The Anti-Butt-In-Chair Argument (#IWSG)

mordorThe status of my production schedule for June month-end, if the spirit of keeping score, was as follows:

(1)   Novella completed (and therefore officially off my plate) in the nick of time;

(1)   Novella nearly drafted (90% done! W00T!);

(1)   Novel in Act I Revisions (approximately 9 chapters)

(1) Novella pending revision

As it stands now, I’m about a week behind in production, but I’m okay with that. Here’s why.

(Or, for those of you playing along a home, this is The Anti-Butt-In-Chair Argument.

I know, I know. It sounds like an episode of The Big Bang Theory, which is appropriate, since my ongoing Production Schedule as it stood suffered a explosion of galactic proportions. I’m not complaining—after all, I am the one who pressed the Big Red Button of BOOM ™.

It has to happen sometimes. I was struggling with my current production schedule, what with one thing and another, and the exhaustion was starting to catch up. I’m an epic planner, but what that means is that sometimes I get WAY ahead of myself and over plan without leaving room to rest. I mean, your body needs rest after a lot of physical activity, right? So it should follow that the mind needs rest, too.

It also didn’t seem wise (or fair to my readers) to open three new series this year and then for there to be a year’s wait between books for their favorite. But I also knew that as a full-time worker bee and part-time hybrid authorpeneur I could really only handle a book release three months without losing an unnecessary amount of sanity points. I mean, I’ve only got so many left. Any less and I’d have to horde them like Gollum and the One Ring.

“The stories takes our sanity preccccioussssshhh!”

So I took a good, hard look at my production schedule. And then I threw it into the fires of Mordor.

It made a pretty, pretty boom.

My day job—no longer evil, but still necessary—consists of a great deal of accounting, and scheduled payments from a variety of vendors. I also have my theatre background to draw on. So I used these two handy skillsets to rebuild a less punishing, but equally productive, schedule.

Don’t get me wrong: the next six months are still going to be busy as I shovel up the detritus of my last schedule and get the new one going. My novel production will remain largely intact, but I’ve reworked the more urgent novella production so that the full cycle takes six months rather than three. By giving myself more room at the end of production, I can conserve energy for drafting the next book in the pipeline.

Moreover, every three months on my “off” cycle I won’t be drafting anything with a solid deadline. Instead, anything I draft will be strictly for fun—or not at all. By recapturing the joy of writing on a regular basis, this will keep me jazzed and inspired and refreshed.

I had to force myself to leave regular, open slots on my schedule—playing merry havoc with my OCD, let me tell you—so that when contracted work comes in, or I end up racing down the road of one of my tangents—so that my mental and emotional energy is conserved. The best performers save it for when they need it—so they have somewhere to go when the need calls for it. You can’t play the entire show at an eleven, and then run smack into a wall at the most important moment.

So by dialing down my schedule to an eight, I can save the other three decibels for when I need to accelerate production, and I’ll still be able to meet the promise I made my readers by having something new for them every three months.

Balance. Discipline. And FUN.

Because if it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.




2 thoughts on “The Anti-Butt-In-Chair Argument (#IWSG)

  1. David Stringer says:

    I’m always really impressed with how well you seem to juggle so many things.

    I think that if you have so much on your plate, you’ll fall behind from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable. You seem to be managing your time really well on the most part though, well done!

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