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?


  1. Laidee Marjorie on November 4, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Twenty weeks?????? Not days? Wow, this is going to be something special!

    Talking about different styles among authors, it was fascinating listening to the recorded interview from Poisoned Pen of you and Lee Child and your mutual editor, Kate. Your style and Lee’s could not be more different in working with an editor and yet you both end up with great books. I am very glad that I was finally able to make the link work for me.

    Welcome back to the world of gutters and thyroids.


  2. Megan on November 4, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Twenty weeks sounds like loads of fun, but why must it be so far away!?

  3. Roxanne on November 4, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Twenty Weeks of Bees. Let me know how I can help.

  4. Sara on November 5, 2009 at 4:31 am

    Is the illustration of Mary’s story that was a downloadable thing going to be part of the 20 weeks?

  5. Heather Neill on November 5, 2009 at 7:22 am

    count me in for Russellscape II…
    just returned from an intense 6 weeks on the vineyard collecting reference material for the next year…or decade’s worth of paintings. Now I get to return to my studio and nestle into my beloved hermit status, and…like you…stare at a blank canvas..but with brush in hand. But, thanks be to YOU ! I will have the company of Holmes and Russell to distract the brain cells so that the hands can do their thing. It took will power but I managed to save the new adventure for this november re-entry.
    Let the game begin…

    PS -May I make a suggestion that the next Russellscape background be rendered in paint rather than colored pencil ? or even digitally ? This would make transitions smoother for different media.

  6. Mem Morman on November 5, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I must say that I’m disappointed with the title. I find THE GREEN MAN much more evocative, subtle, and enticing. Perhaps I’ll have to make a bookcover with my own picture and title…

  7. VIcki VanValkenburgh on November 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I rather liked The Green Man too, and the GMAN acronym was funny. GOTH Is also kind of fun as well, though. Whatever they call it, I wants to read it–now!

  8. Chris on November 6, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Ditto to Vicki’s comments! And – does that make it only 6 months away, if 27th April is accurate?


  9. VIcki VanValkenburgh on November 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Yep, just a little more than six months–wheee!

  10. VIcki VanValkenburgh on November 7, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Er–make that a little less than 6 months. Doh–I not a mathy person!

  11. Teresa on November 9, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Beautiful! I can’t wait. But I’d read it in plain brown wrappers too.



  12. Meredith on November 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    20! Holy moly! :D//Meredith

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