I started out on Friday with very noble intentions.
I wanted to answer all my pent up email. I had about 193 waiting. Several of them are from clients waiting to hear feedback on books in revision. They're being more patient than they should and this makes me itchy with shame.
I wanted to get my Monday submissions ready to go. I've got a couple books going out on Monday, and several that are moving toward closing dates, and I wanted to get all my ducks in a row to hit the ground quacking bright and early on Monday--like noon. That's morning, right?
I wanted to finish reading a historical thriller from one of my authors. I've read about 40 pages, I'm dying to finish it and I just can't seem to get that four hour block of time.
So, Friday afternoon at 5pm it was raining like crazy so instead of going to Aleksander Hemon's reading at Borders I went home to work.
Here's what happened instead:
1. Got an email from a prospective client from Muse in the Marketplace that needed immediate attention. Dropped everything to start reading his full. Read the full, made editing suggestions, sent to author, and then read through again to make sure all the changes worked. Total time: 12 hours
2. Got several emails from editors (who are cleaning up their email for the week just like I'd planned to!) asking for a project that has taken on additional heat because of some stuff in the news-sent those. Called the author to alert him to watch for spikes on his blog traffic. Total time: 2 hours
3. Talked with two authors about plans for BEA. Total time: 2 hours
4. Went to an author's surprise party in New Jersey (bonus-train time is reading time!) Total time: 10 hours
5. Got another email from another prospective client saying two agents were interested in his work. Ended up stepping aside on that one, but only after reading the first 50 pages. Total time: 1 hour
Finally I'm getting to the those email and the submissions list plans and it's 5:30pm on Sunday evening.
Time between Friday 5pm and Sunday 5:30pm: 48.5 hours
Total time on unexpected things: 27 hours
I'm not complaining. I chose this job, in this industry. I love it. I don't want to be doing anything else. I am not ever saying my time is more valuable than my authors or the people who query me. It's not. I am saying though that even with the best of intentions, sometimes, stuff just pops up and "I'll get back to you by Friday" rolls right into Monday morning with no reply. In fact, it happens a lot.
But this is the reason that it gripes me when people compare my job to any job with a salary (like a teacher who has to grade papers after hours.) NONE of what I did today earned any money. NONE of it. It may lead to money in the future, but there's no paycheck at the end of the week. You'll pardon me please if I try to minimize the stuff that I know won't earn me any money (rejection letters) and at least try to focus on the things that might turn into money-editing and reading.
I guess that venting over at Bookends struck a nerve considering I've now spent 30 minutes of that oh-so-valuable time ranting about it.
Ok, back to work.