Sunday, September 22, 2019

On balance.

The fall equinox -- known to many Pagans as Mabon -- has kind of crept up on me this year. It still feels like summer in DC (today's high was 92 degrees Farenheit; tomorrow's is forecast to be 93, and we may get another 90-plus-degree day next weekend, ugh), and we were in Europe on Labor Day, which has been the calendar marker for summer's end for me since I was a kid.

But the autumn equinox hits here at 3:50am tomorrow, so fall it shall be, regardless of whether I'm able to don a sweater without boiling to death.

Thank the gods we have more than cooler temperatures associated with Mabon. As I mentioned three years ago, Mabon is the second harvest, and as the fall equinox, it's also one of two days of the year when day and night are in balance. Which means it's not a bad time to consider how well our lives are balanced, and whether we should consider making any adjustments.

For me, this year has tipped toward travel to far-off lands. There was the Rhine River cruise I took in the spring, and the Mediterranean cruise with the girls just a few weeks ago. I've packed a lot of sightseeing into these past few months, and I expect to tip back to more normal travel levels from here on out. Which is to say I'm unlikely to do any more European travel for a few years -- although if I get an interesting offer, I might hare off somewhere. You never know.

I'm also looking with increasing anticipation toward retiring from the day job in less than a year, and the move that will accompany it. I'm balancing that with plans to hit some of my favorite places and events here on the East Coast one last time. Of course I made a list, and I've actually managed to knock a few things off of it, but I won't beat myself up if I don't get to them all. I want to be mindful of balancing my day-to-day life against all these "last chance" opportunities, and of not making myself crazy trying to do them all.

My writing life, too, needs to be in better balance. At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would write and publish all four Elemental Keys books this year. My original timetable had me publishing Molten Trail this week, but it's not going to happen -- I just sent the manuscript to my editor a week ago, and the book still needs a cover. So I'm expecting now that I'll publish it next month -- hopefully in early October, but certainly well before Halloween. Then I'll be drafting book 4 during NaNoWriMo in November, and I probably won't publish it 'til after New Year's.

This has been a valuable lesson for me. Some writers can churn out ten or more books per year. I've known for a long time that my best pace is three per year, but I wanted to push myself this year to do four. I know now that was a mistake -- I've spent too much of 2019 feeling guilty for not keeping to this accelerated publishing schedule, even though I knew I'd be doing a lot of traveling.

So! The new, more balanced plan: Molten Trail should be released around October 15th, and the final book will be out around late January 2020. I will let you know if that changes.

And looking farther forward, I may write a stand-alone novel in early 2020. I don't want to commit to another series, as late spring and summer will be sucked up by packing and moving. But I don't want the whole first half of the year to get away from me, either. We'll see how things are going once the final Elemental Keys book is out the door.

Blessed Mabon to you all! Here's hoping your life is in better balance than mine...

These moments of balanced blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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