Time and again …

It’s a neurotic affliction … this need to do things in groups or series. To gather them like bunches of wild flowers for your pleasure.

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Again I talk about time and how best to use or manipulate those billions of seconds ticking away the years of our life.

Perhaps you worry if the time is right to say yes to that special someone, have a baby, retire … or as it happens to so many of us here … write, perfect, and publish a book.

But how? That is what so many writers ask themselves.

Whilst I whittle away the hours editing and preparing that final draft for two readers … I would love to reprint part of a marvelous post I read this week … Self-Publishing Can Be A Means, Not An End, by Deborah Smith.

This partial reprint is taken from It’s Only A Novel, a group blog you should read weekly for its timely information and for their wonderful “gaggle” of talented writers:

“Before my business partners club me in the head for suggesting that authors should self-publish rather than seek traditional publishing contracts, let me elaborate: Traditional publishing remains the best choice for most authors, hands down.Publishing is a complex business that requires skills as varied as contract management, editorial expertise, art design, and accounting—skills that few authors have, want to have, or can afford to farm out to professionals.

Publishers build long-term relationships with a large network of industry vendors: wholesalers, distributors, foreign agents, film agents, artists, literary agents, indie booksellers and major chain booksellers. Every title published by Bell Bridge Books requires careful processing, supervision and ongoing management at more than a dozen major publishing platforms in both ebook and print editions.

In addition, a good publisher will guide authors through the mine field of career choices, work with the author on list development, and help with brand creation. It’s a lonely world out there for an author trying to build a career without professional help.

But . . . there’s only so much traditional publishing goodness to go around.” (Read more)

Like Ms. Smith, I have no vested interest in promoting any particular route to publication. Yet, I do feel that this exciting time in which we are all struggling to survive has offered us many alternatives not available ten years ago … five years ago … as late as two years ago.

Time is what you make it:

A great old adage that ends with a preposition. How delightful is that?

Make time work for you or rather “with” you. Depending upon where you fall on the life scale … several decades might have already marched into the sunset. What we are left with in the end is the sure knowledge that dreams are what we make of them. Oh please pardon the cliche, Margie.

Time waits for no man … or woman:

You think there will be time to write down all the stories stored in your memory … those who live inside your soul.

Along the way, you might fool yourself into thinking you have plenty of time to get the last draft, the tenth or final draft “ready” for query.

I must respectfully disagree. You cannot wait for an agent or publisher to put you to the wheel and teach you to react to deadlines. Self motivation and discipline are not something that comes only from external forces.

Like the conflict and tension you are taught to build into your stories, learning how to set goals and react to deadlines begins internally.

It was the best of times … it was the worst of times:

If Charles Dickens wrote his epic, wonderful novels in this market, dozens of agents and publishers might tell him:

  • Too long.
  • Way too much back story.
  • We don’t think we can find a market for this particular novel.
  • Serial stories don’t sell.

A hundred different reasons, and a hundred agents and publishers who would be dead on wrong. Good books find their own market, make their own rules and do the most magical things to readers … and no matter how long … readers love and buy them. Modern example: JK Rowlings.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans:

John Lennon coined this long before he knew that his time was going to be cut short by someone who had no life and decided to take his.

As I sit here today … late publishing this post … cat sitting for a friend … busily checking every chapter of the book I finished three weeks ago … and taking a free RWA University class (Member alert) … I worry there will never be enough time to get it all done.

How perfectly foolish.

What I believe John Lennon and others mean to teach is simple:

  • Use it up … every second of our life clock.
  • Wear it out … every single day.
  • Slide into home … skid to the finish line ravaged and sated and … scream to our Almighty Maker out there …

Thanks for one hell of a ride!

Now … if you will please excuse me. I have a deadline to keep.

How about you, do you have an internal clock that keeps time with your goals?

Or do you need external motivation to complete the important tasks in your life?

fOIS In The City


Filed under Ramblings

23 responses to “Time and again …

  1. Love this blog because it says the truth.

    I need external motivation but rarely in the form of imposed deadlines. When life is sparking, my creativity is on fire too.


  2. My internal clock has always seen me through. Believe it or not, I’m a lot harder taskmaster on myself than my friends, Florence!

    For me, Traditional publishing was best. I don’t have a book out yet, so I’m not commenting on the process, or marketing, or sales. It was the only way for me to usage my internal goal – to stand in a bookstore, and hold a book in my hand, with my name on it.

