I’m on deadline. Besides meaning that I’ve got about 400 more pages to write in a two and a half months, it also means that I haven’t showered since yesterday, I’m dressing like a homeless woman, and if I don’t wash my hair soon my dog will start complaining. Welcome to the glamorous life of an author.
How did this happen? Well, I was on book tour this summer for 6 weeks to promote my first hardcover, THE TIME BETWEEN. Fun and glamorous (for the most part) sure, but exhausting enough that my writing during that period was as fast and elegant as a herd of turtles racing through molasses. I would have started writing this book earlier, but I had another book to write (RETURN TO TRADD STREET—due out in January 2014) AND a short story for an anthology that I finished in April and June, respectively. THE TIME BETWEEN came out on June 2nd and then I went on tour. THEN I had to come up with a brand spanking new story idea and write the whole book by <drum roll> November 1st. I’m ecstatic that readers are clamoring for my books and reading them and telling me how much they’re enjoying them. It really is a dream come true. I’m also very, very tired.
My daily routine consists of wake up, feed dog, caffeinate self, then write at least three pages before I allow myself to eat. Then I spend about an hour answering email and dealing with the business side of my writing career. Then I write a few more pages before I get to eat lunch. Then I take dog for walk (hoping I won’t run into any neighbors because I’m still wearing the homeless person outfit I threw on—or slept in—when I heaved myself out of bed) take 20 minute nap and write more pages before husband comes home for work.
We’ve been married 25 years so he’s learned diplomacy. He knows better than to say, “Hey, Karen, weren’t you wearing that same thing last night when you went to bed?” or “Do you think you might shower today? The dog’s starting to complain.” And he especially knows not to ask, “Aren’t you done yet?” Instead, he just quickly walks past me with a brief greeting, not wanting to see my head start spinning in a 360. Kinda like in The Exorcist. Thank goodness my kids are about to head back to college—because that would mean two more people who have to tiptoe around me in my Deadline Dementia state. My husband says he’s going to enroll in college in time for the next deadline so he can live elsewhere for a while, too.
After a dinner that my husband has graciously prepared (and after my evening workout—either Pilates of Zumba), I write a few more pages before heading back to my computer for more business-related emails, blogging, Facebook, etc. I normally collapse into bed around 11:30 at night, nearly comatose, but need a fix of Jay Leno before I can go to sleep. It’s the only time during the day where I’m not compelled to do anything for anybody, and nobody expects me to email or call them at that hour, either. I sleep like a dead person and am up with the sun the next morning to do it all over again.
I am very, very fried. I hope I can survive to celebrate the completion and publication of this book—and not from the inside of an asylum.
In October, I’m going to the beach for the entire month. I imagine my routine will be similar to the one I have here at home, but I’m hoping that the change in scenery will give me the necessary mental boost I need to power through until I reach the end. According to my friends, I’m the only person they know who gets paler when she spends a month at the beach.
I’ve got to end this blog now. I’ve got at least two more pages to write before I can go to sleep. I love to write, I really do, but deadlines are different. Staring at my laptop each morning is a bit like staring at the freezing cold water of a pool. You know it’s going to hurt when you dive in, and be horribly uncomfortable for a long stretch, but after a while you’ll warm up and remember why you love to swim.