We all can admit to this one.
The Internet is a wonderful tool, for not only communication, but also research. For my latest book, I used street level Google maps for the city where I have set the novel, among other great tools.
The Internet allows us to pitch stories on line and keep in touch with other writers through such sites as email, Facebook and Twitter, the latter of which I especially love.
However, the Internet also poses a danger as a vicious eater of time through those very social networking avenues.
I wanted to share this blog from veteran freelance writer, author, and political blogger Julie Fanselow about how she deals with the balance.
She doesn’t go on Facebook until she’s put in time first on her writing.
So enjoy this inspiring column, which she so generously let us post on our site.
I may not be as dedicated as Julie, but I’m working on it.
“My last morning on Facebook”
Patricia Santos Marcantonio
OK, so we’ve all made the usual New Year’s resolutions about dieting, exercising more, and all that. But as a writer, we should make a whole other list of resolutions to keep in the New Year.
- Write five times a week — This is a hard one and so easy to break, but so important to work at. What we really are doing is setting goals for ourselves. Even if you just write a sentence or two, you’ll feel good. (Notice I didn’t say the weekend, because those are my times to relax. As I’ve written ad nauseam, if you don’t live life, what have you got to write about?)
- Write expanded life sketches for the characters in your books and stories. I find that when I don’t do the most comprehensive job of character sketches, their motivations become a bit hazy. That is not to say they won’t change as you go, but a good character sketch will help you create a living, breathing person.
- Don’t beat yourself up so much. We know that we are our worst enemies when it comes to self-doubt about our writing. Don’t do it. There is enough negativity in the writing world, what with rejections and the state of publishing. Instead, say to yourself, “I love my job as a writer. I’m doing the best that I can and will write more to hone my craft.”
- Take a writing class or attend a writing seminar. Spend the time and money to learn and it will re-energize you, I promise.
- Network, network. Writers need to get out there and find out what is happening in the writing world. If you live in a tiny tiny town, join national writing groups.
- Join a critique group. It may take a bit to find the right people, but they will help you immensely.
Those are a few resolutions to start. E-mail the Other Bunch if you have more to share and we can post them.
And don’t forget to diet and exercise more.
Patricia Santos Marcantonio
I admit it freely. I’m really late with this month’s column. Life got in the way.
A vacation and wedding got in the way, and preparing for vacation and a wedding. Excuses, you say. Justification, you think.
You’re absolutely right, it is in an excuse. It is also a reality for every one of us writers who have a day job, who have life outside the computer and beyond the pad and pen. I’m talking to those with children to raise and parents to watch over. It is a time to take care of the business of living, of loving, of being a part of this sometimes crazy, often wonderful world.
That is not to say I totally cut myself off from writing during my vacation. I took one of my manuscripts to edit, which I did at the airport or when my mom retired for the night. During my trip, my writer’s brain often kicked in, that is the observer in me who steps outside my life and takes mental notes of the way people dress, talk or behave. I think, “Boy that would make a good character in a story.”
Life away from the computer also is a time to reflect about life. Why I am here. Why people act the way they do. Which way will the world spin. There are times when I can’t write because I’m too tired or too busy because of life that got in the way. I become frustrated because without my writing life, I’m not whole, just as I would be incomplete without my life away from words and sentences.
So the conclusion of all this is — letting life get in the way is an absolute necessity. Unless we let life get in the way, what do we have to write about?
PATRICIA SANTOS MARCANTONIO