It has been one month since Oliver was sent out into the world, a month I diligently prepared for, lining up school and library events, planning a party and writing lessons and presentations, as well as learning as much about otters as I could.
It has been fun, exciting and just a tad overwhelming. It’s not the same as realizing after I gave birth that not one of the ‘already done that’ mothers I talked to adequately prepared me for the experience. But it might be close. I will say that there’s still a lot I need to learn about publication and promotion and especially, how to keep working on old and new manuscripts while in the midst of active promotion. I will also say, there is definitely truth in the importance of neat, readable schedules and diligent record keeping.
I have never been good at holding numbers in my head. Words are what float in my head and pour out of my fingers. Yet this month I find myself plagued by numbers. They are consuming me, blocking new words from forming. This unexpected experience is similar to the first few months of each school year when I taught – every waking moment my brain was filled with what lesson was which day for which class and which student had this need versus that need and which day that week was upset due to an event and who needed work sent home because of illness or lice or unspecified…and oh, what am I teaching tomorrow?
Numbers are not negative, but I find these numbers in my way. Writing is a good way to purge negative thoughts, so I decided to try an enumeration exercise of sorts as a way to move forward.
21 Number Facts about Oliver’s Otter Phase in its first Month
Number of …
big celebrations: 1*
starfish cookies I made: 150
pounds of bologna bought for the party: 2
bologna sandwiches given to my dog: at least 17
bologna sandwiches my daughter thinks she ate: 8
starfish cookies personally eaten: 12?
starfish cookies still in my freezer: 30
library visits: 3
school visits: 5
museum visits: 2
times read book aloud: 26
number of kelp forests made: 2
otter ‘bellies’ painted: 80
otter body parts cut out: 480
reviews on Amazon: 1
reviews on Arbordale’s website: 3
interviews done: 2
events I forgot about: 1 **
minutes late to a meeting with my illustrator: 30
days late to pay my business license: 9
queries sent out to schedule a book event: 53
replies, which led to events scheduled for Oliver’s Otter Phase: 17
books sold at opening party: 25
books sold at library and school events: 0-6
books sold in the big beyond: unknown
comments from friends: inestimable and invaluable
Number that really matters: how many kids laughed, smiled, learned something or went off to write a story of their own.
Now what? If this purging helped, I shall now have some brain space to write. I’ll let you know!
* I was so touched and grateful for the friends who came.
**This is so embarrassing to admit. Luckily the venue graciously rescheduled.