make sure to plan everything out in advance.