Cinnabar Bridge

July 12, 2008

Finding the right energy

Another letter for the BAIPA News [July 2008]

Being an author and a publisher can pull at us in different ways – and being small, independent publishers means that there are dozens of tasks we need to complete on a regular basis. Some days I get up gung-ho and step right into the external tasks on my plate – calling people, making connections, negotiating, asking for help. And some days I turn off my phone and write or read. I used to fight this. I used to push myself to make those calls or I’d get angry with myself if I couldn’t sit down and read a manuscript or write.

These days I try to be gentler with myself. I not only recognize that my energy is different at different times, on different days, but that the energy needed to write is very different from the energy needed to negotiate a contract.

I’m looking at this as externally focused activities and internally focused activities. The internally focused activities are quieter for me; they are tasks that are more intimate, more about me and the task and don’t involve others, at least while I am doing them. The external activities often involve others, whether I am talking to a client, a bookstore owner, networking, or attending a conference.

It is hard for me to combine internal and external activities in the same block of time. Some days I can get up and write – and then move into outward facing activities. Others can get up and face outward – and toward the end of the day go inward and write or design. But, I usually like to break these down into larger blocks.

An agent I met at a writing conference said he scheduled Thursdays at home and that was the day he read manuscripts. It was, for him, an “a ha” moment. He recognized that he could not read the manuscripts fairly when he was at his office where the phones were ringing and people could interrupt him. Sometimes we need thoughtful quiet time and sometimes we thrive in high energy environments, multi-tasking, and interruptions.

Watch your own energy patterns and use them to your advantage. We are all different with our needs for solitude and being out among others. Find out what works for you and then let yourself use your own rhythms to your best advantage.


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