Every year of the past decade, I started a new book on the first official work day of the New Year. The schedule evolved by accident. IIRC, Jan. 1 had been my official due date for my first four books. But there was a scheduling issue in 1999 and I was asked if I could submit my fourth book by Oct. 1. At the time, I was working fulltime AND teaching, so we compromised on Nov. 1. My submission date flitted back and forth between Sept. 1 and Oct. 1 over the next few years. This year, I asked if I could turn my book in later. I turned in my book on Nov. 30, had my editor’s notes back within two weeks. I was shooting for Jan. 4th, but agreed to finish by Dec. 22, so it could get into copy-editing sooner.
So tomorrow, when I would normally be starting a new book, when almost everyone in my life soldiers forward into the new year, I’ll be doing. . . I don’t know. Going to a Body Combat class, most likely. Perhaps reading one of the manuscripts for my annual teaching gig at Writers in Paradise. Definitely gazing on one of my idols as he films a cameo in a television show. But I will not be marching down to the local coffee house, laptop in my knapsack, and getting down to work.
And I am bummed. Truly. That ritual was important to me and it feels dangerous to vary it. Then again, I asked for an extension for the first time in my writing career and I am pleased with the result, so perhaps it’s good to vary rituals. Yes, I’ll keep telling myself that.
What’s everyone else doing tomorrow?