Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is the room spinning or is it my head?

There are many things I love about having a three-book deal, not the least of which is that I get to say, "Hey, I have a three-book deal!"

But there are aspects of it that make me dizzier than a blonde on a roller coaster with a head injury and a bottle of tequila.

Take this week, for example. I spent Monday editing the third book in my contract, working to incorporate ideas my agent and I brainstormed together.

On Tuesday she called with the thrilling news that the first book in my contract will be sold at Walmarts around the country. Much merrymaking ensued, and continued through Wednesday.

This morning (still a little dizzy from the merrymaking) I got a 6 a.m. call from my agent that my editor would be calling in 30 minutes to discuss some major revisions on my second contracted book. I listened and nodded and got up and brushed my teeth and then listened and nodded and took notes until I thought my hand might fall off.

Now I'm sitting here trying to remember if I'm supposed to be editing the third book or squealing about the first or fretting over the changes to the second.

And then I remember I'm not supposed to be doing any of those things because I still need to get a blog post written this morning (the merrymaking having thrown last night's schedule into a tailspin, you see).

I'm not complaining about any of this. I wake up every morning eternally grateful for this book deal and for my amazing agent and fabulous editor who would both maim puppies if they thought it would make my books more successful.

Fortunately, puppy maiming won't be involved in any of what I have to do these next few weeks.

But I'm still a little dizzy.

And I welcome any tips you might have for dealing with the yo-yo effects of lurching between projects like a drunk sailor. How do you keep your sanity when you multitask? Please share!

I'll just be over here duct taping my head to the desk to stop the spinning.

22 comments :

Patty Blount said...

Right there with you! For me, it's trying to balance day job with writing. I'll be taking notes to see what tips you get.

Patrick Alan said...

This experience is like a microcosm of parenting. Look, he cleaned up! Look he just beaned his best friend in the face and appears to show no remorse! He has to be where right now? He got straight A's! Why would he leave that there? No you can't have a cellphone. Because YOU'RE NINE!

The only rational thing to do is... I am sorry, I have yet to figure this part out. The experiences list above usually all occur before 8:30am, daily.

Matthew MacNish said...

I don't know what to tell you, I'm a man, I can't multitask. Then again, I do have to switch back and forth between writing and ... other things, sometimes. Unfortunately, I have no idea how I change my focus from one to the other, I just do.

Jason said...

Michelle doesn't seem like the maiming puppies type. :)

I have learned to multitask by necessity as I pile more and more on my plate, but what I have found works for me is I can manage it to a certain point all in my head. After that, I need checklists.

I cannot put into words what exactly defines that "certain point" - it just feels like the right time. If I'm having trouble keeping the items straight, I do the list. And then when there are the times when my gut feel for a list doesn't kick in, I just miss stuff.

terripatrick said...

My process for switching between projects is to make a physical transition of putting one away as in a "clean it off my desk" process, then doing something else, like leaving the house for a walk or errand.
This helps me switch gears because one is done for this day and when I return I open the other. Or I will designate an every other day schedule. Good luck. :D

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

One -- step -- at -- a -- time. As soon as the room stops spinning, just do the best you can. A few sips of adult beverage may help expedite your moves.

Sierra Godfrey said...

take it bird by bird.

Michelle Wolfson said...

So I just got back from a couple of appointments and was going to email you to see how you're doing but decided to procrastinate by reading your blog post first.
Um, yay Walmart?

Sarah W said...

I agree with Susan and Sierra!

*Step, step, breathe, repeat from *

Deborah said...

Stop. Breathe. Organize. Prioritize. Tackle most imminent. Once finished. Stop. Breathe. Consult priorities. Tackle most imminent. And by imminent, I mean that, which not done immediately, will result in catastrophic disaster - this could mean a bathroom break is most imminent --for you or the dog -- then back to The List and the next most imminent...which means, for me, with four kids, a day job, a dog, two cats and a hubby, writing time is rarely imminent. Someone always has an emergency - like the Sunday I had set aside to write and instead spent in the ER with son after a Jeep pulled out in front of him when he was biking down the road and he could not avoid broadsiding said Jeep.

Just do your best. Remember to eat, sleep, and walk the dog. The rest will work out.

Take care,
Deb

Jen Stayrook said...

I just shouted, "YAY!" in the office while reading this post. This is all so fantastic for you! (The people in the office think I'm a tad crazy, but that's not new.)

As for multitasking, I make lists to make sure I'm doing one thing at a time. Otherwise, I trying doing them all at once and nothing gets done. But, for you, I'd just say, make sure you give yourself time to breath. Enjoy the excitement. Congrats!

Rick said...

I have no idea, but if you figure it out, can you let me know? I'll be hiding in the pantry with the Chardonnay.

Sharla Lovelace said...

First, let me WOOT!!! Congrats on the Walmart thing, and also on the cover! I haven't been back over here in a while, and just saw your cover...it's fabulous!

I can relate to the juggling craziness. I got a 2-book deal (and get to dance around saying I got a 2-book deal) and was all heavy at work on #2 when #1's pub date got moved up and I had to switch gears to retitling/cover for the cover conference, and then get back on #2 because synops is due next week and I need some concept of what the end will be.

Deep breath.

My advice? Get a really big whiteboard or calendar, look at it a minute all shiny and new, and then walk outside with a pen and paper and write the old school way. Nothing clears your head like that.

The Sprouting Acorn said...

If you're striving for sanity, you're setting your goals way too high! Besides, I'm sure it's not all it's cracked up to be. ;-)

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Geoffrey Cubbage said...

When the world tilts left, drink 'til the room lurches right! Then keep on drinking, because everything's much more stable and easy to keep track of once you collapse face-down in the gutter. Gutters do very little moving.

Elise said...

Make lists! Days I make lists are mega-productive, days I don't, I spend spinning in circles trying to remember what's supposed to have top priority, and I get very overwhelmed and nothing gets done.

LTM said...

LOL! I have no idea, but how much fun is that? I just read your Walmart post, and now I'll be looking out for it next time I'm in there.

Very cool. Super-congrats, T! :o)

Neurotic Workaholic said...

That's awesome that your book is going to be sold at Walmart. There aren't any in Chicago, though, at least not that I know of. But I'll just order it on Amazon then! I'm looking forward to reading it.

Shakespeare said...

So fantastic! What a great problem to have!

Still, it's hard to edit when one is faced with the urge to PARTY! I can't say what you should do, for what works for me would not necessarily work for you.

I just try to set up times to work various projects. If I can't do it all in one stretch--and I have two kids, so I can't--then I do it in logical, measurable increments (attacking a single plot event or single interaction at once, so that I can just focus on that), and once it's done, mark it off my list. I keep a book of lists just for that (but then, I am OCD when it comes to lists).

Okay, end of advice. I'm so happy for you!

Douglas Morrison said...

It's only going to get better and better. August is just around the corner so prepare for carpal tunnel from all the books you are about to sign!

Tally-Ho!
(the origin of that phrase had something to do with a hooker accountant)

The very best to you!

Doug