I haven't heard anything on the book deal yet but I'm still hopeful. After all, it hasn't even been a week. I plan on making a phone call to the publisher around Wednesday or so, just to see how it's going.

That's always the tricky part with this kind of thing. How often should you call someone? How much is too much? How much is too little?

I've read a lot of publishing guidelines that basically say "Don't call us, we'll call you." But really, doesn't that just suck? I mean, as a writer my livelihood depends on whether or not the publisher buys my work. And if I'm going to get a book deal it will mean I have work lined up for the next couple of months at least. So the dilemma is that in the mean time I have to plan ahead, find new clients, pitch new ideas, take on new work. If I end up getting a whole slew of writing assignments and THEN get the book deal then I've screwed myself pretty good time-wise. And if don't line up those assignments and count on the book deal then I'm screwed if it doesn't go through.

What a world.

Well, that's the life I've chosen and frankly I wouldn't want to have a different one. I'm coming to discover that I just wasn't made to sit behind a desk working for some company. I was made to sit behind a desk working for ME. I may be chained to the ol' office chair but at least I do the work I want to do, not what some faceless group of executives decides is most profitable for them.

Of course, the biggest problem I face right now is gathering new clients, assignments, editors, etc. Sucks to have the time, skills and talent to do the work and no paying customers!

The irony is that right now I do more writing than I've ever done before. I figured it up recently... I write (on average) the equivalent of a book a week. Most paperbacks weigh in at around 200 to 300 pages. By the time I finish writing blog entries for four or five blogs, writing comments and responses, writing e-mails, working on articles and short stories and working on the latest novel I have written at LEAST 200 pages during the week.

Just think... if I could focus that I could churn out four books a month! If I could sign on a publisher willing to back me I could be the most prolific writer on the planet.

Of course, it doesn't work that way. The volume of what I write is one thing. Writing a particular genre, working on a specific novel, etc. means having to do more than just hacking away at a keyboard. The reason I write such a great volume is because I'm writing several different things at once. I've tried doing the same thing for a novel but I can't do it. Writing a book means you sometimes have to step away from it. I may spend ten hours working on it one day but the next can only manage an hour before I have to dabble with something else to clear the log-jam in my brain.

I have to say, though, that I think I may have discovered the trick that's going to let me get more book writing done in less time. The TOC. Table of Contents, baby, yeah! I admit that when I wrote out my outline in TOC format the book just kind of went "BOOM" and implanted itself whole in my brain. I could write that thing in a couple of weeks. I wrote an introduction and two chapters before I even looked up from my laptop the other day.

Of course, that's non-fiction. But I could do the same with a novel. In fact, when I wrote "The Last Single Guy" I took the time to meticulously outline it. I spent the first month just creating the outline, filling in the gaps, etc. And it worked. I had a well-organized novel. It might not ever sell, and it might not be representative of my work as a whole, but it's a success all the same. That's two books I've written. Some people spend their whole lives just dreaming of writing ONE.

I can't help but think that I'm on the road to being the writer I always wanted to be. I'm a writer now... that's not new. I've been a writer since I was a child. But I've always wanted to be that novelist, that guy who has his name on the spine of thirty or forty books in Barnes & Noble. I want to be THAT guy.

I'm on my way.


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.
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