by: Seleste deLaney
The time from early October until the end of the year is inevitably crazy for me. It starts with Halloween decorating and costume-making. Then there is the birthday party for my son and the visit from the in-laws. Christmas shopping, decorating, card-sending, baking, chocolate-making, crafting, wrapping... Oh, and NaNo.
This was the "before I got published" crazy. (I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2007.) Over the last few years though, the insanity has ramped up. Now I'm throwing in extra blogging, revisions, edits, deadlines, and the sometimes ridiculous favors people ask of authors.
It's a good thing I like the crazy, right?
The only problem is (whether the outside world sees it or not), I've been going at full-speed for a long time now, since way before the month of editing madness that was August. It's a pace that is, quite frankly, unsustainable. And here I am with looming deadlines and promises of manuscript delivery.
I've driven myself right over the edge of crazy and am plunging into the abyss where I will free fall until I crash at the bottom and shatter into a million pieces.
Pretty image, right?
Even from where I'm sitting, it's hard to have much sympathy though because I did this to myself. I've known since about July that I needed a break, but there was always a project that needed working on. Or a shiny opportunity I couldn't afford to pass up. Or a...
You get the point. The road that led right over that cliff was paved with shinies.
So, here I am, stuck in free-fall and trying to make a parachute out of the picnic blanket I had stashed in the backseat. I'm hoping it slows me down enough that the pieces are all big enough to be found after I crash.
Why am I telling all of you this? Because it could happen to you too.
One of the things about being an author, especially in the digital realm, is steady output is important. One book a year generally won't cut it. That means those shinies are a big deal. When you get your first contract, the thought that comes on the heels of "WOOHOO! I GOT A CONTRACT!" tend to be of the "Oh shit, what do I do now?" variety.
It won't take long before you too are on the road of shinies that will take you right to that cliff. So, I brought you here to offer a bit of advice. You ready?
Take the road. Yep, you read that right. Take it. Look at the shinies. Pick up the ones you can. And keep driving. But that speed limit sign? The one with the number that seems way too low? Ignore it at your own peril. It's going to be really tempting to go faster and pick up as many shiny bits as you can. Problem is when you do that, sometimes they slip out of your fingers as you're scooping them up from the road. So, keep close to the posted speed limit. Get your ass out of the car when you see a shiny worth having. Take your time to examine it closely. Then get back in the car and do it again.
Why? Because if you're going at that speed, not only will you see the cliff coming... you'll be able to stop or turn in time.
And you might end up collecting more shiny opportunities on the way than you would have by speeding past.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have this pretty rock that needs some buffing and a spit-shine.
... Because the ground is getting awfully close.