I've finished proofreading and now am more or less finished with this book. I still have to review the digital files and the paper version proofs, write cover copy and do promotional work, but the writing part of the book is done. That means all my current projects are on someone else's plate. I've got a book with the editor, a book with my agent and a book going into production. Now I can move on to something new and kind of get my life in order. The next few days (aside from that conference on Saturday) will be my "retreat" to start really thinking about this next book, and that even counts as preparing for my workshop because going through my steps will help me think of things to talk about.
For those who are curious as to how much work goes into a book, this may have been the first one I've tracked from start to finish, and it came to about 143 hours. It's a little depressing that this comes to just under 18 8-hour working days even though it spanned more than a year (very off and on because there were gaps between phases), but then it occurred to me that this would be 8-hour days of non-stop, actual work, not the kind of 8-hour working days of getting settled at the desk, checking e-mail, getting coffee, chatting with co-workers, going to meetings, etc. I time with a stopwatch the amount of time actually devoted to this particular project. It doesn't count time thinking about the project while doing other things or the time spent on developing series elements that were used here. This was probably the fastest book of the series because it's shorter by a bit, because I already knew the characters so well and because I think I've finally learned enough to do it right in the first place instead of spending months rewriting. It does look like the ending sets up the possibility of a whole new range of stories, but it could also be taken as closure. And I still don't have any ideas currently sparking. We'll see what happens after I've written some other stuff.
I now have just one more normal session of children's choir, and then we have the evening of doing the program for the parents. My kids seem to have loved what I came up with for the song for the parents. They get to do a kick line. They're very excited. It will take a bit of practice to coordinate it. Although this whole thing is a little overwhelming, we must be doing something right because we've had no attendance drop-off. In the past couple of years, there's been a bit of a drop from the fall semester to the spring, and then a gradual waning to the end of the year. I'm ending the semester with the same regular attendance as we started with, and I only lost one kid between fall and spring (and they may have moved). Either these kids aren't as into other activities, or they're enjoying themselves enough to keep wanting to come. They usually seem happy to be there.
And then the adult choir director found a way to make me very happy. We do a Memorial Day concert, and this year one of the songs is "Do You Hear the People Sing" from Les Miserables. I've always wanted to sing that as part of a choir, so this is a dream come true. Last year, the men's chorus did "Bring Him Home," and we went straight from that to an a capella choir arrangement of "Taps," and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house, including mine. I guess we're being more militant this year. I will have to restrain myself from climbing onto my seat and waving a flag.
We're having a sudden burst of November weather (in May!), so I think I'm going to walk to the library, browse for books, maybe get some DVDs, then have tea at the cafe. Otherwise, this will likely be a sofa day.