Monday, June 18, 2012

The Fine Art of Juggling

First off, I can't. I'm a complete and certified klutz. No, really.

I took this series of tests once to determine what possible careers I'd be good at and my single lowest score, by a 30% margin, was manual dexterity. My penmanship was actually outlawed in tenth grade and for high school graduation I received two gifts: new skis for me and an electric typewriter (dating myself there) for my professors. When I use a ruler to draw a straight line, I get a thumb-bump (you know, where the pen bumps against your thumb and screws up the line) and then the ruler slips and I get a dragging curve that swoops down the page.

My kid tried to teach me juggling with soft little bean bags... I broke things. The fact that I can type at all or ride my bike without falling off is a modern miracle. But lately I've been having some great juggling practice.

In the last 7 days I've (in order) received feedback from my first readers on Book IV of "The Night Stalkers" series, received editorial feedback on Book III, started gearing up the marketing on I Own the Dawn (book II coming out August 1st), and received the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). Check out the cool cover! (Thank you Sourcebooks!)

Add to that a recent promotion to take over and fix a department at my day job that was in real trouble (and all the overtime that implies) and I start to discover, maybe I'm not so bad at juggling.

This is where the "writer-mode" effect kicks in and saves your sanity. Had a friend who ended up in ER rather abruptly one day (I guess that's the only way you end up there). And she and her husband, rather than focusing on the fear, began to watch and analyze the setting around them using one basic question: How can I use this in a book?

I think about the stretching that has occurred inside my brainpan trying to juggle three books in my head and a new (read as stressful) job. And I only just figured out how I'm keeping my sanity. I'm going to take my problems and give them to my next character. They think they've got the situation under control? Here comes something new. Think they'll escape this time? Guess again. Think being heroic is enough?

Heroic is never enough. You have to dig somewhere deeper. Somewhere down where passion lies. Because when you pursue that about which you are passionate, that's where the real fun lies.

That's when the juggling becomes easy.
ML Buchman

7 comments:

  1. I always think of it as those plates that spin on top of sticks...you run around madly trying to keep each plate rotating so it doesn't fall...that's what my life is like sometimes (-:

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  2. It's that disease known as opticalwriteromitis that makes authors look at every situation and figure out a way to use it in a book. There's no cure for it and caffiene only makes it worse! Congratulations on your promotion and I LOVE your new book cover.

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  3. I learned to juggle using some floaty little scarves. Unfortunately, I could never juggle anything else.
    Good luck with the book juggling. It'll make you crazy eventually. But then, anyone who sits in an ER with a broken leg or appendicitis and plots a book around it is a little nutso to start with. *holds up a hand* I'm right there with you.

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  4. Oh, yes! I know juggling well. I am never doing only one thing at a time anymore.

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  5. I thought I was a one-deadline kinda gal, a person who loved to wallow in the single objective, and then I landed a job coordinating document production with multiple deadlines for multiple documents.
    You find out what keeps your balance, and that your Jedi light sword really does work.
    Congratulations on books, II, III, and IV, and may there be many more. It does get easier, it really does.

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  6. Welcome to the real world, M.L. I think you are going to like it.
    Good luck!
    Amelia

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  7. LOL! Grace, my recent promotion was to head up the document production group at one of the nation's largest legal mailing service bureaus! We average 15-20 new documents a day in addition to the several hundred that we rerun on demand, mostly daily, some twice daily with total volumes in the low millions every week. It really is a small world.

    Every time I think I've learned how to juggle, I get stretched some more. Having three complete novels in my brain in the same week was definitely a new calibration point of insanity for me however! :)

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