I have no problem setting priorities. The problem is, having set them, in determining which of them should come first. At the moment I'm writing this, I have at least four: 1) writing this blog; 2) listening to newly-narrated sections of the audiobook for A World Ago: A Navy Man's Letters Home, 1954-1956 for changes/corrections; 3) working on the next Elliott Smith mystery, Cameron's Eye; 4) catching/keeping up with email and too-many-to-keep-track-of social media sites. All of this would be a challenge to the most disciplined of individuals, and by no stretch of the imagination can I include myself in their number. I set off on one priority—again, the writing of this blog, for example, and note that I have new email. I can/should simply make mental note of the fact and keep going on the blog. But I don't. I go check the email, and when I come back to the blog I've forgotten what I was planning to say next.
I blame it all on time: there is never enough of it and totally disregard the fact that I'd undoubtably manage what time I had far better if I applied myself to just one thing at a time.
But how can I separate one snowflake from a blizzard? The fact is that I am both greedy and impatient: I want everything and I want it now. Unfortunately, I'm lousy at multitasking. I could, ideally, be listening to the audiobook narration as I write. The operative word there, of course, is “ideally,” and in my world, “ideally” seldom exists. I am the type of person who, as the cliché says, finds it difficult to walk and talk at the same time.
Part of the problem is that I have just the tiniest tendency to digress. No matter what I'm doing, or how fixated I am upon doing it, things keep popping into my head that are totally unrelated to the subject at hand, and in an instant I'm off in pursuit of whatever it might be.
And even as I wrote that sentence, I noted that I have several new notices on Pinterest, one of the many sites I frequent. I notice it because this window in which I'm typing does not fully cover the In box underneath/behind it, and I can therefore see any new messages the instant they come in. Okay, so why don't I just expand this window to full screen so I wouldn't know when new messages come in? Because if I did so, I would not know when new messages come in, and they might be really important. (And that digression led to another as I took a minute to add the subject of self-delusion to my “future blogs” list. Sigh.)
A friend and I have been discussing...via email, of course...the subject of addiction to social media, and I suddenly realized that I am, indeed, an addict. While an addiction to Facebook is far, far down the list of addictions, it is in fact one. I justified it, as addicts are wont to do, by pointing out that, not having the financial backing of the Battleship Row of publishing houses, I use social media as a vital tool to attracting new readers to my books and blogs.
Few people are probably aware...or could be expected to care...that writing and publishing books is a long, intricately complex process. Print books are formatted differently than e-books, and audiobooks—an area into which I am just getting—are another process altogether. And with audiobooks, the author has a responsibility not only to himself but to the book's narrator, who often puts a huge amount of time and effort, and whose remuneration is dependent on how many copies are sold. A World Ago: A Navy Man's Letters Home, 1954-1956 is projected to come in at a whopping 18.2 hours of listening, though with each letter averaging only around 3 to 4 minutes, it can be read in as large or as small segments as the reader chooses. Convincing the potential listener of that fact, and getting him or her to actually take a chance with the book, is something else again.
The hard fact of the matter is that a writer at my level on the slopes of the literary mountain has to, like it or not, be a pitchman for his own work, and to depend heavily on the kindness of his readers to spread the word.
Being read is my Number 1 priority, under which all other priorities fall.
Oh, and before I forget...would you like to read (or listen to) a book? I have several I could recommend.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).