For nearly fifteen years, I have worked in the fast-paced world of television production. Emails are answered within five minutes—because the problem should have been solved three hours ago. Crucial decisions are made as the director counts down—five, four, three, two—to live on air. Key staffers are hired without an interview. Work is started—and finished—before a contract is written.
I’ve spent fifteen years sprinting to the set in heels.
But now I am transitioning into this world of publishing, which is anything but fast. Deals are made, but contracts sit on desks waiting for signatures. My manuscript is finished, but getting a finalized document approved for publication will take… time.
For the last fifteen years, I have woken up in the morning, booked a guest, written a segment, produced an interview, and had it air that night to a nationwide audience. My turnaround time was less than 12 hours. Sometimes, it was 12 minutes.
Now, it could be 12 months before I have a book in my hands.
This slowness frustrates those who love me. They are ready for signings and tours and seeing my novel on the shelves of their local bookstore—you know, everything that comes with already having the book.
But I am happy sitting in a coffee shop instead of hyperventilating because the prompter operator can’t type fast enough or the printer doesn’t print fast enough or the editor can’t cut fast enough. I am enjoying the slow silence of days without an update, instead of tossing out a segment and starting all over again two hours before taping because an Associated Press wire tells me that a new candidate has joined the Presidential race…
The Wednesday after Osama bin Laden was killed (which was on a Sunday) PBS legend Bill Moyers asked me, “So, who did you have on the show on Monday to talk about it?” I had arrived at the office at 6 AM on that Monday morning. The Executive Producer and I had debated about who would be the best guest. I had booked the guest. I had produced the interview. It was a pivotal moment in American history. And yet, two days later, I could not remember that show. “That’s okay,” Moyers said with a knowing smile. “That’s the news for you. Once a story is over, you leave it behind and move onto the next…”
I am tired of working so fast that I can’t recall the work I’ve done.
So, I am enjoying this beautiful change in pace. Like slowing down when reading a good book so the story will last a little bit longer, becoming an author is an experience I want to savor.