Woman-with-Suitcase-smallSo, the contract is signed, and the book is begun. Holy smokes.

The entire manuscript, complete with hundreds of graphics, dozens of contributions and about 200 pages, is due to the publisher May 1. That’s 54 days from today. Before I begin writing, I have to collect and organize an insane amount of data. I’ve been very busy with inquiries to free and low-cost tool vendors to get them to fill out forms about their products, plus I’ve been querying professionals about their favorite tools. And did I mention I’ve yet to begin writing? And, for whatever reason, my phone has been ringing twice as much lately with new projects from existing and new clients.

The workload is overwhelming. I’m officially daunted.

Every single minute that I am not working means guilt (including now when I’m taking time to update the blog), but I’m being as proactive as I can possibly be. I put D.J. on notice that most of my workdays for the next few weeks are going to be long ones, and I’ll probably be working every weekend. I’ve canceled haircuts, put off health care appointments, turned down visits and trips with friends.  I’ve warned friends and family that I’m strung tighter than the strap on my g-string after holiday feasting. I’ve increased the cupcake budget, and I’ve hired a temporary employee to cut, paste, follow up on inquiries and organize while I continue writing my regular stuff. She starts tomorrow.

And I’ve taken an extra step, a crazy step, an indulgent step. I just made a reservation for my first-ever writer’s retreat — a week in a nice condo in Palm Springs, CA. My retreat costs almost as much as I will receive as an advance for this book, and I’ll lose my regular revenue because I’ll leave my day job behind. My inner accountant is screaming — this decision does not make financial sense in the slightest. It’s logical to visit either my friend who owns a farm in Iowa or a buddy who lives in a house in the woods of Oklahoma. Both of those locales are more than an hour from a Wal-Mart. But I need to keep weird hours, withdraw from society and be a bitch when necessary. I can’t afford to be friendly or social, and my friends are too wonderful to ignore like that.

D.J. is 1000 percent behind my decision. “This is one of the most important projects in your career,” he said, “and you have to make an investment in yourself to make this succeed.” He’s right. Yet. Still. Umm. That’s a lot of money, and what if I get there and see the blank document as a blank wall? I’ll have wasted all this money, put my clients on hold and will be utterly disappointed in myself.

When my friend Troy was writing his book, he locked himself in the family motor home for several days to work. And he succeeded. Frankly, I think I will, too.

I take that back. I KNOW I will succeed. I have to succeed, and I’ve laid the groundwork to do so. I just need to put in the hours, and I’m ready to crank.

54 days.