I’m giving some thought these days to how to manage my workload: how to carve out time to write. I’m a full-time writer, in theory, and yet … And yet there always seems to be a great deal of “other stuff” to do.

Since I’ve been back from my tour, 11 days ago, in addition to the usual laundry and cleaning, I’ve:

  • Unpacked (noting what got used on my tour, and what did not, for future reference).
  • Prepared the house and cabin for four house guests (making up beds; picking, buying, arranging flowers; moving furniture; getting DVDs for their kids from the library, etc.).
  • Paid and posted a month of bills and bank statements (this isn’t finished yet).
  • Put together thoughts on The Next Book for a writer’s group meeting; went to the meeting.
  • Read/edited a 50-page manuscript and gave feedback.
  • Sent a signed book plate to a fan in Germany.
  • Answered over 140 emails (fans, editors, agents, friends and family), regarding, among a number of things, the new covers for my Canadian edition, tour expenses, setting up promotion, contributing to an anthology, The Next Novel, writing a review …
  • “Refreshed” my To Do lists (this takes a surprising amount of time).
  • Looked into plane schedules for a possible trip to go to my sister’s wedding.
  • Gave some thought to what to get my husband for his birthday.
  • Entertained wonderful house guests from Mexico for two days.
  • Set up the horse field, fixed fences, got my horse back into the meadow, set up his feed.
  • Started an essay for an anthology on ageing.
  • Had an X-ray.
  • Cancelled appointments in Ottawa in order to go to my chiropractor (it’s a one-hour drive to get there): he’s never seen me in such bad shape!
  • Rescheduled Ottawa appointments.
  • Sorted my expense receipts from my 4-week tour, wrote a summary letter, sent them off.
  • Puzzled over an incomprehensible expense fax from my Canadian tour: gave up.
  • Posted to blogs and social-network sites. Updated my website events pages.
  • Looked everywhere, everywhere, for my good reading glasses.
  • Moved out of my new (and fatally flawed) MacBook Pro, back into my old G4. Backed up, erased and packed off the new but flawed one. Received the new replacement and moved into it. (Yay!) Bought extended warranty on-line.
  • Made calls about a reading this coming week; emailed the newspaper a photo and query. Fretted that nobody will come.
  • Reconfigured my 700-page timeline for The Next Novel: this was not easy to figure out.
  • Began reading four wonderful research texts, one in French.
  • Looked into the possibility of hiring a Virtual Author’s Assistant. Began a list of things that a Virtual Assistant might be able to do (it’s not long, unfortunately).

I’ve been feeling that I’m not getting much done, that I’m spinning my wheels, and making this list has been something of an eye-opener. And although it’s hard to carve out time for writing, I’m writing this, am I not?—when I could be writing. But I need this reflective regrouping. I’m pleased to be giving time to research reading, pleased (very!) to have my computer woes sorted out, to have a (magnificent) Timeline all of a piece and functioning.

I’m back from my tour and summer is truly here: I’ve resolved to carve out time for creative nurture, that important recharging—”artist’s dates” as in Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way: get on my horse now and then, reflect and read, read and reflect. And maybe, just maybe, begin to give some concrete (as opposed to misty) thought to The Next Novel. This Sunday morning, I’ll begin by going, at long last, to a Quaker meeting.