Kage Baker felt that the first weeks or so of every new January were not just for new starts – they were for planning. Contemplation. A quiet mustering of forces, preparatory to taking on the world yet again.
For one thing, she was very, very tired by the time the New Year rolled over the world. Six weeks of Extreme Christmas; year-end deadlines for books; scheduled beginnings on new ones looming on the horizon – it all combined to make her retreat a bit as the new year began. It was a time to go over the old lists, and carry forward the unfinished items into a new list.
The fewer there were to carry forward, of course, the merrier a New Year it was. It was during one these matching up the edges of the old year with the new that she initially discovered she had totally missed the deadline for the novelization of Empress of Mars. The deadline tally on her calendar said “Due Jan. 15th” – but Kage had thought it said June. Hilarity, hysteria and warp speed writing ensued; she got her publisher to grant her 6 weeks leeway, and wrote 2/3 of a novel in that time.
Of course, once that was done, we re-vamped the calendar system. Mostly what we did was get a white board and assorted coloured markers, and I wrote up all her deadlines, con dates, interview dates and so on in multichromatic glory. Kage proved at once that it was just as easy for her to ignore the polychrome as the mere black and white, so I took to checking it every week and notifying her audibly that something had to be done. That worked. Mostly.
I check my own deadlines myself – there aren’t that many of them yet. Kimberly is much better at it than I am, though, and if I just remember to tell her things, she’ll write them down and nag me … and there you have my basic problem: telling her. The purely secretarial part of my brain seems to have evaporated in the heat of creativity, leaving me wandering through the dimness of my own mind. I used to be armed with a nice shock-proof, water-proof flashlight big enough to stun chance-met cave bears – now I have a couple of torches and a box of sparklers, and am dodging rats, bats and giant spiders through a veil of smoke and sparks.
It’s interesting. But it’s not very efficient.
Luckily, I do have Kage’s old habits to fall back on in my extremity. It’s the first week of January – that means I can still hibernate for a few days, and get my bearings once again. Then it’s time to put away the props and costumes; take down the Christmas tree; finish off the holiday sweets and return to healthy eating; and make a bright clean new writing schedule. Time to take stock of obligations and resources, and see how the latter might be hammered into shape so as to satisfy the former …
I need a new Company story – that one is well underway, firmly anchored in icons, tree rats and New Horizons In Advertising. I’m on the program for this year’s BayCon, and I need to something to read and tout and just generally promote, so as to look like a real writer. No problem; that one can be covered by the new novel that came out yestreday. I owe Linn the Patient a look at something, anything, I did on my own – and I’ve managed to complete an ancient manuscript, so all I need to do now is check it for spelling and grammar and complete lapses of sanity or continuity and send it off. But it exists!
I have a bag of chocolate gold coins left, good for doling out as self-assigned rewards. I have a knitting project almost done (for itchy finger moments) and another selected. I have a nice backlog of the unread on my Kindle, for those moments late at night when I just can’t push my own voice any further up the hill and must fall panting to the side and drink of someone else’s.
I even have crossword puzzles.
And at the moment, I have a cold – a fierce, implacable, drippy, stubborn cold. Absolutely no decongestants can be safely mixed with my cardiac meds, so I am pretty efficiently chained to my bed and desk. That makes it so much the easier to plan all this other stuff.
Thag you, Fate. Thag you bery much.