Monday, May 21, 2007

Up In The Air

I was recently asked by my agent to give an estimate of when I might be able to get her a revised final copy of the complete manuscript she's currently shopping around for me. I really wish I could tell her.

Not because I don't have a clue how long it takes me to type in (I'm one of those freakish throwbacks who writes first drafts in longhand) and revise half a manuscript, but because my "life" is currently up in the air. The fella is waiting to hear on a job offer that will potentially have us moving halfway--no, about 3/4 of the way across Texas. We currently live in the Panhandle (that's the square, not-very-panhandle-looking part that sticks up at the top, for those of you who aren't familiar with the nomenclature), one of the more westerly parts of the state. The new job, if it happens, will take us to the Texas Gulf Coast. (Yeah, I know, they have hurricanes. We have tornados. Not a lot of difference, IMO.) But until I know whether I will be packing up my household goods and moving them over the summer, I don't really know how long it will take me to get this ms. revised and sent off to the agent, because I don't know how much time I'll have.

Summer is already filled with three conferences (an all-genre one in June, RWA's conference in July, and a science fiction/fantasy con in August), plus the mandatory visits from the grandboys, so I'm already working around those as is. If we add a move (and the insanity-making elements of selling and buying a house) to that--well... But I do keep thinking how much fun it will be to introduce my landlocked grandsons to the beach. I don't want them, like my nephews once did--mistaking a golf course sand-and-water hazard for the beach...

(My middle sister lives in Idaho, and when our kids were little and her family came to visit the Texas branch of the family, we got a golf course condo in Rockport, on the Aransas Pass (No "k" in Aransas, and it's pronounced ah-RAN-sahs), because we thought it would be safer with a horde of pre-schoolers. There was a pond behind the condo, surrounded with sand, and when we all arrived, the nephews spotted that pond, and went running out to it screaming "The beach! The beach!" They were duly impressed when they saw the "real" beach.)

I do know in general how long it takes me to write a book of a given length. And I know how long it takes me to get it revised and ready to ship out. Of course, given the fact that my books tend to grow when I'm writing them, it can sometimes take a little longer than I expect to reach the end. The writing business is insane as it is. When you add life to it... the insanity compounds.

Has life tripped you up lately? We'll listen, if you want to share.


Laura Drewry said...

Moving. Ugh. They say, on a stress level, it ranks right up there with divorce, and after our last one, I believe it! My last book was due out Sept 1, and we were moving from the Northwest Territories to BC on Aug 25th. Needless to say, between packing, organizing trucks, lawyers, realtors, and trying to convince the kids that they really would love living here, and they could still email/phone their friends back there, not much book promo got done. Added to that, on the move, we nearly lost our boat in the potholes, the hotel across the street caught fire, one of our dogs died, and the other pitched herself over a cliff and then had to be rescued because her old arthritic legs just couldn't get her back up the cliff.

I don't envy you the move, but if it happens, I'm sure it'll be great! LOL Good luck with the rewrite, and hope you enjoy your time with the grandkids!


JoAnn Ross said...

Good luck on the move!! I literally wrote my second book for Pocket in the front seat of a Chevy Tahoe - with a dog and kitty in the back seat -- as we spent six months pulling a trailer, back and forth on seven trips between AZ and the southeast, looking for a new state/town/house. (Where, in the panhandles of both TX and OK, I discovered I HATE tornadoes!)

My editor kept fedexing letters and edited ms and galleys to different realtors we were meeting with in five different states and since cell phones were unreliable analog nine years ago, I was mostly calling her from highway rest stops with the roar of 18 wheelers in the background.

I've been steadily contracted since Nov, 1982, so I never have an option on when a book's finished, but I do identify with the life issues. I'm doing the grandkid thing this coming weekend; we're leaving for D.C. on Friday), with a proposal due June first, and, I just learned, my editor would like revisions back May 30th. Somehow they'll get done, since being late isn't an option, though since we're taking a teeny plane, I won't be able to carry on my laptop, which means I won't be writing Friday-Monday, which will fell odd since I usually work seven days a week.

But it still beats having a "real job." :)

JoAnn Ross said...

Laura -- Forgot to mention, I'm so sorry about your poor doggie. We had to put Kitty Scarlett, our ancient, insane Alzheimer's siamese kitty to sleep in College Park, Maryland during our great house hunting safari. Nine years later, I cannot pass that metro stop while visiting grandbabies in D.C. without feeling like crying.

Nancy Morse said...

When we moved from NY to S. FL 15 years ago, I vowed I would never move again. Now, as we approach retirement, my husband keeps talking about selling the house in FL and the apartment in NY and moving into an adult community somewhat north of here. The thought of packing up not one, but two, households full of stuff sends my stress levels into the stratosphere. Where the heck did it all come from? Opening up those closets & cupboards was like opening the gates of hell.

As for your question, when doesn't life trip you up? Isn't that what life is supposed to do, throw bumps and curves and hairpin turns at you every step of the way? It's when things sail along a little too smoothly that I get uneasy.

JoAnn Ross said...

Nancy, we lived in a private neighborhood in Phoenix where the majority of homeowners outvoted us, making us an adult only community our last few years there. (We weren't even old enough to live there, but were grandfathered in.) Not only did it really hurt us when we sold our house, because it narrowed the buying pool, what we REALLY missed -- which was a surprise -- was having kids around the neighborhood.

They may sometimes be a pain with their shouting in the swimming pools and riding bikes across the grass, and bouncing basketballs outside my office window, but children definitely seem to keep things more lively and upbeat.

Just a thought.