Monday, June 28, 2010
What should come first, the nest or the egg?
Ahh, but what if the perfect egg is laid - I mean, perfect novel is completed - and there's no nest for it to lie in? In this competetive market, just about everyone says that a writer needs to build name recognition via social media, a website, or a blog. It's not a requirement for publication, by any means, but it certainly gives an author the edge when their book is submitted or released. There are some agents and editors who'll google an author they're interested in. Plus, name recogition builds the bread and butter of all authors - readership.
As with most things, it boils down to time management (hence the photo of my egg timer...I don't really keep it on my keyboard though). It's so easy to get swept into cyberspace...at least for me it is. There are so many incredible and informative writing blogs and websites out there, not to mention forums where a writer can connect with others who share his/her obsession. There's even facebook, twitter, etc... A person could spend all day keeping up with it all. Is it work related? Yes. Is it sometimes procrastination? Possibly. Bottom line - it must get balanced with actual writing time.
I've recently resorted to a timer. I picked the traditional 'egg' because it symbolizes what comes first. It reminds me of what precious thing will hatch if I use my time wisely. I can time my time checking email, blogs, and forums. I don't stick to a strict schedule (ie. 15 min AM and 15 min PM) because I'm a mom and life happens. However, I am striving to stick to an overall time limit, say a total of an hour a day for all networking activities. Each person has to decide what works for them. A published author may need more time than that to accomplish their marketing goals (I wouldn't know...yet).
I can also use my egg timer to time my writing. I like to challenge myself on word count per thirty minutes. Online or public challenges are too stressful for me. I even like the 'white noise' ticking because it keeps me going...kind of like the chugging sound on The Little Engine That Could. "I think I can, I think I can..."
But, hey, not everything works for everyone. Even with excercise and diet, different gadgets and gizmos work for different folks. I'm sure there are fancy computer timers and speed writing programs out there - I've read about a few - but I like to keep things simple. I keep things boiled down to basics, if you would.
Pen. Paper. Time.
Okay, okay. I do use a computer...but it's still about the time. Please don't misunderstand. Using a timer doesn't mean I have to force myself to write. I love writing. I'm passionate about it, but when a person works from home, a timer can help delineate writing time. Time is elusive and eggs crack easily. What do you do to manage your writing vs networking time?