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March 1, 2019 will mark the first anniversary of the release of my debut novel, Kelegeen. Much of this year has been spent on a very steep learning curve, one that included educating myself on the publishing industry and, even more so, on marketing. It was obvious I didn’t know what I was doing, so I hired a marketing firm to guide me. They’ve been extremely helpful, but I still had to do the work of putting my book and myself out there. It’s been a great experience, one that is ongoing, as I’ve only skimmed the surface. The problem is it hasn’t left me with much time to write. My 9:00 – 5:00 day job, teaching online courses for the University of Dayton, and caring for my 92 year old mom who lives with me along with various other responsibilities and obligations on top of my new marketing tasks has eaten up what little free time I had before this adventure ever began.
When it comes to my writing, the most common question I’m asked these days is, “when will the sequel be out?” My answer is usually a non-committal “working on it.” It seems I’ve been in the historical research phase forever. That’s not just because there’s a large amount of research to be done, but because I’m not finding the time to do it. I knew something had to give. An overwhelming desire to get away from every distraction and ensconce myself somewhere that would allow me to laser focus on the sequel drove me to find a solution.
Enter my cousin, Patty. Patty is retired, her children grown, and her mate fully capable of taking care of their dogs on his own for a week. Patty is also very fond of my mom and lately has been repeatedly expressing a desire to visit her. So, in one of my hair-pulling moments of frustration at not having time to research or write, Patty’s genial, smiling face flashed into my mind.
I texted Patty, laying out my plan before her. If she could come down for a week (she lives in Vermont) and stay with my mom, I could use some of my vacation time from work and go away to write. She loved the idea. Mom loved the idea. I’m head-over-heels in love with the idea. It didn’t take long to find a time that worked for all of us, so I quickly booked a weeklong stay at a studio suite in a local hotel.
Before this month is over, I will have spent a week doing nothing but research and writing. That entire week will be all sequel, sequel, sequel. No distractions, no other responsibilities. No, I won’t be able to write an entire novel in a week, but I do expect to make serious inroads on both the research and the writing. Once I get that fully underway, I hope to be able to run with it from there on out.
Though I’m all too well versed in Murphy’s Law and the best laid plans of mice and writers, I am hopeful. As long as all goes according to plan, or at least close to it, my post next month should be all about what an awesome, productive week I had.