Liz Mugavero: I’ve become that reclusive writer. The one the neighbors regard curiously in those rare times when I do step out of the house in some strange outfit, hair gone awry, blinking like I haven’t seen the sun in months. Which, come to think of it, we haven’t here in the northeast until the past few days.
This has truly been a winter to forget. Never mind the godforsaken weather, I’ve also been working on two back-to-back deadlines, celebrating the launch of my latest Pawsitively Organic Mystery, The Icing on the Corpse, working a full time corporate America job, doing freelance work, sitting on two boards and helping plan an event for another related committee. Along with family and taxes and leaky roofs and all the other everyday Things to Address.
I’m not sure I’ve been doing any of them particularly well.
Please note, I recognize how blessed I am to have these problems. They are truly in the category of “good problems to have.” I’m successful at two careers and have found ways to give my time back to two excellent causes.
My weekdays look like this:
Stumble to the coffee/tea bar. Make drink of choice.
Get a bleary-eyed half hour (hour if I’m lucky) in at my personal computer.
Make a green smoothie in the Vitamix.
Get ready for work.
Drive 45 minutes to the office.
Spend eight hours looking at another computer, or sitting in meetings.
Drive 45 minutes home.
Sit in front of my personal computer until I fall asleep on top of it, hopefully not deleting the day’s work.
Weekends are a little different. For example, last weekend I spent 12 hours both days in front of the computer. I had a couple of breaks to throw the dogs a ball outside. (They’ve been enjoying the nicer weather, rolling in the grass, exploring the long-forgotten bare ground.) On Sunday, the neighbors came over to drop something off. I had barely showered when they showed up and had to answer the door with my hair wrapped in a towel at one in the afternoon, barely able to form a coherent sentence. When I did speak, I called someone by one of my character’s names.
At this point, I’m not fit for public consumption. My body feels like it’s slowly atrophying from lack of movement. I went outside at lunch the other day while I was at my day job office. Fresh air and sun made me feel a bit vampirish. I have unrequited dreams of being in the car, sunroof open, enjoying the breeze and going (gasp!) somewhere fun. I long to pick up a set of barbells or do some kickboxing.
Over at Wicked Cozy Authors, we call it book jail—but this has graduated to an alarming level of solitary confinement. The good news is, in exactly two weeks the locks are springing open, whether I’m ready or not. Deadlines must be met. I HAVE TO leave this desk. I never want to look at another computer again. At least for a week, until I have to jump into the next book. I have to reintroduce myself to those around me, and remind the dogs that there is such a thing as a walk on the town green.
So I’m wondering, is this just me? How do others handle multiple deadlines and major commitments, especially us multi-career authors?
Would love tips…in the meantime, spring is here! I’m going to at least open the window next to my prison so I can see the flowers blooming, watch the dogs play and smell some fresh air…
Liz Mugavero is the author of the Agatha-nominated Pawsitively Organic Gourmet Pet Food Mysteries Kneading to Die, A Biscuit, A Casket, and The Icing on the Corpse. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Salem State College and a Master of Arts in writing and publishing from Emerson College. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She lives in Connecticut. Find her at .