How to Kill a Writing Schedule

Eruption with Mushroom CloudI’m a writer. I write books of action and adventure for the ‘Tween audience. I generally set a schedule for the many things I have to do and stick to it. This is how things usually look.

I’m currently working on a series that takes place in ancient Nubia about a young princess who is slated to be the next ruler of the kingdom, but the catch is that she’s a warrior and loves it. According to schedule, I began book #4 in the series. I think through my plot and try to pair it with a marketing strategy, but keep in mind that I’m in the process of promoting book #3.

In the midst of this I’m planning a family vacation. Not to worry, it works out fine because we’re traveling in an RV and not only can I continue working, I can also promote my books as we cross the country. Then everything goes nuts.

We leave a little behind schedule because the windshield on the RV has to be replaced. That’s not a problem because I can write while my husband drives. It’s not a problem until we reach Denver late on a Saturday night, in the middle of a thunderstorm, and the windshield is leaking and every repair shop is closed. So, instead of writing I’m packing towels around the seams of the windshield as my husband is mopping up water and searching every cabinet we have looking for caulking.

We arrive in Iowa just in time for the high school graduation of a friend’s daughter and all of the celebrations usurp any time I had set aside for writing. We leave Iowa and head toward Niagara Falls, a place I’ve dreamed of seeing as long as I can remember. We make it as far as Ohio and the drive shaft drops out of the motorhome. We get towed into the repair shop and I think, No problem, I can make up all of the lost writing time. The following day the repairs are made and we’re on the road again.

We make it to the Falls and I get the bright idea to go into Canada. I’m thinking, it’s just a short side trip and I can make a run to Costco to grab some frozen mango for my smoothies, after all we’re running pretty low. We get to the border and the patrol agent asks our reason for visiting Canada. I say, “We’re on a Costco run for frozen mango!” It must have been the wrong thing because now we’re instructed to go to the inspection station while they search the car.

How long does it take to search one Explorer? Apparently, it takes quite a bit of time, especially since they choose to search each box of books, ask me why I’m carrying so many copies of each book, and ask to see a seller’s license if I plan to sell them in Canada?

We finally get to Costco, get the mango, and head back to the US. Have we learned our lesson? No. Did we think to come up with a better reason to tell the agent for visiting Canada? No. And the search is on…again. By the time we return to the RV I am so rattled that any ideas about Nubia, or a princess, or her plans as a warrior have fled and I can’t find them anywhere. This frame of mind continues for several days and I finally give up. I decide to just enjoy the vacation and I’ll write when I get home.

Just so you know, I made it home and finished book #4 of the PRINCESS KANDAKE series. I have plans for next year’s vacation, but you can bet that I will have the next book finished before I leave home.

11 thoughts on “How to Kill a Writing Schedule

  1. I love reading about other people’s excuses for getting behind with their writing. Mine has been technology – for the last month. Must be over that now,l I think. Ah, Christmas promotions… guess the new book will wait till the new year then. :O

    Good luck, Stephanie! And I must try frozen mango smoothies some time!

  2. Oh Jemima, the smoothies are the greatest and the reason (excuses) are even better. 😉 I guess we’ll have to get back to work…soon.

  3. I’m laughing my arse off at your adventure and feel your pain. Customs can be such a pain if you get the wrong person. We live close to a border town (Windsor, Ontario) and know exactly what to say when crossing. Your mango reply was genius, but unfortunately didn’t make the guard smile. Sorry about that. Best to go with the flow and enjoy your vacation in the future! Cheers for a painfully fun post, Stephanie!

    1. You’re so right! Next time I will say,”I am looking for ways to enjoy the sights of this beautiful country. Can you suggest any?” If that doesn’t work I’ll just say I took the wrong road and ask if I can turn around. 😉

  4. What a refreshing post! I’m glad I’m not alone in my search for writing time. My excuses all still seem to be centered around children, but there’s always something, isn’t there? Congrats on finishing book 4. I can’t wait to read it!

  5. Aw, Stephanie, what an ordeal. I do love your ‘reasons’ for the border crossing, though.
    Congrats on another Kandake book! Do you have the title yet? Can’t wait for my copy.
    You have to visit us in So CA more often. I miss you at critique.
    Thoughts and prayers for your granddaughter too, hope she’s doing well.
    There are tons of excuses for not writing….some much more valid than others. Good luck on writing the next one, Book # 5. Wow. Mango cheers!

  6. Thanks Kathy. The granddaughter is recovering ahead of schedule. She asked the surgeon for a section of the tumor to take to her biology class…and got it! The title of book #4 is ‘A Journey Undertaken.’ The designer isn’t available to work on the cover until January so the release might be a little late. I’m working out the plot in my mind for book #5.

    I should be back in So CA around the holidays. Maybe we can get together.

    1. Absolutely! Look forward to catching up on everything. I want to hear the plots of #4 and #5!
      Here’s hoping you have more writing time.

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