Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I need a vacation

I am writing this on vacation.

I'm in Florida, actually, to help my grandmother pack up her apartment because she spents most of hurricane season with my parents in the north. But it's kind of a vacation, because I can go to the pool and I'm not in New York and I'm not going to two out of my three jobs. But I don't feel very relaxed because I'm not on vacation, or I don't feel like it.

The Road to Pemberley is supposed to come out this week, but so far it hasn't. The first reviews are coming out, which are always stressful, and I'm trying to get the batch of stories together that I'm going to release as a free eBook to boost the sales of The Ballad of Gregoire Darcy, because the publisher needs more time to look at sales and decide if they want to buy book 4. The requirements of social networking have almost nothing to do with writing at this point, and they are constant. For those of you who say, "Well just unplug your computer," my answer is, "Uh, on book launch week that's very irresponsible. The publisher expects me to do a lot of publicity legwork." I do unplug my computer and turn off my phone for 25 hours every week for Shabbos, which is more disconnected than most non-Amish people get, but being a writer is a constant thing.

Then there's the actual business of writing. You know, novels, not blog posts. Or revising. Or looking for people's opinions to help me revise. Or doing research. Or making sure my initial research was correct. Or looking for research books and pricing them out. Today Grandma and I found a new dollar bookstore (there's a lot of these in Florida, where people die and their kids have to donate the books somewhere as fast as possible - it's also a great place to buy furniture for the same reason). I picked up two books for two different projects which may or may not materialize in the future, but couldn't find anything Austen history-related, just mostly a lot of ancient Roman and Greek stuff, and one book on modern Chinese culture. If I was still doing research for Aristotle Vampire (which was a book that didn't sell to publishers), I would have just bought all the books on ancient Greece, but I wasn't, so I only picked up one.

I think about writing - or what I'm going to write, or what I'm going to think about as a story but not actually write - basically all the time. If my mind is not actively involved in doing something that requires my complete attention, that's what I'm thinking about. It's very hard for me to disconnect and take a mental vacation - I really have to go somewhere that's involving unto itself, like Israel (which I'm probably going to in November) or India or somewhere exotic and engaging. If you give me time alone I will basically just think about writing and increasingly, worry about my career. I like to think that if I got one book deal, a really good deal that used to be standard 10 years ago for published writers ($30K), I would stop worrying about constantly selling books to publishers, but to be honest I probably wouldn't. It's too much of a pattern now.

There's a new website coming, and hopefully my new roommate will be hired to help me with streamlining the publicity stuff so I don't have to spend so much time on keeping it all straight, and I have the eBook. So there's a lot of stuff coming down the line. It's good, but it makes it hard to relax.


Florence said...

Hi Marsha!

My name is Florence Price, and I'm scheduled to review The Road to Pemberley on my blog site http://romancemeblog.blogspot.com, as soon as I receive it from your editor. I'm the president of the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America, and the blog "Romance Me" is new, so your book will (I think) be the first book to be reviewed on the site. I also work as a Virtual Assistant (My Girl Friday), and that website is http://mygirlfriday-va.blogspot.com. I'm looking forward to reading your book!

Florence said...

Sorry! I forgot to ask you...would it be possible for me to get some bio information from you, or maybe even an interview that I can include with the review?


Marsha Altman said...

I would be happy to do an interview! But I don't have your email.