Friday, April 15, 2011

Priorities

I started a new book last week—another adult romantic suspense. I realized I hadn’t done any “real” writing in three months. I had edited two manuscripts, gotten those books through the publishing process, written blog posts and a couple of articles, taught, completed freelance critiques, done publicity, and traveled twice. But I hadn’t worked on a novel.

I didn’t really have time to start one yet, either. I needed to get the word out about my new novels, if I expected them to sell. I needed to earn some money, which meant finding jobs, proposing articles, and so forth. My to-do list had at least a couple of months worth of tasks on it.

But I am a writer, which means writing has to come first. Professionally, if I’m not writing, I’m not advancing my career. Articles can help pay the bills, but they don’t move me forward as a novelist, and there’s no point in building a publicity platform if I have nothing to sell.

Equally important, working on a novel keeps me sane. When life is stressful, cutting out the thing that keeps you sane doesn’t sound smart.

It hasn’t been easy getting back into the habit of novel writing. I tell myself I’m going to write 2000 words every morning, but so many other things demand to be put first. As of this writing, I have three presentations to give in the next eight days. I have eight freelance critiques to do plus several correspondence school lessons. I have dozens of publicity tasks, and of course all the usual e-mail and mail and chores and errands.

But I also have a new book to write. I’m a couple of chapters in so far, making progress slowly. The more I focus on the writing, the easier it gets to settle down and ignore everything else for a good stretch of time. The other work will be waiting when I’m done.

How do you prioritize your writing? Does it work? Are you satisfied with the place of writing in your life?

If you’d like a little boost, remember to post the first page of your manuscript—any work for children or adults (so long as the excerpt is family friendly), up to 250 words, as a comment on any day’s blog post.

And now, for little more of that publicity, here are the blurbs on my latest books:

The Eyes of Pharaoh, set in Egypt in 1177 BC, brings an ancient world to life. When Reya hints that Egypt is in danger from foreign nomads, Seshta and Horus don’t take him seriously. How could anyone challenge Egypt? Then Reya disappears. To save their friend, Seshta and Horus spy on merchants, soldiers, and royalty, and start to suspect even The Eyes of Pharaoh, the powerful head of the secret police. Will Seshta and Horus escape the traps set for them, rescue Reya, and stop the plot against Egypt in time?

For ages nine and up. $6.99 paperback on Amazon, $2.99 e-book. Read the first chapter.

Rattled, by Kris Bock, brings romantic suspense to the dramatic and deadly southwestern desert. Erin isn’t used to adventures-except those in books. But when she uncovers a clue to one of the greatest lost treasures ever, she and her best friend Camie head for the New Mexico desert to search for a secret cave. They’re not the only ones interested in the treasure, however, and they’ll face more dangers than Erin ever imagined, from wild animals, wilder humans, and the wilderness itself. Fortunately Erin and Camie have help, in the form of one sexy helicopter pilot and a surprising orange cat.

$7.99 paperback, $2.99 e-book. Read the first three chapters. (You’ll notice that this is written under a different name because it is for adults.)

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