Fear of falling behind

If there’s one thing I learned over the course of 2020, it’s that I’m really good at putting too much on my plate, Figuratively, I mean–when it comes to food, I’m pretty good at portion control, unless it’s flautas or my mom’s recipe for homemade chicken noodles. With those, I inevitably give myself a tummy ache. When it comes to work, though, it’s a headache, and it’s basically all the time.

Since I founded my own publishing company and became my own boss, a lot of my deadlines are self-imposed, but they’re still deadlines I set in stone every time I put a book up for preorder. I don’t want to miss that kind of deadline, and I haven’t yet, though I’ve had to push back a couple intended release dates as I struggle to navigate a sluggish publishing field where printers are regularly behind on production schedules and you never know how long it will take for a proof copy to make it into your hands. I went from publishing once a month in early 2020 to publishing every other month, then every 3 months toward the end of the year. But even every 3 months is 4 books a year, which is a hard pace to keep up when you only have an hour or two a day that you can work on… well, anything.

Keeping up is hard, but the fear of falling behind is horrible. It’s a struggle that exists even when I’m the one setting the deadlines, and it’s especially frustrating when I know that if everything were normal, I’d have no difficulty keeping up with my plan to publish 4 books a year. Two of this year’s releases were already written, after all, and I want Spectrum Blade to land in Q3. That’s a faster turnaround than what I’ve previously had on books, though, and even though there’s a pretty hefty gap between now and then, the difficulties and roadblocks I ran into last year linger in the back of my head, making me question whether or not I can do it.

I suppose should it come to it, I can always push Spectrum back and aim for September/October instead of August, but that pushes the second book in the series (which I also hope to write and release this year) back to 2022, and then it starts making all my publishing plans a little wonky. Slow, but steady, I suppose, and maybe dropping to 3 books a year wouldn’t be horrible. Still, it’s hard not to feel like it’s a little bit of a letdown to even have those thoughts springing up when I’m still in the very beginning of 2021’s publishing plans.

Serpent’s Crown will still be released this weekend, and the final book in the Snakesblood Saga is still right on schedule for its release in May, so nothing is changing early on. Then again, I guess one advantage of being in charge of all my own release dates is having the flexibility to change things, right?

Either way, it’s been a month of progress, and I’ll pop in next week to tell you all about how a month of writing Spectrum Blade turned out.

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