My lesson in “$h**t happens.”
So I’m still pretty behind the ball these days, but I wanted to take a moment to stress a point that was stressed to me before I got my first writing contract: prepare as much as you possibly can, because once you have deadlines, sh**t WILL go wrong to keep you from meeting them.
All the seasoned writers who gave me that warning? You folks were right. Boy, were you ever.
Because even though people told me–lots of people–I didn’t quite grasp it. So here’s the deal. KING of DARKNESS comes out in mass-market paperback in February and I am super-mega thrilled, but there’s been a lot of hurry up and wait in the process. All the way back in January of 2011 I signed the contract with Sourcebooks, and it wasn’t until…I want to say late May that I finally had a lovely talk with my editor (Deb Werksman, who I just LOVE) and she told me very nicely that she felt I needed to re-conceptualize a fairly juicy chunk of the novel. Ideally, in about 3 weeks.
But, “Okay, no sweat,” I said. It seemed tight, but doable. I am the at-home parent to 3 kids, but those kids were in preschool part-time, and hubby would help if he could on the weekends. We had a sitter who came a few hours a week. So we’d work it out. Well, then our air conditioning died, so for a week I got nothing done because it was too hot to stay in the house, and the kids couldn’t sleep. Then, the preschool was closed for a school holiday. The babysitter got food poisoning, so there went my childcare help during the weekdays for awhile. Hubby had some work issues that ate up the weekends. Ugh! Oh, yeah, and I was rear-ended by a Lexus SUV while driving my friend’s Honda Civic and then sitting to type was painful due to getting banged up in the fender-bender. I mean–seriously?? If it could go wrong in those three weeks, it did.
But I did make my deadline. Not easily, and not without losing a lot of sleep. Not without swallowing a lot of ibuprofen. But I searched every nook and cranny I could for people who could help me watch the kids, and when my babysitter was back on her feet after my manuscript was in, I paid her to come watch my kids so I could SLEEP. I thanked my lucky stars that Amazon delivered coffee straight to my door. A LOT of coffee.
And I prayed that I could still deliver a good book, despite all the insanity.
So what else could I have done, in retrospect? I would have lined up some backup babysitters, for one thing. Maybe asked the preschool if they had any extra enrollment days once I knew what the deadline was going to be. There might not have been much, but there *were* things in retrospect that I could have done to be more proactive. Ah. Well.
So…planning, folks. It’ll save ya a lot of anguish.
I’ll know for next time. Though God willing it’s not another car accident. Or the central air.