- written one mainstream thriller (85,000 words)
- written a YA thriller (70,000 words)
- written a romantic thriller (76,000 words—90% of which were written in 19 days!)
- revised, copy edited and page proofed three novels
- Launched one book with NYC publisher
- Prepping one indie book launch for 7/1
- Spoke at the London Book Fair and BEA
Here’s what I know needs to be done by year’s end (and this is only what I know now—I’m sure the list will grow, it always does!):
- Launch a thriller with NYC in August
- Launch my YA debut with NYC in November
- Write my next Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller
- Launch Lucy #4, probably in October
- Revise YA #2 (which BTW, is the best book I’ve ever written!)
- Write the Hart and Drake prequel fans have been begging for (thankfully the research is about done!)
- Write YA #3
- Maybe launch the Hart and Drake prequel for the holidays—but no promises!
- Speak at the American Library Association
- Speak at the Southern Independent Booksellers Association
- Speak at San Diego’s RWA
- Attend Writers Police Academy
Makes me dizzy just to think of it!
But this year is no more or less busy than any other. I think it sometimes feels that way because, since I’ve taken control of my career, I also control all of these deadlines and obligations.
Which is why I was delighted to learn of the power of OFF.
You see, sandwiched between going to speak at the London Book Fair (which was fantastic!) and that crazy-nutso blitz writing spree of finishing the romantic thriller, I took my first vacation in 7 years and went to Paris.
My friends and family say I can’t actually call it a vacation since it was a working trip: researching the Hart and Drake prequel as well as doing page proofs and editing an audio book while I was in Paris, but it was the closest thing I’ve come in years and I came home rejuvenated.
What made it so refreshing?
When my family changed to iPhones last year, I specifically asked for one that would work in Europe because I knew I’d be in London. They sold us the iPhone 4S, promised it would work “anywhere.” Before I left, we spoke to our carrier again and were told that my phone was all set to go and would work just perfectly in Europe.
It didn’t. No cell. No text. No internet. None of the apps that I downloaded to help me translate French or navigate the cities, nothing worked. Except the camera, which is basically what my phone became.
At first all I noticed was the inconvenience of not being able to check in whenever, wherever I wanted.
But then I realized how freeing it was. The power of OFF.
I had no one to answer to, nothing that couldn’t wait until I wanted to attend to it, no interruptions or distractions.
I was free…
After I came home, I tried to re-create this feeling. I start my day with writing rather than uncluttering my email inbox…I try hard to not look at emails until after I have at least one scene written (so email now becomes my carrot as I work: finish a scene, reward myself with connecting to the world via email, repeat) and I barely ever check twitter or facebook.
I’ve always had a hard time posting to facebook (no idea why, everyone else seems to navigate things so easily there) so I began a Tumblr that automatically feeds to facebook and have a widget that lets me quickly post there with one click.
Which means that while I’m enjoying time OFF-line, my friends and fans can still see the little tidbits that spark my imagination and grab my attention.
I get more work done with more peace and quiet, less distractions, more focus, but without totally isolating myself.
All by discovering the power of OFF…
Try it! See if your work improves both in terms of quantity as well as quality.