When people ask where I am with my writing and I tell them I just handed my A Vineyard for Two manuscript to my editor, they often exclaim “you write so fast!”.
I think traditionally published authors can often afford to write at a leisurely pace, but many self-published authors I know publish four novels a year, if not more.
I know...demented, right? Yes, I’m green with jealousy over here. I thought that post-transplant I would be able to put out two or maybe three books a year but, nope, I seem to still be a book-a-year writer.
Even for my modest creative output, people often ask how I “do it” i.e. publish about a book a year.
Truth? I let a LOT of things slide.
I would love to be the type of person who loftily decides they will forgo their evening Netflix in order to buckle down and create, but I am not so disciplined. I love crashing in front of the TV, and I love watching movies and series (hello? Derry Girls, Sex Education, and Lovesick?). I reason that it’s an excellent study in plot and storytelling, but truthfully I am a slacker at heart.
Instead, I have jettisoned the things I dislike or am not particularly interested in doing. I’m not the most domestic person to begin with, but when I’m trying to finish a book my lack of tidying, folding laundry, etc. becomes truly alarming. If we didn’t pay for a cleaner I’d be concerned for our health & safety.
I don’t volunteer at my kids’ schools. I don’t answer the phone when I’m working and often I don’t answer the door either. I don’t iron (I don’t even own an iron). I drop all my clothes on my “floordrobe” before climbing into bed. I don’t garden. I don’t do two hour long yoga classes. My “fuck-it radius” is extremely wide. This is how I make time to create.
I’m a big believer that none of us can do it all, so we have to figure out our priorities. Writing and FINISHING books is one of mine, so that means a lot of other stuff has to NOT get done to make room for creation.
One of my readers’ favorite lines in My Grape Escape comes from the hilarious French car dealer and foodie, Jackie. In the book, he says to me after we “waste” an entire day at the Louhans market and bistros instead of finding a much-needed car to buy, “Never confuse what is urgent and what is truly important.”
I have decided that even though the ringing phone and the dog hair on the floor may be urgent, creating is what’s truly important.