Thursday, 1 May 2008

Loose Woman

I feel as if I've been let loose on the writing front at the moment. For the past few years, I've had back to back deadlines, have taken on way too many commissions for my own stress levels - on average 20 children's books of between 4,000-10,000 words each plus a full-length novel each year, working only two days a week (as well as LOTS of bleary-eyed evenings). My work diary has been mapped out like a military operation - must write three chapters of Book A on Wednesday, start second draft of Book B on Thursday, proofread Book C on Friday morning before playgroup pick-up etc.... It has been a bit of a slog, to be honest, and while I've been grateful for being offered writing work in the first place, I have still found myself yearning for for a lighter workload and more hours in the day. Oh, and my evenings free again, please!

I guess it's all part of that freelancer's mentality - say yes to everything for fear of never getting any work again. And for a long time, we struggled financially, what with me popping out 3 kids back-to-back (well...that's how it felt at the time) and my other half only working part-time, so....

Anyway. It all feels unnervingly different now. Since the end of last year, I've turned down quite a lot of work. Eleven children's books, I've just counted. It was all stuff that would be under a pseudonym, not really my stories (and not really my cup of tea either, a lot of it...) So I took a deep breath and said no, no and thrice no (in a rather scared voice). Instead of sweating over those commissions, I've now got space to concentrate on the new novel, and more of my own children's books, with my name on the front cover and everything!

It's great on one hand, having more time and space but I do find it a bit daunting. What - no deadlines for anything until the end of the month? But how can that be???

PS 25 minutes on the treadmill this morning. 4km is now tantalisingly within reach. Whoopeee!

14 comments:

Caroline said...

I think this is the moment that you realise that you have 'made it'. I don't mean that you can sit back and relax (etc etc), rather that you are now in control of your writing future. This must be a goal or a level achieved - I don't know, but either way it is highly significant and you should smile lots.

So, imagine that your writing life is actually a game of pacman ... well this must lift you onto Level 4 at least.

Keep playing :)

lah lah lah.
I know what I mean.

x

Calistro said...

Good on you for saying no! I know I'd get myself in massive knots if I ever went freelance (which is why I decided not to after being made redundant 3 years ago, despite having lots of work offered) and would turn into a huge stress bunny trying to do everything at once. Deadlines can be good but they can also make your hair turn grey ;o) Much better to concentrate on your own stuff and have a bit of breathing space too.

p.s. Well done on the 25 mins :o)

Lucy Diamond said...

Caroline - ooh I like that, "in control of your writing future". Yes! I have always been rubbish at Pacman though...

Hi Calistro, I have definitely been there and got that stress bunny T-shirt... oh, and a few grey hairs with it! It's so nice having some space between the deadlines though - I will enjoy it while it lasts!

B said...

WOW. and people tell me I am busy! I am an amateur compared to you! Well done on looking after yourself :)

And well done on keeping up the running! I am just getting back into the habit but I hurt my leg - swimming, yesterday morning, of all things. How do you hurt your leg swimming?!

Lucy Diamond said...

Oh thanks b - and I hope your leg feels better soon. Always said that swimming was a dangerous pastime! ;)

Clare Sudbery said...

You are incredible. I often think that, but really: You are. Your current workload is one that I would never manage, and your previous one was just plain impossible! I am in awe.

Clare Sudbery said...

AND you have three kids!

[wanders off, shaking her head in amazement]

[returns again, just to say...]

Caroline is right. This shows you are in charge. You are a successful writer. And damn right too.

Lucy Diamond said...

Oh Clare, thanks. I felt quite emotional when I read your comments. Thank you. Now I just need to remind my kids that I'm "in charge" of them too...

B said...

Leg is better thank you. I met some friends for breakfast this morning and cycled to meet them. I am so proud of myself :)

mjmoore said...

That must be SO good, to see more and more books with your name on the front! :0)

My 'reader' has only just told me about all your posts, so I'm all behind. :o(

Lucy Diamond said...

B - hoorah for the miraculous self-healing leg!!

Michelle - so nice to see you! I have been missing your blog updates!

Mary said...

Wow. Your output has been amazing! I’d be daunted by such deadlines.

But then, that’s exactly how I used to operate with my design work. I’d slog myself to death rather than refuse a project.

Try to enjoy the change of pace. You’ve earned it! :)

mjmoore said...

I haven't felt like blogging much recently.. but today I'm baacck! LOL

Lucy Diamond said...

Mary - oooh we don't like that slogging to death malarkey! I am indeed enjoying the change of pace. I am even giving myself a day off next week!

Mjm - glad you're back!