Today's writing tip: Be sane.
As usual, that's me giving advice to myself. I've developed what I'm calling a coldlet. It's not a full-fledged cold, just enough to be annoying: Mild sniffles, mild cough, mild stuffiness, mild shivers (though that could be because it's cold). I broke down and took a decongestant yesterday because I had to sing for the music teacher and my sinuses felt all gunked up, and that gave me a couple of hours of clear breathing that was then followed by hours of even worse sniffles, jitteriness and then exhaustion (seriously, I don't get how or why people cook that stuff up into something even more concentrated and then take it for fun). I got all the editing/revision done I needed to do for the day on book 4, but then later in the evening when I was going to make myself write my daily chapter of book 5, I found myself just staring at the screen and drifting off to sleep. I was beating myself up over the fact that I just couldn't bring myself to write.
And then I remembered that, hello, I'm not on a deadline here. The proposal hasn't even been submitted to the editor yet (though my agent said the synopsis was brilliant). So why was I killing myself over working on a book that isn't even sold? If you're trying to sell a book, then yeah, you need to work on it and finish it, but if your deadline is self-inflicted, don't go crazy with it. If you really and truly need to give yourself a break to rest or be human, then do. So, I went to bed quite early last night, which meant I got up at a reasonable hour this morning. I'll continue my editing this afternoon, but it may be an evening for curling up under a blanket, drinking hot liquids, and reading or watching movies. Fighting off the coldlet is probably more important than finishing a book that hasn't even sold yet.
As for the music class, yesterday I had to meet with the teacher before class to sing up and down some scales to give her a sense of my range. Even doing that much got me all hyper and shaky. But eventually I calmed down enough to do it. I had the fact that I'm a soprano verified, and apparently I have a pretty big range (she kept going higher and higher on the scales and raising an eyebrow when I hit the note). Then she assigned me two very Baroque pieces full of trills and flourishes, one in Italian. So yeah, I get to attempt to overcome my stage fright by singing an opera aria in Italian in front of people. As I said, kill or cure. Actually, I think learning this music will be fun. Maybe if I get my work done in time this afternoon I'll get out my flute and start figuring out the notes.
Meanwhile, we're starting to plan the publicity for Damsel Under Stress. I get a very small regional book tour this time around. It will probably be just as glamorous (not) as my previous "book tours" but with the publisher footing the bill. I'll still probably be infringing on friends' and relatives' guest rooms as much as possible to spread the budget as far as possible. The problem with Texas is that it's so big, it takes hours to get from one place to another. It's not like you could do a signing in one city in the morning and make it to another city for that afternoon. That means lots of time in the Saturn (or whatever I'm driving by then).