I get asked to do a lot of things for free or Just Because: to help new writers, to write blurbs for new books, to write a letter of recommendation, to send something to auction for a good cause, to comment on an idea, to sharpen a job-seeking friend’s resume, to visit a library or college. The list is endless (this is not hyperbole). And I’m not particularly special in this regard: it happens to lots of writers. But partly because of the way I was brought up, partly because of the genre in which I first got my start, and partly because fulfilling many of these requests gives me much genuine pleasure, I often say Yes.
Now, just for a little while, the answer is switching to No*.
So, probably until the end of the year, I will not contribute to your fun web article. I will not write an essay for your periodical. I will not review your book. I will not be interviewed. I will not take part in a podcast roundtable. I will not join your board. I will not brainstorm or join your working group. I will not read for or judge your award. I will not run your non-profit social media campaign. I will not give you pointers on your online presence. I will not RT your good cause or recruit for your fundraiser. I will not agree to meet you for the first time no matter what country you have travelled from for the purpose.
As I’ve said, I actively enjoy many of these things (particularly meeting readers, visiting colleges, being able to recommend students for things, and reading really splendid ARCs of new books whether for blurb or review).
But, just for a little while, I am going to focus wholly on me, Kelley, and our stuff (severally and collectively). The Hild rewrite is imminent. After that I’ll be turning my attention to Hild II–and to three other projects (not all of them writing related). Also, I need to pay some serious attention to health maintenance, not to mention family and friends.
I’m not going to vanish. I’ll still be here blogging and tweeting. Indeed, it’s entirely possible I’ll get back to blogging more regularly. I just need to stop spreading myself so thin. Just for a little while.
* Unless it’s the kind of thing that involves an enforceable contract and monetary reward. Because, hey, I’m only human.