To everything, a season
There are as many styles of writing as there are writers—and I don’t mean the words on the page; I mean how they get there.
I have writer friends who work set hours, every day without fail, year around, as if they were clocking in at a warehouse or office. I know others who take a similar approach with number of words rather than time spent. And a lot of writers swear that the only way to work is to start the next book on the heels of the finished one.
Me? My brain compartmentalizes, so it’s no surprise that my life is lived in chunks of intense concentration. When I have a first draft going, staring at the laptop’s screen is pretty much all I do for three months. Mail goes unanswered, dust mice become dust bunnies, appointments go unmade.
And then I finish the first draft, raise my head, and dive into a flurry of activity with broom, pen, telephone. I see friends, work my way through the stack of unanswered letters, call the contractor and the doctor and the guy who keeps the watering system in order.
And then the rewrite presses in on me, and I vanish again, not to be seen until the manuscript is ready to be sent off.
Right now, I’m in the post-copyedit stage, with the only solid piece of work coming at me: the galley proof pages, which will arrive at the end of the month. Which means that everything I’ve put off since, well, last year this time is standing at attention, six inches from my face, demanding that I Do Something About It.
My To Do list has turned to a second page, although I’m happy to say that most of the demands on the first page have lines through them—not that I’ve done them, you understand, but it means that the clogged gutters have moved from a note with a phone number to a note on the calendar, along with the gardener, the dentist, the thyroid doctor, the veterinarian, and a dozen other Real Life entities.
Central in this flurry of activity is a consideration of what we—I and my trusty e-world compatriots—want to do for next spring’s publication of The God of the Hive. Last year, we did “Fifteen Weeks of Bees” to link the anniversary of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice with The Language of Bees. In 2010, we’ve decided that since The God of the Hive is my twentieth book (good heavens!) we’ll do—ready for it?—“Twenty Weeks of Buzz.”
The planning and preparation of blogs and contests and all the fun stuff will no doubt take up every spare moment until I pick up my laptop again to write the new book, with luck in January. At which time I will disappear into the ether, and only be heard from in echoes of months past.
And now if you’ll pardon me, it’s eight o’clock and I have another line of my To Do list to cross off: a telephone call to the artist who did Russellscape #1 for The Language of Bees, for a conversation about doing a similar piece for The God of the Hive. Green Man images, anyone?