The Post that Almost Wasn’t

Sarah M. Chenby Sarah M. Chen

I was this close to not posting anything today. Hence, the title of this post. I figured OK, it’s 9/11. I should write something thoughtful, profound, and emotionally moving. But the thought of it was just too daunting. I’m stressed as it is and now I’ve just added to it by putting pressure on myself. Something I’ve been doing a lot of lately.

So I thought okay, I just can’t do it. Then brainstorm—that’s it! My post is about how I have no time to write a post.

We’re all busy with our lives and trying to get stuff done with not enough time in the day. But when writer conferences loom on the horizon, suddenly the stuff we need to get done doubles.

I shouldn’t complain. It’s not like I’m Glen Erik Hamilton, the author of the excellent Van Shaw series. He wrote a recent blog post about trying to meet his insane deadline (spoiler alert: he did it!). I’m not under the wire to finish Book Three (or any book) in seven months. I wish.

But that doesn’t make me any less stressed. I should have started things much earlier but I’m the queen of procrastination. Plus I had family time and vacation time planned. It was my dad’s semi-annual visit and birthday.


Happy birthday, Dad!

Then I went to Seattle and Vancouver to see all my cousins.

20160814_193449After that reality hit. Vacation time was over and it was almost September. I knew there was an early September deadline for a short story I wanted to write. Once I finished that in the nick of time, I started the next. Thankfully, this deadline isn’t until October but really, that’s not so far away. Then there was preparation for a talk that Sybil Johnson and I had with a book club at the Wiseburn Library. What a blast! These ladies were so enthusiastic, and I’ve never sold so many books at a library before.

Sybil Johnson and I at the Wiseburn Library on 9.8.16 with librarian Allison Ortiz

So now I’ve finally been able to come up for air only to discover that Bouchercon is only 3 days away. Argh! I have to prepare for my reading at Noir at the Bar After Dark. I have to look over my questions for the panel I’m on. I have another reading at a time “when we can find the time.” I have a list of people I want to see and authors I’m dying to meet (stalk) and I haven’t even gotten around to looking at what panels are “must-sees.” Let’s not even get into what I’m going to pack. New Orleans is raining and hot and humid right now. Hotels are always freezing and air conditioned. Apparently, I’m just going to pack my entire wardrobe.

I get overwhelmed at these big conferences and since I’m already overwhelmed without leaving my house, that’s not a good sign. I just have to remember to take a breath and if I need a time-out while I’m there, I can always hide in my room. Or Commander’s Palace. 20150130_121508Or a cemetery.

New Orleans January 2015 – in front of the tomb that inspired Anne Rice to write INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE

Busy is good and I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way. I just have to keep reminding myself of this. I also have to remind myself that even though I stress, I always manage to get it done. And if I don’t, who cares? It’s not the end of the world. People understand. Things can be rescheduled.

And look at that, I’m done with my post! Excuse me while I bask in this momentary feeling of accomplishment.


Sarah M. Chen juggles several jobs including indie bookseller, transcriber, and insurance adjuster. Her crime fiction short stories have appeared in Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, Betty Fedora, Out of the Gutter, and Dead Guns Press, among others. Cleaning Up Finn is her first book available now with All Due Respect Books.


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24 thoughts on “The Post that Almost Wasn’t

  1. Sarah,
    Yes take that deep breath. One thing at a time. I think we tend to get overwhelmed when we look at all we have to get done. It’s probably easier when you just take the next step and accomplish that.
    Have a great time at the conference. I’m sure you’ll do great there!
    – Stephen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you read my mind while writing this? I found myself nodding yes to so many things you wrote. Funny how we get it done, isn’t it? Congratulations on the reading and booksales. The conference sounds fabulous, I have one in October, and major deadlines also. Here’s to the life we chose, and the successes along the way. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like a fulfilling life! And that you are capable of handling it! Congratulations on all you accomplish while you stress about how much you need to accomplish. Must admit, I felt some of your stress by the end of the article…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is one massive list of writing’ to dos’. Best wishes to get them all done, Sarah, and then …enjoy the events you’ve planned. It was a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post, Sarah — it speaks to many of us! I have nine articles to complete before September 30, three of which are due Sept. 23. I’ve started on a few, but several of my contacts haven’t gotten back to me yet regarding scheduling an interview…. and I have family visiting later this week and a workshop to attend Sept. 23 and 24. Why is we authors/writers get so bogged down at certain times of the year and then at other times, we wish we were busy?! How exciting you had a great turnout at the library, so ride on the waves of that and all will fall into place, I’m sure! Best to you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah, I nodded in agreement as I read your business. I’m still not back to fill sream after all my operations this year. I have written nothing. I’ve stsrted back resdinh a little. September usually starts winding down and I have a little more time. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Writing about deadlines brings back memories of my newspaper days. When working for daily newspapers in the 1970s and 1980s as a reporter, I never much felt pressure getting stories done. But when I became an editor responsible for editing reporters’ stories and then laying out the local/state pages… that could get intense as deadline approached. Screw up a deadline and that day’s newspaper didn’t get in the newspaper racks in time for the lunchtime crowd and sales dragged and advertisers complained.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You always get it done, and if you don’t, who cares? It can be rescheduled. I think that’s the key. Hard to remember and believe, though, when you’re pressed for time. As for the wardrobe–I’ve found that packing the whole thing works best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did pack everything and ended up not wearing a pair of shoes and several shirts and a dress. More than I usually don’t wear but still had room in my suitcase for books which is what matters!


  9. I used to work really well under stress, but those days are gone. Now I need quiet and relaxation to get my writing or other work done. Writing posts sometimes almost drives me to tears if I am not ready, but somehow, they usually get done. It sounds like you are keeping really busy with the things that matter. I wouldn’t worry. Love the post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I should be first on the list as Sarah and I are related. She is my beautiful and talented offspring. LOL (I think that means Lots of Love or is it lots of luck).

    MUM (the English version of MOM).


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