Extra D’oh…

I slept 2 hours on Wednesday night.

It’s not that I’m that busy, mind you. I was supposed to sleep four. I just lay down and couldn’t sleep until 6:00am, and I had a class at 8:00am.

But I am that busy, that I could only fit in four hours. Partly, I suspect, I just take my classes too seriously, and partly, I try not to let me job get too much in the way of my writing.

Except, of course, that this would lead to letting my health get in the way of my writing, so I am cutting that crap out with a quickness.

Anyway, the nice news about being busy is that sometimes it pays off. There’s a pitch going out for me to co-write a textbook for what works out to about half of my year’s salary. Of course, there’s also a ton of drama involved — incompetent no-show dolts from the previous textbook project in the series, whose messes I had to help clean up, are trying to fight their way onto the new textbook team, and threatening lawsuits and so on — but assuming such disasters as that can be avoided, this could work out well for me. The money’s even a forward on royalties — which means, if the book is popular, there might even be more money involved, and best of all, if it all works out, there would likely be one more book in the works, next year.

And nicest of all, it’s a Middle School textbook, which means there’s significantly less text to produce.  I calculated that I could probably produce drafts of the bulk of my assigned content in a few weekends of focused work, plus several weeks of work on expanding the text when the time comes. (So I can do most of the heavy lifting during the summer holidays.) One of the features of my pitch was that a general near-final draft of the English content could be mostly finished by October, or at the very latest November (for the December deadline) assuming we know exactly what we’re shooting for in terms of Ministry of Education expectations and so on.

Ministry of Education expectations are a big deal, too. A change in personnel was what apparently caused so many textbooks from the recent review period to fail. The previous authority on textbooks was rigidly against the workbooks being too “creative” or integrating new materials. Anyone who followed that expectation too closely — including several established textbook lines that were revised — failed, because the new authority on textbooks was much more insistent that books should be creative, and that they should have workbooks with somewhat more extra materials to ensure interest among students!

By the way, half of my year’s salary is still relatively modest, as textbook drafting goes. Some people who were hired to do revisions of previously successful texts were paid the equivalent of a hundred thousand dollars in advance for textbooks which, this time around, failed even to get basic approval by the Ministry of Education! Indeed, one textbook author, a Korean woman famed for writing quality textbooks, is rumored to have commanded close to a million dollars for working on a textbook! So I am not bragging, not by a long shot. But this will be a nice shot in the arm, if it happens. Especially since we’re insisting on minimal meetings and other time-wastage.

The one downside is that I’ll have to cut back on my creative (fiction) writing, at least during the time when I’m actively working on the textbook. But hey, with the likelihood that I’ll be apartment hunting during my winter holidays next year, I’m willing to slow down my output for this year, at least somewhat!

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