Tuesday, January 31, 2012

By my calculations....

One thing about juggling multiple projects is the occasional panic attack when you realize how very much you have to do and when and how to do it so you don't get behind.

So far I'm really really enjoying this year. I'm writing a lot and I'm having fun doing it. I also set some pretty ambitious goals as far as projects go for this year, and I came to the conclusion a few days ago that while it's great to have completed stories in to editors, those completed stories also mean a lot more work that take away from the writing of the next stories. Things like revisions (which are, for the most part, inevitable, and not having them is a big anomaly rather than the norm). After revisions come proofs. There are art fact sheets. Every time one of those things hit, it means time away from a day's word count (or two, or ten).

My Harlequin editor is looking at 2 projects from me this week; one is a continuity book and the other is a short 15k story (the one with the quick turnaround time). While I'm working on the last of the First Responders series for my Samhain editor (and having great fun and making good progress), I know this means that I am probably going to have 2 sets of revisions hit my inbox in the near future.

I will have to do my AFS for my October Samhain release fairly soon, too.

And I have 2 more projects that need to be finished by the end of June. And I'm teaching 2 courses in March.

So let's look at that: 13k or so left on my First Responders book, 2 sets of revisions, 2 sets of page proofs, one art fact sheet, and somewhere around 130,000 new words before June 30.

Holy. Old. Doodle.

But wait. While nothing is written in stone, I know how I usually work so I know revising the short will be a few days' work, and the book will be a few weeks. 13k on the novella and editing can be done easily in 2 weeks. This means that all those things are off my desk before the end of February.

The proofs will take 2 days tops, and the AFS shouldn't take more than a morning.

That just leaves the two courses in March, and then writing new words right up until the end of June. Four months. It's not a lot of time, but it's doable.

And suddenly, by breaking it down into a plan on how much time I'll spend on each task (based on how long it's taken me in the past), it doesn't seem so overwhelming anymore. Yeah, I still stress now and again. But not as often as I used to. I just stick my bum in the chair and get on with it.

And I like it. :-)


  1. Donna,
    Good for you and thanks for sharing this. As an aspiring writer, I've kind of figured out how long a rough draft takes me (8 to 10 weeks for 50,000 words when the little guy is underfoot, shorter when he's not) and I set deadlines for that. The problem is I'm still trying to figure out how long editing and revisions take me. It doesn't help that my rough drafts are really, really rough so I usually have a lot of work ahead of me ;-)

  2. Jill, it was a long road getting to this point. I sold in 2006 and I just kind of got into this "settled" feeling with my process in the last six months.

    So don't worry if you don't have it nailed straight away. Some books ARE harder than others. I can name several small changes I made lately that have contributed to where I am now, but not any one thing. And some of it is just experience and trusting myself. After 20 books +, it's about time I knew some of this stuff, you know? :-) What I do know is that I'm far less stressed about writing and deadlines in general, which is a good thing.