I'm packing my bags for a trip to Michigan where I'll be getting together with a few other authors and meeting with my editor and other publishing personnel. I'm looking forward to the trip, but I confess it is hard for me to lose so much valuable writing time. I've already lost a couple of days in advance of the trip. And by the time I get home, I'll be brain dead for a few days, not to mention catching up on the mail and paying bills.
Deadlines are the blessing and the curse of writers. A deadline means the book I'm writing has a home. It also means I can't take my time on creating the story. I must meet the delivery schedule so that all the various people who will have a hand in bringing my book to the store shelves (editorial, creative design, marketing, publicity) will be able to do their jobs at the proper time.
Readers are often surprised when they learn how long it takes to produce a book. Not that books can't be "fast tracked." Look at how quickly new Sarah Palin books are being brought out since she was announced as McCain's running mate. But in general, it takes about a year from the time a novel's manuscript is delivered to the editor until it arrives in bookstores. During that time, the book will go through three to four rounds of revising/editing/proofing.
All that to say, time is running out for me to meet my next deadline. So while I'll enjoy my time with my friends, I'll also feel the ticking of the clock and rolling over of the calendar.
See you next Monday. Prayers for travel mercies appreciated. And it would be nice if I can get some writing done on the plane, too.