I woke up around 4pm this morning.
Yes, you read that right, and no, it's not a typo. It just so happens that the time I swung out of bed was late afternoon on America's east coast. My widget told me the time there before my sleep-muddled mind figured out that it was about 9am here in New Zealand.
This is an increasingly common occurrence as I work with a literary team that's spread across the globe, and Eastern US time is a point of reference at the start of my day. Much of my idea-mongering is initiated, mulled over and completed in online chat circles where my co-workers are well-versed about what time I am to be found there. We talk design, marketing, editing, task assignment, contracts, and of course writing, along with day-to-day stuff and everyone's news, reviews and plans.
It's the reality of international publishing, and it can be fun trying to liaise with this person and that one at a time when we're all awake. Some things take a little longer to sort out because of it, but we have to learn patience and work on as many things at once as we can so that the whole operation still moves along at a nice pace.
And there are some odd but useful side-effects. Like doing business with a Stateside nightshifter in my early evening. Or being told by a morning-fresh compadre to hurry up and go to bed because it's after midnight. Since I'm a night-owl I sometimes work on projects through the "wee small hours" and I can enjoy the instant support of people who haven't had to stay up all night to help me.
On the other hand, most of my friends are gone by 4pm my time (Midnight Eastern) and my evenings here are fairly quiet of online activity except for the night shift and the European contingent - plus a few very early risers. This has led to my online social life occurring during the day and my work mostly after dark. Strange but true.
Depending on how late I stay up on a given day, we can all cross paths again by the time it's midnight downunder. I may keep working (with admonitions to get enough sleep coming from the distant morning) and sooner or later shut down to sleep their day away - just as well, or they'd likely get nothing done!
I'm so grateful for the technology that allows us to work so closely in this way, even though we've (mostly) never met face to face. Having to figure out the time zone calculation is a very small price to pay for this great gift: that we even found each other in the first place.