Monday, March 8, 2010

Networking v/s Writing

I got frustrated a few weeks ago when I noticed I was spending nearly all my writing time doing other things than actually working on my novels. Sounds familiar?

On a typical evening, I check updates on Twitter, follow a few links, retweet a few tweets, then check the review forum's posts -- pages of them, and respond to some of them, then read a few blogs and comment on them, then find something to write in MY blog, then do a review, ... and one and on and on.
Weeks passed by and I wasn't making much progress with my books. My mind was so scattered, between finding something to tweet about, blog about, comment about. Other things also interfered: the kids, the dog, supervising homework, ... It never stopped!

The idea crossed my mind of isolating myself for a few weeks and just work on my novel. So many distractions! Networking is good, and I'm all for it, but this was becoming a bit overwhelming. The idea behind networking is to create a platform to promote myself once I'm ready to publish, but what's the point of all that if I never work on my book? An overload of information about publishing tips, writing tips, promoting tips. How about just actually writing? I won't have any use for publishing tips if I never get my books ready for publication.

But then again, I need the interaction. What would I do with nobody to talk to all day? Mireyah tried to go offline for a month and gave up after a day. I would probably do the same. It's nice to get feedback and acknowledgment. Give and take. Friendship. I've gotten used to it and I would miss it tremendously if I decided to stop networking.

I guess it's all a matter of finding a balance.

One night, I just grabbed my notebook and a handful of reviews I printed, and I disappeared in my room and worked on a chapter. No computer anywhere near me. I actually accomplished quite a lot by focusing only on writing. Pen and paper work best!

I need to do this more often.

10 comments:

Harley D. Palmer said...

I do the same thing Annie. I'm actually having the same thoughts as of late - I spend too much time thinking of what my next blog post will be or commenting/reading on the 50+ blogs I follow! That's just even the start but you know what I mean.

I think I might force myself to take a day (I don't think I could go more than that LOL) and NOT get on the internet! Just write - maybe even with pen and paper as that really inspires me sometimes.

Emailman said...

haha!! Annie, you naughty girl. You talk almost as much as I do!...lol...I hope you're not pointing a finger at me :D

Annie McMahon said...

Harley, pen and paper are the best! You can disappear in a corner and just write without interruption. With a computer, it's too tempting to just go online and procrastinate.

Kurt, if the hat fits, wear it! lol I was pointing at myself, actually. I KNOW I talk too much. I'm very quiet, though, in real life.

Jay said...

Annie - you've got the right idea. I had to bail on WDC for a couple of months last year to get my head around a new book and decide what social networking I wanted to do.

I've got the same issue as you. Tweet some. Blog some. Read some tweets. Read some blogs. Review. Write. Read a book. I haven't been as active in the YA group over the last couple of months. I do my weekly reviews, but I can't get involved in every conversation otherwise, I wouldn't write a thing!

You've got to set time aside for the writing, otherwise none of it matters, right?

Annie McMahon said...

You're absolutely right, Jay. I don't even know if I should respond to your comment. It's taking up some of my writing time. Haha! I guess it's a matter of keeping a good balance. I should follow your example and set time aside just for writing.

Dawn Maria said...

I really struggle with the balance between writing and promoting myself and my writing. On one hand, making connections with other writers makes the process less lonely. On the other, I could spend hours a week doing promoting and still never exhaust all the options the internet offers, plus I'd be behind on my book. I try and write before playing, and usually I succeed. Great topic!

Rachel said...

You make a really good point, and it is indeed all about balance! God knows I struggle with that, too...

As for setting aside time for writing -- I should totally be doing that right now ...

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks, Dawn Maria and Rachel! I guess I'm not the only one who struggles to keep a balance, huh! Let me know if you figure it out before I do. :)

Jim Dillingham said...

Hi Annie,

It looks like we all have the same problem. Here is what I started a couple of weeks ago. I made a spreadsheet titled Dailies. Across the top is a list of little things I want to do every day. It has about 20 items ranging from situps to a daily meditation is send out to the number of words I add to my novel.

My goal is to fill in each box each day. So far I haven't made it. But it does give me a chance to see progress. Two days ago, I wrote an entire chapter. Yesterday, 31 words.

Also, as cliche as it sounds, I wrote at a coffee shop. I was in San Francisco. My wife wanted to shop and I wanted to do almost anything else. So, she parked me at a Starbucks and took off. After ever store, she would come by to check on me. I would write and watch people alternatively. I got another chapter done.

As far as blogging, I usually pick my blog the day before. If something strikes me as soapbox-worthy, I file it for the next morning. If nothing strikes me, I read the morning headlines and then complain.

Thanks for peeking at my blog.

Cheers,

Jim

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks for your comment, Jim.

A to-do list always works well for me too, but I make a weekly list. I write down what chapter I'm planning to work on, what I want to review, and a topic for a blog post. I don't always do everything on my list, but I accomplish more than if I didn't have a list.

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