Publishing Stress?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been possessive of my time. I felt like my time actually belonged to me and I had the freedom to avoid anything that interfered with my concept of how my time should be used.

Unrealistic, huh? Undoubtedly.

One reason I quit teaching school was the impossibility of avoiding taking work home and having to use my personal time. Then there was the time I convinced myself I was doing the right thing leaving work at quitting time while everyone else was still working hard at what I apparently considered less important; I got in big trouble over that.

Retirement promised to give me plenty of free time to do only the things I consider important. Like writing full-time. However, I soon discovered that “writing full-time” and “spending all of my time writing” were not the same, and I couldn’t spend every hour of every day writing. I had to be open to other uses of some of my time.

I’ve continued to carefully evaluate any request for the use of my time, however, and I’ve had to convince myself that relaxing and doing nothing is justifiable–even necessary–some of the time. But I feel guilty if I spend too much time being non-productive.

My life seems pretty well balanced now–especially regarding time-related projects; if I don’t think I can finish something well before time, I’ll probably avoid doing it at all.

Last week, however, I started to wonder. I received email from the publisher of seven of my twelve novels: “Hey, I’ve noticed you’ve ventured into self-publishing. Do you want the rights back to the books I have or shall I keep them?”

At that stage, I’d independently published (used to be called “self-published”) ROSA NO-NAME and my three most recent teen novels. I’d thoroughly enjoyed doing the teen book cover designs, hopefully getting better with each one but definitely learning as I went. I even enjoyed working out the formatting of the content files.

Because marketing falls largely on the author’s shoulders and I haven’t been very good at it–yes, I think my time issue is part of the problem–I’ve felt guilty about not helping my two publishers see more of a profit from having me in their folds.

So taking on the re-publishing of seven novels would free me from that guilt and give me a chance to do something I really enjoyed by doing what was necessary to release those seven books myself. In such a timely way they wouldn’t temporarily be out of print.

My wife and I prayed and talked and we talked and we prayed. Sometimes God doesn’t seem to say yes or no, and this was one of those times. So, for the reasons given in the previous paragraph, we decided to proceed.

My publisher and I agreed she wouldn’t unpublish those books until the end of September. That meant I had a little over three weeks to do everything.

One little problem, though. We have an eight-day vacation between now and the end of the month. Yes, I’ll be taking my laptop, but the idea of having to work on this project then was not very appealing.

So I got right to work, spending a number of hours daily on this project.

The book cover designs were a challenge, but they ultimately didn’t take as much time as I’d feared, and I’m pleased with the results.

My publisher gave me her copy of the formatted content files, which was really great. I thought finishing up would be a breeze. Ha!

I soon realized I wanted certain things changed, and doing that in such a way KDP (Kindle Direct Processing) would accept and make look the way I expected turned out to be really tricky.  Not to mention more time consuming–I spent numerous hours getting rid of blank pages–than expected.

Because of vacation, I’ve really pushed to get everything done. I’ve just ordered proof copies of all seven books.  Unless they arrive before vacation, we’ll only have a couple of days to look over them before the end of the month.

I’ve barely started work on the Kindle versions, but that’s far less of a concern.

Was I wrong to be concerned about the possibility of those seven books being unavailable on Amazon at the very beginning of October? Especially considering how few people know about them or would be apt to buy any during a short blackout period.

Maybe I didn’t need to push so hard, but doing everything I could this far ahead of time is a real relief. And now I can focus on something else without stressing about whether I could get those books ready in time. Not to mention a publishing-free vacation.

(If you’re interested, compare the covers on the two graphics below.)

What about you? Are you sometimes involved in projects that you tend to stress about because of the time factor? How about sharing in a comment.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,


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Time, Mine or God’s?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve been quite time-oriented. Sometimes obsessively so.

When I was in my early twenties, I planned every activity of the day in fifteen minute increments. I was so tied to my scheduling that I got pretty upset if, for example, I didn’t leave on a trip at the exact time I’d planned to. Good thing I wasn’t married then. I would’ve driven anyone nuts.

I outgrew that quirk, but never quit thinking of time as something to be possessive of. I resented anyone or anything that intruded on my time needlessly. As much as I liked the kids when I was teaching school, the fact that it ate into too much of what should have been my free time was a major factor in changing careers.

I was fortunate. My next two careers rarely required time beyond the “8:00 to 4:00.” But the most serious work problem I ever had took place when I foolishly insisted too much on sticking to regular work hours. Although I’ve forgiven myself for it, I can’t seem to forget about it.

Now that I’m officially retired, time should be mine to do with as I please. Right?

How I wish. Although I’m free to decline certain activities–my low energy level is a factor, too–I still live by the clock to some extent. I get up at 6:30 on weekdays to fix breakfast for my wife. But that’s voluntary, and she doesn’t mind if I choose to sleep late occasionally. “Late” typically means 7:00 or 7:15.

Even though I retired to write full-time, I don’t. When I have a project going, yes, I can spend eight or nine hours a day at it–whether it’s writing the rough draft or editing and revising it for the twentieth time. But I’m also conscious of the need for variety, especially since I spend most of my day at home alone with the cat and the dog.

None of us knows how much time God will give him. In my time-consciousness, I’m well aware that I could die while writing the next book, no matter what my age. Yet I can look back at times in my life when I could have died and didn’t and can only be thankful that God didn’t consider that my time yet. I believe He kept me alive because He had more things He wanted to do through me.

In truth, my time–like my possessions–really belongs to God. The important thing for me to remember daily is the need to use my time in ways that honor Him. When death comes, I ought to be satisfied, knowing that it’s His choice of time, not mine.

What are your thoughts on time? Please leave a comment.


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive these posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25. I’ll be talking about it this Wednesday, but please check it out at Amazon if you’re interested.

Best regards,