As someone who is more Stalin than St Nikolas in the personality stakes, the challenge of juggling work, family life and now the many and varied bits of a writing life can prove a particular, well … challenge.
My basic nature is to be organised and compartmentalized. Sound a little rigid? Well, just call me ‘plank’. On top of that, like many writers, I really just want to be left alone to scribble and dream. Add those together and you get an approach to writing that involves carving out and religiously guarding “writing time”, then getting really stressed (and resentful!) when this time is encroached on by something else – and there are always plenty of something else-s, right?
The thing is, by publishing UMA & IMP I’ve opened a door. One that leads onto a long corridor of promotion, school visits and, perhaps most importantly of all – more books. That is, books I’m supposed to WRITE. But how? And when?! There just aren’t enough compartments in my life to fit in a whole new book!
So the compartments have to go. And I’ve come up with my New Year’s Dissolution, which is to melt the boundaries and see everything as a whole. I’m no longer a mother and a writer and a translator and a sister and a friend and a … Nope. I just AM. Sometimes I write, other times I cook, or translate, or … Spot the difference? No?! Well, in my mind’s eye, I see myself sitting at a big wooden table spread with a (non-food) smorgasbord of all the different bits of ‘doing’ in my life. And I see myself calmly taking up separate bits then setting them down – as needed – to move on to something else.
It’s like juggling but without the panic. There’s nothing to keep in the air, there are no balls to drop, it’s all just a continuum of Being sprinkled with various types of Doing. So far it’s working and I feel much less fractured and torn than usual. Let’s see if it holds!
On the subject of Doing, there was almost no book-selling or promoting going on over the Christmas period. After the flurry of launch, a smattering of publicity and all those Christmas fairs, this phase has felt like a strange dead zone. And my Amazon number has tanked to the levels of someone who isn’t selling any books because, well, I’ve shifted only two copies in the last few weeks. Oops. Still, it isn’t all bad news because some excellent reader feedback has filtered through, and a first piece of fan e-mail (from an 8-year-old girl, addressed to Uma and Imp) plus an awesome review posted by the girl’s dad on Goodreads.
And it’s January now … time to start sending out more arrows.
“Stuff” so far this year:
– A phone chat and photo-taking with a local magazine was scheduled then cancelled because of a post-code issue of just not being ‘local’ enough. Ah well.
– Sent a press release to a properly local magazine to see if I can get something in there. Let’s see. Never heard back from the other properly local magazine approached in November.
– First library visit is on Saturday. Need to prepare. Thank you Dawn Finch for your awesome (and, for me, timely!) post on what School (and other) Librarians hope to get from an author visit.
– First class visit on Tuesday. Need to prepare!
– Penciled in a school visit for World Book Day. Fingers crossed Senior Management will approve my fee!
– Did a start-of-year books-sold tally: smidgen over 200 copies flogged between the launch on November 6 and December 31! Awesome.
As I get down to the nitty-gritty of sales and marketing over the long term, this blog is reverting to a bi-weekly affair: hopefully there’ll be news a-plenty to share!
Thanks for reading – and Happy 2015!!