My little book, while not yet grabbing the literary world by the throat, has certainly wrestled my world to the mat. The amount of effort involved in promoting oneself in an effort to get a book noticed is remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, that I find I have precious little time for writing.
How ironic. All my life I have wanted to be a real writer (you know, those guys in the corduroy jackets with the leather patches on the elbows who sit around smoking pipes and looking thoughtful), and now that I have a book out and can call myself an author, I don't have time to write. Or, more exactly, time to write what I started out to write, which is fiction.
Work on my novel has ground to a complete halt, and this annoyed me so much I plotted out all of the writing tasks I had to do along with those I wanted to do with an eye toward organizing my time so I could fit them all in. The inescapable conclusion I came to, however, was this: there are, officially, not enough hours in the day to do both.
I mulled this over for a while, thinking about what would have to go onto the back burner, until the answer became screamingly obvious. I have a book out; my main responsibility, both to my publisher and to myself, is to push it for all it is worth. Leaving your first book to fend for itself, which assures that it will sell like bacon cheeseburgers at a vegan convention, is about as helpful, career-wise, as crash-landing on your first day as a commercial airline pilot. So, right now, promotion is my main job. Oddly, however, that involves a lot of writing, just not the sort of writing I envisioned myself doing. (Think: guys with pipes.)
Currently, I have two blogs, and I just started another with Toni Hargis, which will be a continuation of the debate about life in the UK verses life in the US we started on BBC 5 Live last week. (We were guests on a panel discussion with Richard Madeley. For my US readers, he and his wife Judy are to books in the UK what Oprah is to books in the US. Toni was in a studio in Chicago and I was at BBC Central with Richard. Did I give him a copy of my book? You betcha!). I also guest blog on three different expat sites and am a regular columnist on another. But all of this involves writing humor and none of it involves corduroy jackets, with or without the patches.
So am I to infer from this that, no matter what my original intentions were, I am a humorist? I think I tend to downplay my humor writing because it comes so naturally to me, but does that make it any less valid? I am a writer, and I am--though quite by accident--an author. Should I ignore that?
Maybe it is time to start thinking of humor as my main gig and admit to what I am. At least for now.
While there may come a day when I can devote time to both my serious writing and my humor writing, it won't be while I am also holding down a full time job. There are, as I have already proven, not enough hours in the day.
I’m going to miss wearing that jacket, though.