    I think that no one will make the wrong decision if they’re honest with what their goals are. Writing is WAY to hard a to do, to not end up satisfied!


    • So true, Laura. I’ve had no own businesses on the side for over thirty years and I always told the kids … the hardest boss to work for is yourself 🙂

      I love that there are so many choices. Mine is to go traditional although I toy with the idea of using a totally new name and going indie with a series of novellas. Purely a business choice. The best part of the publishing world today is that we can in ALL directions … and defy what our mothers warned … You can have your cake and eat it too !!


  3. Sheila Seabrook

    I’ve always relied on external deadlines, so now I’m having to work with my own internal deadline. It’s hard, but I’m getting better at it, more committed. Go, Florence!


  4. Oh, Florence, you are a woman after my own heart. I am going to slide into home base skidding the entire way with my booty on the ground if I can’t walk. I’m self-motivated and am grabbing onto that brass ring with both hands and goin’ for it.
    Love this post.


    • Oh yeah, Patti. Wear the sucker out … and if you have a warning signal … go out owing :):)

      I love the way you have grabbed onto that brass ring. I might have to pick your brains for ideas on promoting !!


  5. So beautiful and what a great reminder. Your last bullet points remind me of the cannonball poem we studied in English lit–John Donne, I think, and something about let’s blast through the gates of life, where the cannonballs get destroyed in the process, but it’s much more interesting and wonderful than sitting still doing nothing with your time. I am not googling, so I might be wrong, but I think it’s “Come live with me and be my love.”


    • It was: To His Coy Mistress, by Andrew Mitchell:

      Let us roll all our strength and all
      Our sweetness up into one ball,
      And tear our pleasures with rough strife
      Thorough the iron gates of life:
      Thus, though we cannot make our sun
      Stand still, yet we will make him run.

      Thanks, Laura … it comes to us but once and through that once we can defy all the odds … have it all, do it all and be happy at the end of the day !!


  6. I never grew up receiving awards from my parents or anything and at the time it sucked, but as an adult I think it’s served me well. I am self-motivated for sure. But I do impose impossible deadlines and goals for myself, too–but that’s why I have a hubby to tell me when to cool it:-)


  7. Timely, timely, timely reminder, Florence. (Margie says, Epizeuxis!)

    My first morning home from my 6 week free-to-be-me road trip and The Golden Heart looms. I will not let it slip past me this year.

    Polish away! I’m forcing my innner editor (Gracie) to go for rehab (perfectionism) so I can get ALL INN ready. Woot!


    • Welcome back, dear Gloria !!! You have been sorely missed out here in space. Gear up your engines and fly with us for a while.

      How on earth can you remember the names of all those “Margie” things. Epezeuxis? I can’t even say it 🙂


  8. I find my internal clock beats me up constantly. I try to ignore it sometimes to keep the stress level down. 🙂


    • So true, Brinda. I am my own worst enemy and best friend at once. No one could dry me as I do myself. Remember, it that internal clock that has made you so productive … not to mention our very own social network guru 🙂


  9. Weird when the universe keeps sending the exactly the right message through different voices . . . thanks for this, Florence.


    • That is a fact, Liz. It is the messages and vibrations in the universe that guide us and bring us to our destinations. The different voices are like the variations of cords in music … each the same … everyone different 🙂


  10. Florence,

    Don’t know what happened to my comment but here goes again. I’m a self starter and goal oriented and always have been. I’ve gotten multi-tasking down to an art. Even more recently with a major birthday looming I hear Andrew Marvell’s phrase “time’s winged chariot hurrying near” at least once a day.


    • Yes, Casey … time does indeed fly on winged chariots 🙂 Multi-tasking is the only way to live !! Forget birthdays … after 50-something we should start to count backwards since it seems thats how some of us begin to think 🙂


  11. pk hrezo

    Hi Florence! Love this! So so true. And the irony in time, is that no one has any, yet if you don’t take time, you’ll never get more of it. I have to remember that some things can wait. Family comes first no matter what.
    And I couldn’t agree more with the self-pub route. It’s not a cheat, it’s a viable option for good writers who haven’t been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with their queries. 🙂


    • PK … glad to see we are both back from our breaks. The one thing about time you can always count of is that there never seems to be enough of it. I think the beauty of the pub market today is that it allows writers to pick and choose rather than wait to be chosen 🙂


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