Friday, December 4, 2009

Tick Tick Tick... Kaboom

Okay. So one thing I obviously haven't learned since the launch of my first book, a year ago this month (!) is time management (shout out to Lisa, below - I hear ya' sister!). Heh. I ducked out of last week's posting and disappeared off the face of the planet and for that I must apologize to my fellow Girls ("hi Girls!"). I did it because I was, quite simply, overwhelmed. Also - I'm Canadian. And I already did the Thanksgiving thing weeks ago. All that talk of turkey was making me sleepy. Yeah. That's it.

No, seriously. You see, I was facing down the charging-bull of a deadline (which I've mostly met now, barring a handful of pages I kept back to work on before sending) for... Book the Third.

And here's where it gets weird. I'm still a "debut novelist", technically. DARKLIGHT, the second book in my WONDROUS STRANGE series hasn't even hit the shelves, yet! And I'm worrying about finishing up Book Three!! All of a sudden, time in my universe has become some kind of weird, convoluted Star Trek: TNG plot contrivance. "Help me, Commander Riker! I'm caught in the vortex of a temporal anomaly!" There is the constant threat of explosion. Or implosion.

Tick tick tick. It's the subject of many a pop song, Time.
Songs to which I can now vividly relate:

"Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin'..."
"Tiiiimme... keeps flowin' like a river..."
"Time time time... see what's become of me..." (yeah, see, I always hear The Bangles singing that in my head rather than Simon & Garfunkle...)

And that one song to which I quite simply cannot relate to AT ALL anymore:

"Too much time on my hands...."

So much has happened to me in this relatively brief span that, while I feel there is not nearly enough of the stuff (time), I've learned that - given the right impetus - you really can make use of it for all it's worth.

But, at the same time (heh), I've learned that, when something like this (becoming a debut novelist... and moving toward becoming a not-debut novelist) happens, you do really have to step back once in a while and make the world stop for you. Even if it's just for an hour at a stretch. Look around. Take a deep breath. Realize that something phenomenal has happened and let yourself appreciate it. Hell - MAKE yourself appreciate it.

Because, like Jillian said, once the book got out there... I, too, kind of thought it would be an ending of a sort. That the clock had counted down to the launch. And it had. But now there's a stopwatch constantly ticking that measures how I go forward from that point. It's a marathon. It's a series of sprints. I've learned to love the sound of seconds passing. Sometimes it sounds like a grandfather clock. Sometimes, a digital timer on an action-movie bomb.

My fellow Girls are wise. And they always get to this stuff before me. If you find yourself in this situation or one like it (and I hope you do!), follow the excellent advice they have given you below. What they have told is is all the stuff I have learned, and more. And I will add one more thing: it's not just time - it's YOUR time. Treat it as such.

And, know this: You're gonna miss things. And you're gonna screw things up because it all happens so fast. And you're gonna say things like "Dang, I wish I had more time!" You won't. And that's okay. You will just have to make the most of this finite precious resource. Me? Right now I'm on the west coast, hanging out with (regular Novel Girl reader) my mom. And looking out over the ocean.

I'm finishing my third book. I have a second book coming out in a few weeks.
A very short time from now.
An eternity away from this moment.


Tracy Madison said...

Great post, Leslie! I'm also still struggling with time management. Some days, I wish for more hours in the day, but then I realize I would just fill those too, and really--who needs more stress?

I can't wait for book 2!!!!

Maureen Lipinski said...

I so cannot wait for Darklight!!

Jillian Cantor said...

Very well said! I'm looking forward to Darklight, too :-)

Lesley Livingston said...

Can I just say how much I adore you guys? (she says, poking her head up from the gopher hole she's been hiding in, finishing off the MS for bk3!...)