Monday, November 8, 2010

Juggling Isn't Only for the Circus

My dear mother turned eighty-five last week. You can guess by her age she grew up during the depression. She’s never used a computer, never searched for anything online and is the only person in our family who doesn’t like to read. But she has always supported her family in their reading and now me in my writing.


We didn’t have a local library in the small town where I grew up. We relied on the school for pleasure reading material. When I was a teenager I had an aunt who started sharing her romance novels with my sisters and me. I was introduced to The Hobbit in a ninth grade English class and my love of fantasy was born.

I called my mother to wish her a Happy Birthday and she asked as usual how my writing was going. She always puzzles over where I get my ideas, that infamous unanswerable question. She knew I had some edits to do last week and asked me if I’d finished them. When I explained that I had and was now working on setting up promotion, writing a short story and hoping to get back to the new manuscript I’d put aside to do edits, she became totally confused. I’m not sure I ever realized myself how much of writing is juggling various projects.

When I first started writing, I worked on one manuscript. When I finished and polished it, I started submitting it to agents. While I waited to hear back on my submissions, I took the advice of all my writing buddies and began work on the next book and then the next. Once I sold that first book, I began establishing my ‘web presence’ with social networking and building a website. By that time I was already submitting the second book, and then the third, doing edits on the first, doing promotion, and keeping up with the blogs and all those other promotion gambits.

All this is familiar territory for experienced writers but I remember the stress it caused me the first few times I had to put aside a WIP because I had to edit an older book especially if the new one was really flowing. I still long for those days when I could concentrate on one project at a time though I’m thrilled I’ve had enough success to have so many things demanding my attention. And on days when I’m ‘stuck’ on a certain scene or plot twist, I still feel as if I’ve accomplished something if I’ve updated my blog or made some new contacts on other social networking sites.

I’ve learned to juggle and most days avoid the stress inherent in it. How about you? Are you ever so busy with multiple deadlines, various projects and responsibilities it nearly overwhelms you? Have you ever missed a deadline or otherwise dropped one of those balls you juggle every day?

7 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm going to drop one here very soon, because I will NOT have my next project completed on time. After several years of going-going-going, I've finally hit a streak of total burnout.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's tough keeping all those projects spinning. Hope you keep them all going.

Ava Quinn said...

Happy birthday to your mom, a real live milk maid! ;)

I like the new look you've got going on your blog. Very nice.

Good luck keeping up the juggling act. You'll do it with flying colors. Just like always.

Victoria said...

Love the new look!
I don't have deadlines yet, but some days the juggling just doesn't happen and I feel like I break every ball I touch.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Thanks, Ava, and Vickie. Redesigning my blog was one of the things I was doing when I should have been working on that short story.

madisonwoods said...

I have a few things (fiction) going, but no one's waiting yet. So the stress is all self-imposed.

However, today an editor called me for an article (non-fiction)he knew was in the works, so the heat just got turned on, LOL.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Good luck, Madison. I think that stress is good stress.