Juggling Cotton Balls in a Snow Storm
How to Multi-Task with Deadlines
My ex-husband once told me he received an outstanding evaluation at work that said he was able to juggle cotton balls in a snowstorm. I finally figured it out that it meant he could multi-task even under difficult conditions and get the job done. Too bad he wasn’t like that at home then maybe we’d still be married…no I doubt that. He had too many issues. No, I’m not getting sentimental and no I don’t miss him or being married. The topic just came to mind after spending the last week pushing out mass quantities of work that all hit me at one time.
About a month ago nothing was happening with my writing. Oh I still wrote everyday but I hadn’t heard from publishers I had submitted to, I hadn’t had a new release since January and I didn’t find anything new when I Goggled my name. I was beginning to think that I was in a slump.
Being in a slump is different than having writer’s block. Writer’s block is when you can’t think of anything to write about or you’re stumped about how you’re going to get your heroine’s butt out of trouble once you run her into a brick wall. A slump is when nothing is going on in your writing career and you’re not communicating with your fans. It can also mean your fans have purchased everything you have written and are busily reading other writers until you publish something. It can also mean you have failed to come up with a plan to encourage new fans to read what you currently have punished. Either way, nothing was going on. Having fans is like being married, you have to work to keep the communication open. So from now on I’m going to try to keep this relationship working with my fans by taking the time to not only blog but to participate in chats.
To continue, I kept seeing other authors posting new book covers on Facebook, they were blogging and announcing new releases while I wasn’t getting anything in my email except excerpts and promotions from them.
I should have enjoyed the peace and quiet, but to tell you the truth it drove me crazy, yet I kept writing. I opened the email and I had a Facebook note from one of my publishers. In January I won a writing contest and she was ready to offer me a contract but I had to send the rest of the manuscript since I only needed to enter the first three chapters for the contest. Well, to make a long story, the flash drive where the manuscript was located had gotten corrupted which meant I had to type everything but those first thirty pages from scratch. (Thank god for four years of high school typing and two years at secretarial college and thirteen years of being an executive secretary. The original manuscript was 209 pages long and lucky for me I can type a little over a hundred words a minute on a good day.) I was also lucky that I normally print out a copy of everything I finish and file it. I usually back up my flashes too but unfortunately I forgot to do it this time. I should have learned a lesson when this happened to me last year. Normally I learn from my mistakes.
So I started typing last Thursday evening after I got home from work and I typed late into the night until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I resumed typing Friday evening after I got home from work, all day Saturday (while babysitting three grand-children) and all day Sunday. I finally finished around nine that night, so I read over it, spell-checked it and read over it again before submitting it the publisher around eleven that night. I promised that I would have it to her on Sunday and I did everything that I could to meet the deadline. Little things like this happen to everyone some times in their lifetime (to me it happens every other day). I could have given up and said “F---k it,” but I’m a professional which means there is no such thing as giving up.
So, while I typed away on a peaceful Mother’s Day things started appearing in my email box. First two stories got accepted, two covers appeared, two contracts, a ton of forms, and bills and each needing my attention and needed to be taken care of by me. In my head all I wanted to do was get the five new manuscripts I’ve been working on during my slump typed.
What did I do? I worked on the ASAP stuff first after prioritizing them in accordance to importance. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the publisher for the story I had re-typed emailed me that she needed a synopsis of the story, an author info sheet and a book cover info sheet, and as you guess the synopsis was on the same flash that got corrupted so I had to type it from scratch. That’s what I did first; I typed the synopsis, and filled out the author’s form and the cover form and finished around eleven thirty last night. Since it was Monday, I still needed to do promotions, so I found the blurb and excerpt I needed and posted to my Yahoo Groups and MySpace until midnight. My Twitter page wouldn’t load so I couldn’t post there and the link did funny things on Facebook so I just went to sleep.
This morning I still couldn’t access Twitter from home, so I just charged my MP3 player so I could listen to it on the bus while I wrote. I went back to one of the five manuscripts I was working on but I had to keep flipping back through pages to find the heroine’s name. I’m using a three subject notebook to keep up with these five manuscripts. (This is not a very good idea. It’s better to use individual steno notebooks if you insist on writing your novels in long-hand first, like I do. It’s best to use individual steno books, and always put your characters names and descriptions on the first page before you begin.) I thought you should know that I’m buried knee deep in steno books from all the writing I do. I plan to finish all five manuscripts by next month since they all have a July deadline. Two of the manuscripts have taken a life on their own. Two are in the beginning stage and one is just a premise. By the weekend I hope to have their character dossiers and novel blueprints mapped out.
The third book in my Asian series is a little over halfway finished. I got the edits to the second book, Saranghae (I Love You) in the email yesterday. This is my top priority for tonight.
Sooner or later I have to sit down and get my holiday submissions finished. I need to update my Amazon Author’s page and my website. I wish I could clone myself. One of my books needs a book trailer. I need to visit Good Reads and put my last book on it and I need a manicure and a pedicure (that will have to wait until the weekend.)
Funny, people are wondering why I’m not actively dating at the moment. When the heck do I have time? The main reason because the man I want is in South Korea. Well, actually he should be making plans to come to the United States for his concert in two weeks. I still haven’t decided if I want to make the twenty-nine hour train ride to see a two hour concert. Time is running out and I still have to make reservations if I plan to go. I just feel like I’d be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime if I don’t go.
I can use the excuse that I need to see his handsome face in person for inspiration, but I would have to free up four days and I wouldn’t really get any writing done in those four days except when I’m in my hotel room. And I’d like to at least do the tourist thing for one day while I’m in Jersey, but I hate to do anything like that by myself. I can’t take him with me because chances are he’d get mobbed. I don’t have a problem staying hunkered down with him in a hotel room for a day (smile).
Note to JYJ promoters: Please have them give a concert down south next year in a place like Florida, Louisiana, Texas or Atlanta. We love them but it’s very expensive to go up north.
So what have I been doing the last hour? Besides typing this blog, I’ve washed a load of clothes, cooked meat sauce and spaghetti, baked garlic toast and answered the doorbell. FedEx just delivered my new TB external drive to back up my flashes. (Like I said earlier, I usually learn from my mistakes.) I’ve also talked to my mother on the phone. Now that I’ve juggled cotton balls in a snow storm it’s time to get back to work. Saranghae’s edits are waiting.