But promotion tends to take ten times longer than I anticipate. Time away from working through my publisher's edits of my forthcoming novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, or adding words, sentences and scenes to its follow-up, 100 Candles, my WIP. Of course, I put myself under additional pressure by trying to organise things so the winner has the chance to read books during this month's UK lockdown. Thanks to the other authors' enthusiasm, we got from idea to implementation in four days.
Any author who wants to be read needs to invest time not writing, but how do we decide how much? Although, as I said, I enjoy this part of the job, I’m not immune to the feeling – especially after trying and failing to figure out the workings of an alien host website – that the time I've spent on it is lost.
We talk about spending time and losing time is if it's a tangible thing we can accrue, store and dispense. We talk about gaining an hour when the clocks go back in the autumn, although what we really get is a period of disorientation when we can't distinguish whether we are early to a (Zoom) meeting or late.
It was there when I sat at my desk to write this story. It was gone before I typed THE END. Would I find it buried in my Twitter feed? In the dregs of my coffee? Behind the TV?
It was there when I rose from bed this morning. Gone when I crawled back tonight. Did I lose it in an endless to-do list? Distracted by the chatter in my head?
It was there in abundance in my twenties. Each decade chipped more away. Did I waste it mourning what was missing? Or was it never mine to use?