This is conference season, and I feel a little like I’ve been on a treadmill. Two weeks ago, I was at Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis, always one of my faves, and this past weekend, I attended Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, which was held in Dallas.
Currently, I am still in Texas with my buddy (and outstanding writer) Reavis Wortham. We share a publisher, and the publicity department put together the “Double Barrel Book Tour.” Rev and I will be tearing up Houston, Austin and parts in between. In this part of the world, wild hogs are vermin, to be shot on sight, no license required. So yes, there’ll be a couple of rifles in the mix.
All of this eats up huge buckets full of time. Having just submitted Hellfire, the latest in the Jonathan Grave series, back in September, I owe a manuscript on March 1 for Crimson Phoenix, the first book in my second series. I’m only 30 pages into that one. I feel a low grade panic beginning to build.
Which brings us to the real point of this post: time management.
Joe R. Lansdale was the guest of honor at this year’s Magna, and I got to spend a good bit of time with him over the course of the weekend. If you’re not familiar with Joe’s work, you really need to be. The guy is a creativity machine, churning out massive amounts of work in various genres and formats. When I asked him how he can do that, he answered with four simple words. “Three hours a day.”
That’s his writing schedule. Three concentrated hours.
I’ve decided to steal the idea. My writing sessions tend to be scattershot, jerked around by distractions like email, phone calls and extra cups of coffee. I’ll really concentrate for maybe twenty, thirty minutes at a time, and then see something shiny that whips my attention away. I’m announcing here and now that I’m going to give Joe’s strategy a solid try.
It’s amazing what a compelling force panic can be. I’ll let you know how it goes.
For what it’s worth, when this post appears, I will be on the road, and likely not able to respond.