Catching Up & Moving On

I have a confession.

For the last several months, my daydreams about HBM (Hot British Men) have been replaced by daydreams about one person. This person:

The Fabulous Lorraine

If you follow Neil Gaiman online, in any form, her name probably rings a bell. If not, the Fabulous Lorraine has been Neil's personal assistant for the last sixteen years. And you'd better believe that it's a full-time job! It can safely be argued that she works even harder than her boss. Before I go on, please read her fascinating post "A Day in the Life of a Personal Assistant."

(Seriously. I will wait.)

Now . . . I am not Neil Gaiman.

(Pausing again, to allow your belly laughter to subside.)

I have not written a bajillion stories in every market possible—comics, nonfiction, adult fiction, picture books, middle grade, young adult, magazines, newspapers, television, film, radio, poetry, music. I have not won any awards, nor do I have a rabid army of fans and devoted readers.

I am a nobody, you guys. My first book—FIRST BOOK!—doesn't come out for four more months.

And yet . . .

My professional inbox currently has 205 unreplied emails. These numbers are not Neil-standards, for sure, but I repeat: I AM A NOBODY. And those are two hundred emails requiring replies. (Many of them several replies, as they are interviews.) And this doesn't include the dozens of messages piled up on my Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads accounts. Nor does it include questions left here on my own blog!

It also doesn't include my personal inbox, which currently has seventy-nine unreplied emails from family members, close friends, and the people most closely attached to my career (agent, editor, anyone at my publishing house).

My own mother is waiting to receive a reply from me!

And the purpose of this post is not to say, "Brag brag brag, look how popular I am"—I have writer friends who receive WAY more email than myself, and again, I cannot stress my unimportance enough—but it is to say . . .

Writers are busy people. We love your email, but there's a reason why sometimes it takes us a while to reply. And there's a reason why many popular, published writers sometimes can't reply at all.

Few writers achieve Neil Gaiman-status. Most of us can't afford to hire a Fabulous Lorraine. Most of us are doing this email and social networking thing on our own. Most of us enjoy it (I love blogging and Twitter!), but it's still exhausting. Answering this many messages is a full-time job.

But you know what else is a full-time job? Writing books.

Which means most writers have TWO full-time jobs. Actually, most writers don't make enough money to support themselves, so they have another full-time job, the one that pays them a living wage. Furthermore, many writers are also parents! Another full-time job.

So. The full-time job breakdown is this:

—family first
—then whatever job pays the bills
—then writing books (or poems, screenplays, essays, etc.)
then the inbox

So to anyone wondering why I haven't replied to you yet, allow me to assure you:

It's not you. It's me.

And then please allow me to add:

Your patience is always noted, and it's always appreciated.


Thanks for writing! How cool!

Someday, I'd love to have a Fabulous Lorraine to wake me up and bring me tea and organize my calendar and sort through the never-ending catastrophe that is my inbox. But for now? All I have is Fabulous Stephanie.

And Fabulous Stephanie is feeling pretty darn fabulous right now, because she FINALLY turned in Lola and the Boy Next Door to her editor. Which means the rest of this month is about catching up (your messages) and moving on (Third Novel!! I've missed you!!! Kiss kiss kiss!!!!!).

Good luck to you with whatever your August is about!

[Note: I've mentioned my Fabulous Lorraine fantasy to many people this year, and I've actually received several personal assistant offers. As CRAZY AWESOME as that is, I'm not asking for free work. The day I feel justified to have an assistant (a day faaaar in the future, one imagines, if ever at all), it would be a paid position for someone who lives close to home. But thank you for offering.]


  1. Yay for FINISHING! Oh my goodness! What good news. Congrats, Steph, and here's to hoping you can get your hands on a personal assistant someday:)

  2. I fantasize about having some lovely lady come into my house a couple of times a week to clean and cook for me. Now that would rock.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer. I know I'm counting down to the end of winter!

  3. We can all dream, can't we? No, seriously, I mean, whose daydreams don't include Neil Gaiman? ;)

    I'm feeling pretty good about my August. Hope yours stays fabulous!

  4. Well, that's a cool problem to have, albeit overwhelming! And, WOW. I clicked over to the Fabulous Lorraine, who is, indeed, fabulous. Got sucked in to multiple posts of hers, and...yeah. Just wow.

    Good luck catching up on things! :) And, congratulations on Lola!

  5. Oh wow! That's a lot of e-mails!

    And many congratulations on turning in those edits! I am ridiculously excited to read Anna and, eventually Lola. You are marvelous, and maybe someday your Fabulous Assistant dreams will come true! ;)

  6. I'd love to have 200 emails that aren't spam, that would be awesome! You could bathe in them in glee and sob, 'they like me, they really like me!' lol

    Anyway, just a note (or another email) to say hi as a new follower :)

  7. Yay for finishing Lola! That's awesome to hear.

    And lol, I was gonna offer myself up to help out a bit but I saw your endnote. Le sigh.

    Hmmm, if you're catching up on emails now, maybe I should email you now instead of later...?

  8. Oh my gracious, she is hilarious and awesome. I did not know about her -- I mean, I knew he had an assistant, and I knew she had to be really really busy, but thanks so much for the link. I'm totally cracking up. And the post on Ten Things Not To Send Your Favorite Writer? Awesome :-) And how cool that she loves mangoes. A kindred spirit!

  9. Thanks for the link! That sounds like one epic job. Congratulations on finishing, catching up, and moving on!

    I have a love/hate relationship with August because September and school comes after it. This means that I have to squeeze lots of stuff into it, because next month, I won't have time to do much outside of school and work.

  10. LOL! It's good to know that as a no body, you're still loved, seen and appreciated. Right?


  11. Ooh yes, Lorraine is seriously funny! Not as funny as you, though. I often think about the conversation you had with Thoma Yorke in the garden in the middle of the night. Heee heee.

  12. How cool/stressful that you're so wanted, needed, loved! Everyone would love a Fabulous Lorraine! I don't know where time goes so fast, but I never seem to get things done......maybe I spend too much time reading blogs......NAH!!!

    : )

  13. Congrats on finishing Lola! Yippee! Fabulous indeed.

  14. Congrats on FINISHING! *throws confetti*

    And good luck with those e-mails, Fabulous Stephanie. Thanks for the Fabulous Lorraine link. I didn't know much about her.

  15. Yay for finishing Lola! :) Congrats, that's a wonderful task completed.



  16. Huge congrats on sending that book in! I can't wait to read it.

    Also. Have you seen that the hardcover of Octavian Nothing: Book 2 is $3 on Amazon???? I bought about 10. Just to have.

  17. CONGRATS on finishing!!! :)

    Also, I am totally linking to this amazing post (if that's okay). I really couldn't say this even HALF as well, but I want to tell people - most of the time - why I'm so behind on email. *sigh* Really good stuff.


  18. Yay! It's so exciting, because NOW Lola is one step closer to all of us! HEY! I live nearby! If you ever need someone to come clean, and you'll pay me in coffee, I'm SO THERE. :) Keep up the amazingness. *EHugs!*

  19. I took a circuitous route to find your *S*P*A*R*K*L*I*N*G blog and just want you to know, you have yet another fan.

    I am a little older than most of your fan base, but my young heart qualifies me.

    Can't wait to buy ANNA - and I will as I am a bookshop-a-holic, especially when it comes to books with kissing included!

    Much luck, Cutie Pie.

  20. I hear that! I love all the blogs I follow. But, reading 50 blogs a day is a job. And it's not like I don't have other things I HAVE to do. And that's not even considering the things I'd LIKE to do.