Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Guidelines, not a Schedule

Hmm. What happened? How did I manage to "forget" to blog three days in a row?

My husband has been out of town for a few days, and last Friday I felt like maybe I should make a schedule. Not a schedule, really, more of an assessment. The problem with making a "schedule" in the past has been that after I make it, I turn it into a god. An idol -- it becomes my master. I have to obey it. If I don't, wrath and disaster will descend... etc, etc.

But what if they were just guidelines? And more than that, what if I do miss the deadline? Am I going to drop dead? Will the book tank because of that? Where does God fit in this picture? Well, He doesn't. I've not used a schedule for months now, because I haven't been able to figure out how to do it without getting all anxious and frantic. And also maybe because I hadn't reached a point where it would be remotely accurate.

I might have turned a corner. Or maybe it's been the Lord's guidance that led me to do it. I did ask Him if I should, and the notion remained. It was something I wanted to do. Maybe it really was time.

So on Friday I took the number of chapters I have left, plus 5, and plotted them onto the number of days I have left. If I complete roughly a chapter a day, I should reach the end by Nov 30, which was my deadline. I know that I will not do what my schedule has outlined, but that's okay. I can still use it. It's a goal, a guideline, I'll do my best to follow it and if I get too far off, I will make a revised schedule.

Right after I had decided to make this thing my editor called to say she was coming to town this week and we could go to lunch. I jokingly noted the coincidence that I'd just been thinking about calling her for more time, and here she called me! Right away she said that if I thought I might need another month, she'd speak to the powers that be before she left and... I have December now. That means The Enclave will not release until summer, but really that's not looking like such a terrible disaster. A disaster would be to publish what I have right now...

And anyway, as one of my friends said, "Is continuing to be published something you believe you have to maintain? If you lost all your contracts, do you believe that the Lord wouldn't give you a new one if He wants your books published? Are you afraid that you can blow this deal? Because I don't believe that if getting your books published is from the Lord that it's even possible to blow it."

I think she's right. After all, He's able to "equip me in every good thing to do His will, working in me that which is pelasing in His sight..." And wants to. It's a verse which has been repeated often in class over the last week.

So. I have some guidelines, I have a new deadline, one for the first time I actually think I can achieve, AND things have finally started to move somewhat consistently. Since my husband was gone, I could concentrate more on writing and completed chapters 16, 17 and 18 and today worked on 19 and began to think about 20. Which is a big reason why I forgot to blog.

Oh, yes, and I've, um, been reading news sites maybe more than usual with all that's been going on...

Lunch with my editor was wonderful. The weather was perfect. We ate outside on the patio of Tohono Chul, drank apricot tea and talked. Turns out editors really do get it that writing is not like picking peas or making pots. You can't necessarily force it. And when we can't make the deadline, they can handle it. In fact, I'm not the only writer who's having unusual trouble getting her book to move.

Other tidbits of interest:

Light of Eidon is actually still selling quite nicely.

There's a remote possibility that BHP might repackage the Guardian King books in new covers....

And female faces on the covers of books sell better than male faces do.

Or so I'm told.