Edith Maxwell here.
Multitasking – sounds like it might be a useful thing in this society, right? Taking a call on the cell while you’re out getting exercise. Checking the author email account during a break at the day job. Listening to the news on NPR while you’re whipping up a chicken-broccoli stir fry for dinner.
But what happens when your brain is so full you start losing track? I’m in the middle of a new and demanding job where I am required to be in the office nine hours per day, five days per week. I’m in the middle of finishing writing my first Local Foods mystery (due September 1), filling out the many-page promotional questionnaire from the publisher, and sending in ideas for the cover. I’m in the middle of organizing promotion for my first Speaking of Mystery book that is due to be released in mid-September. I’m in the middle of getting the word out about a new anthology in which I have two stories. And I’m always in the middle of trying to fit in daily exercise, daily home-cooked dinners, daily keeping up with facebook and email, and daily (futilely) trying to get enough sleep, not to mention a little actual reading (and I don’t even watch television).
Sheesh! I mean, I love that my fiction career is taking off, and I idly plot out a three-year plan for when I’ll be able to retire from the day job and write fiction full time.
But in the meantime? I’m losing track. Specifically, I just received a disheartening email from a journal that had accepted one of my short stories to be published in June. Turns out I submitted the same story to the Burning Bridges anthology that was published last week. Ouch. I had promised the journal first serial rights. And then had apparently reneged on that. So the journal has rescinded its offer, as they rightly should. I sent them a very apologetic email, but that bridge has been burned, so to speak.
The thing is, in my memory I had submitted a different story to the journal. But let’s face it: I should have written every submission down. I should have opened a spreadsheet or at least created a table with name of story, date and recipient of submission, and so on. But I didn’t.
So that’s one thing I can do to get organized and not make this mistake again. Another thing I have done is shed many of my numerous volunteer responsibilities. I am also scrupulous about writing appointments and events down on my three (paper) calendars. And have taken to heart my younger son’s new wisdom and equanimity. I am resolved to take a deep breath and know
that it will all work out as it should. Stressing about everything helps nothing and no one. Now if I could only fit a half hour of meditation in there somewhere…
What about you? How do you manage your time, your commitments, your passions?