I’m starting my Day of DH by doing my electronic correspondence. Living on the west coast of Canada means that when I wake up bright and early, my publishers in Ontario, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are three hours ahead of me. I can log in to check e-mail at 6:00 am and find new notes from my editors. Some of these notes are low priority. Others are calls for immediate action from assistant editors who must have materials in hand for the senior editors’ meetings, or from senior editors who are doing their best to remain employed while the publishing company is re-structuring.
Today I had to prepare a short text file — in the body of my e-mail and as a Word document attachment — containing all the references I used when writing the book What Is Energy? (This book is a new title to be launched this fall.) Had to include my bibliography and recommended reading list and any other references. In a revised MLA bibliography format, by the way, not standard MLA. Had to save the file as a .doc, not a .docx, so it would be compatible with my editor’s computer at her workplace in New York City. Got it to her in time for the meeting.
Half an hour spent first thing in the morning at my e-mail means that I have a stellar reputation with my editors. I am apparently THE writer for fast responses to such requests, though I live four thousand miles and three time zones away. And three times I have been assigned books to write on short deadlines, when someone else has backed out at the last minute and my editor has sent me a hurried note asking if I would be able to send a book proposal on Topic X by noon to consider so she might not have to cancel the project. There must be other writers who have also done fifteen minutes of online researching, then cut apart an old book proposal to write newly appropriate table of contents and outline with marketing and competing titles notes, of course. But when I went from zero to book contract in thirty minutes flat one day, I felt like a writing/computing superhero!
Today I just sent a list of my references. No biggee. Any work I can do in my pyjamas is pretty good work. No superhero costume necessary. Then oatmeal for breakfast, and a little writing.