By Therese Fowler
Earlier today I was on the phone with an editor, discussing an essay I'd written for an anthology called The First Year, which will come out in 2012. The essay's deadline was March 1st, and I'd made it, but only by the skin of my teeth. If you read my last post, you might recall that "by the skin of my teeth" has become my modus operandi this year. So much of what I'm doing gets pushed right up to its deadline (including this very blog post) despite my good intentions to be more organized, more focused, and more productive Every Single Day (please God send me some house elves who can write).
I'd been invited to write the essay way back in October, and I'd said, No problem! The only other project on my plate at the time was my novel-in-progress, which had its own very-far-away deadline of April 1st.
But then suddenly, don't ask me how, it was February somethingth, and I hadn't done anything more with the essay than jot down some thoughts about what I would write when I actually did write it. So I got started, then put it aside because I had to write this other essay for the Portland Book Review. And then, because I'm apparently a secret masochist who is not happy unless she's under really stupid amounts of pressure, I took a good look at my novel-in-progress and concluded I needed to start it over again. I am pretty hard on myself when I'm not being a complete slacker.
But then suddenly again, it was February somethingmoreth. It was, in fact, almost March 1. So I put my nose down to the grindstone and finagled 2,971 words into essay form and sent it in on deadline. The editor said she loved what I'd written--but that is not to say the essay was ready for publication. She noted how the front of the essay seemed to be going one way, but the middle and end took a slightly different tack, as if when I'd started it, I didn't quite know where I was going to go.
Despite the fact that I spend pretty much all day sitting down, I feel like I'm running around with my hair on fire. I have other essays to write, a book to finish, blog posts to craft, interviews to complete; I'm arranging book tour dates, tweeting links to contests and excerpts for my new book, Exposure, which comes out in May, brainstorming new ways to get the word out--because as many of you know, writing the book is only part of what authors have to do these days.
But you also know the sayings:
You can't win if you don't try.
Half of success is just showing up.
If you build it, they will come.
What I hope is that the first draft of my The First Year essay is a metaphor for the way this year is going to continue to go: Organized chaos moving into focused order and ending quite happily, with a definite to-be-continued flair.
I hope that you'll join me on the journey--and if you will, I'll do my part to make it worth your while. I'm building my official Facebook Author Page and need to get the word out, so here's what I'm offering: when the page gets to 500 members, five members will win an inscribed copy of one of my books, their choice. When the page gets to 1000 members, I'll give ten more members an inscribed book, plus one member will win an e-reader (Kindle or Nook, winner's choice). What do you have to do for a chance to win? "Like" the page and encourage fellow readers (via FB, Twitter, or even old-fashioned conversation) to do the same. Simple, right?
And if you'll stand-by with a fire extinguisher in hand, I'll be more grateful still.