The good news: I've been talking with my editor at Ten Speed Press and we think we've nailed down the next great cat book idea. (I'd tell you, but then I'd either have to kill you or sic a herd of wild Maine Coons on you.) I need to present her with an outline and sample chapter before it's a definite go, but it looks like it will happen.
The bad news: I fear my novel writing will suffer (i.e., "disappear") as I pour all energy into writing the cat book.
It's not the end of the world it that's what happens, but I would really like to attempt a balance between the two books, making the time to work on each. For this to happen, I need to set boundaries around how I spend my time. And what better way to gain clarity on what's important and what's not than to make a list?
NOTE: I need a theme song I can play whenever I make a list. I make them so often, it would be great to have musical accompaniment. Remember the Picture Pages theme song (see below)? Something cute and fun like that. Anyone out there care to work on that for me?
First task is to list everything I want to spend time on:
- Work on the novel
- Work on the cat book
- Daily workouts & marathon training (usually total about 2 hours, not including drive time)
- Spend time with Blair and cats
- Spend time with friends
- Keep in touch with out-of-state family and friends
- Healthy eating/cooking
- Rockingham County Arts Council duties
- Social Media - Twitter / Facebook
- Maintain a clean and orderly home (laugh if you will, but I can't function in chaos)
- Ongoing book promotion for Who Moved My Mouse?
- Speaking engagements - upcoming presentation at BarkWorld in Atlanta in October
- Regular life stuff - car inspections, grocery shopping, etc.
Doesn't seem daunting when written out, yet believe me when I tell you that the first four items alone take up almost all my time. Or rather, they SHOULD take up most of my time. Instead, I let the other items creep in and take over. It's hard to say no to a friend who wants to meet for coffee when we only see each other maybe once a month. I sit on the board for the Arts Council and am heading the Holiday Studio Tour. That's not going to plan itself, so I find myself pulled into committee meetings and planning sessions. I convince myself I can't possibly write a word until the laundry is sorted and folded. Etc.
The answer? Block out chunks of writing time on the calendar and treat them as sacred. No blowing off a writing session or telling myself I'll reschedule it if someone wants to meet for lunch. No checking e-mail or social media during writing time. TV is a luxury, not a necessity, in life.
I've actually got plenty of time to accomplish everything I want to do, with time to spare. The issue is discipline. I can sit down in front of my computer and "work" for 4 hours answering e-mails, blogging, following up on projects, only to walk away and feel I've accomplished nothing.
Writing first. Everything else scheduled in around that. That is my mantra.
But it would still help to have a theme song.