Surviving Multiple Deadlines

I’m alive. Were you worried? Did you miss me? I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone between posts except for when I went to London last year which, by the way, seems like a lifetime ago.

I would say it felt weird to forgo my morning ritual of blogging but that would be a lie. Truth is, I didn’t have the time or energy. I was stressed out of my gourd about finishing the contracted book on time and everything, aside from human necessities, fell through the cracks without my normally anal second thought. My week went something like this…

Saturday through Tuesday, I wrote 15-16 hours a day. Wednesday, I was supposed to work at the library, but I called out sick. I truly did feel sick, although I think it was due to lack of sleep and nerves, rather than a virus. Regardless, I wrote 15 hours that day too. Thursday, I went to work, but I had no voice so they sent me home two hours early. My editor needed the completed manuscript by Friday, 9-ish, because of a meeting, so I really needed to finish the book that night. I wrote until 1am and I still wasn’t done. I couldn’t think clearly at that point so I went to bed and set the alarm for 6am. When I woke up, my body felt like crap, but at least I could think. I downed a bottle of water and started typing at 6:05am. I typed the last words at 9am, literally (amazing), saved the file and sent the manuscript to my wonderfully supportive editor.

I had no coffee in my system for those last (and early) frantic, bleary-eyed three hours. Can you believe it? Java-addicted me? So I ran down and made a pot then, huge mug in hand, went back up and read the last chapter that I had so quickly typed. I am relieved to say that I was pleased. Overall, I am extremely happy with what I sent off to Keyren. I look forward to her feedback and phase two—revisions—where I’ll be given the chance to make the story I love even better. Enormously relieved, I showered and went to work. I was a zombie but at least I had a voice. *g*

For those of you wondering why I had to write so much in a condensed period, let me say it’s not because I slacked early on. Because I have chosen to write two books a year, phases of creation, production, and promotion overlap. For instance, this past week while I frantically worked to finish writing the second book in the Evie series, I received the galley for Romancing the West (coming July 07). Because of a production deadline I had a three day turnaround to read the full manuscript for any last minute errors. This meant taking six hours away from Evie 2 (yet to be titled). It also meant switching my mindset from contemporary to historical back to contemporary within the same day. Whee. Within the same week I was also presented with another deadline, quick turnaround, although as it turned out I couldn’t meet it because of a technical glitch. Not my fault. *Sigh of relief*

Point is, when you write multiple books a year, it’s sort of like being on a never ending merry-go-round. And I swear, these days, it’s spinning faster. There’s good and bad in that. The good: The excitement is mounting, a notion that I am in for the thrill of a lifetime. The bad: Life is a blur.

Yesterday, I had to work at the library and last night I had writing business to attend but today, I mostly plan on a day away from the computer. I‘m going to actually drive off of this island and treat myself to a small shopping spree. Something I haven’t done in months. Tomorrow, it’s back to business. I have a proposal due soon. And a new book to start. This morning, I considered blogging something like: Book’s done! Yay! Thank you for your support. End of post. I worried if I shared details of my hell week it might sound like whining. But honestly, I’m not complaining. Not at all. It was tough, but I did it and I loved every minute with my characters. I’m grateful for multiple book deadlines. I’m grateful for readers who want more. I decided to tell all for three reasons.

1) For readers who read this blog, I want you to know I put my heart, soul, and energy into all of my stories. Even if it means, sleepless nights I promise to never phone it in.

2) For pre-published authors who read this blog, if you’re considering writing multiple books a year, be aware that it’s not cut and dry. The creative, promotion, and production aspects will overlap. There will be multiple deadlines beyond turning in the finished book.

3) For published authors who read this blog and who write multiple books a year, I feel your pain. *g* Recently, I read blog posts written by authors Larissa Ione, Lara Adrian, and Jaci Burton pertaining to multiple deadlines. They helped to put my own career in perspective. Meaning I’m not alone in my manic lifestyle. They also helped me to retain my sense of humor.

As always, thank you to my CPs and friends who helped and cheered me over the finish line. Woo-hoo!! I did it! I survived! Now I’m going to shop. *g*


Tori Lennox said…
I'd been wondering where you were. I'm glad you were finally able to get your head above water. :)
RAC said…
I'll drink a glass of champagne to toast your completion.

Good going, Beth!


Oh, the bubbles tickled my nose!

Larissa said…
Yay! I'm glad you got the book done, and I'm glad you shared. I have to say...after this year, I'm slowing down on my publication schedule.

Things got kinda crazy, and I'm THRILLED to have the contracts, but I'm looking forward to September, when the last of the books due this year are done and I can slow down just a bit.

You're so right...something people often don't consider when scheduling books is that there is so much overlap! While working on my Warner book due in July, I've got to work on revisions for my second Sydney book, galleys for the first Sydney book, and galleys for my second Red Sage novella. Plus, there is promotion to deal with, website updates, etc.

Anyway, good job on finishing up. Take a break now, read some books from your TBR stack, and recharge those batteries for the next mad dash! :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Hiya Tori! Awww. Ya missed me. :)

Richard, clinking my glass to yours. You're right. The bubbles tickle!

Thanks for the cheers!
Beth Ciotta said…
Larissa, your writing schedule is more chaotic than mine. I don't know how you have any hair left on your head. LOL

Yes, the overlapping deadlines came as a shock to me. I'd never written for two houses at the same time. Each house has a different process and their own production schedule. I never considerered the overlapping deadlines for proposals, books, revisions, line edits, and galleys, not to mention promotion. I have a better handle on it all now. I know what to expect. Makes it easier to plan a little better. I'm also learning to retain my sense of humor through even though most stressful times. That helps a lot. I also consider myself very lucky in that both of my editors and my agent are all very supportive and cool as cucumbers--unlike manic me. LOL

Best of luck on your most current deadline, Larissa. Keep rockin'!
Larissa said…
LOL, Beth! It's helpful to have calm, cool editors and agents. I'm a complete spaz.

Thanks for the luck on my most current deadline...I need it!

Off to read your excerpt!
Jaci Burton said…
Congrats on getting the book done, Beth! And right under the wire, too. Yikes!

There's such a sense of satisfaction in knowing you did it, though, isn't there?

And you're right. Balancing multiple books is hard. And there are quite a few authors out there who do way more than we do. I admire them. There's always more I want to do, but in the past two years I've realized my limitations. Between balancing mulitple publishers and deadlines and copyedits and galleys and promotion along with plotting and writing, you also have to be able to produce a good book. That's essential.

Sounds like you have yours well under control. :-)
Julia Templeton said…
Congratulations, my friend. I knew you'd make deadline. Go shop and enjoy yourself. You deserve it.
Gabriele C. said…
One thing I know for sure is that I won't do multiple books a year. Since I work on several right now, it can be one book/year the first three years, but after that it's a book every other year. So there. *grin*

Congrats on finishing.
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi Jaci! I, too, am learning my limitations and am set on finding balance. I agree, producing the best book possible is the key. May we always meet that goal!

Hey, Julie! Thanks my frined. And I did shop. What fun!

Gabriele, considering the genre you write in I can't imagine producing two book per year. Yikes. Sounds like you have a strong and smart plan. Good luck! (And thanks for the congrats!)
Anna Lucia said…
I downed a bottle of water

Now I'm going to shop


;-) Seriously though, congrats you, and hope you're soon feeling rested and refilling your creative well.
ElsieHogarth said…
WooHoo Beth! Congratulations! You know your "stalkers" will always be here. Just do what you have to do.

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