Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This Author Has Three Selves (Part II)

What happened with me and my three selves:

Another recent realization: it's really
hard to be three people at once.

So, I don't try to be all of them in one day. Instead, I just devote whole days to each role. Recently, I've been devoting whole weeks.

See those long (yellow) streaks of editing? The scarier name for that is "under deadline."

(And I have another one coming up! *wrestles with panic*)

And this past month, I have been immersed in a joyous terrain of dragons, fairies, and phoenixes, a.k.a. the first draft of Book 2.

But poor author-promoter self has clearly been left by the wayside.

Why Such a Tragedy Has Occurred:

To be perfectly honest, I know why: it's my least favorite of the three - and easily the one I find most stressful.

Being a writer-promoter is also the area I have the least experience in. Writing I've been doing since fifth grade (which is...geez, fifteen freaking years?? When did I get so old?). My editing/revising skills have been honed through my late teens and early twenties (nearly seven years). Through that experience, I find a healthy dose of confidence. It means I can tell my neuroses: "yes, you can can write 300 pages in a row, Shelby; you've done it before." Or "Yes, you can make draft 6 better than draft 5. Wasn't draft 5 better than draft 4?"

But this self-promoting stuff is new. It's uncomfortable: I want to do a good job, but I'm not sure I know how.

From what I can tell, I'm not the only one with this problem. Usually, an author tends to be good at two of the three. I've seen authors who can manage a brilliant revision in the same week s/he lands two great author interviews, holds a squeeworthy contest, and also, moderates a twitter chat - but these tend to be the authors who feel like writing a first draft is complete agony. Other authors can pump out tens of thousands of words, without much sweat, while tweeting great lines from their WIP and creating facebook pages for each of their main characters, but they also have a really hard time getting enough distance from their beautiful words to figure out how to fix their pacing problem.

For me, writing and editing are the easier two; promoting makes me uncomfortable.

(Because it feels like bragging!! And talking about myself all the time! I am not a fan of either of those activities.)

The only thing I really know being an author-promoter is that doing it well - whether writing a stirring post, or designing a fantastic website, or keeping up with tumblr which keeps people coming back for the pretty pictures and cool is music - takes a lot of time.

Time that my author-writer and author-reviser parts steal for themselves. Clearly. (See above for evidence.)

But something must be done. My blog needs my love also.

The Magnificent Plan:

Disclaimer: though magnificent, this plan is a work-in-progress and thus subject to change. That's what happens when there's no grand tradition and you're basically making it up as you go along. But writing down the plan adds a reassuring amount of structure to it. And also, the fact that I'm posting the plan in a public place dramatically increases the chances that I follow through.

  1. I'm going to start devoting whole days to my author-promoter-blogger self - the same way I devote whole days to writing and editing.No more of this "whenever-i-feel-like-it" nonsense. (If I've been working all day on something else, then I'm just not going to feel like it. This is just common sense.)
  2. Maybe two or three days a month. (So far in June, I've spent one day on the blog, plus a few hours on other days.
  3. I am going to start scheduling posts waaaaaaay ahead of time on those days. (Evidence: this post was scheduled on Sunday afternoon. Okay, so two days aren't totally a long time, but some of them will be longer. Like I'm thinking about writing a Father's Day post for next year.)
  4. I will keep a list running of all the brilliant blog post ideas so that I'm never short on inspiration. (Currently, there are twelve on it. I started it Friday. Clearly, I have more ideas than I know what to do with.)
  5. Spur of the moment posts are okay too, but they're going to be like the icing on the cake. An added and expected bonus.
The Practical Application:

Buuuuut since I have a deadline on Friday (aaaaaaaaaaah!!!), this may be the last time you hear from me until after that.

Till later, my friends!!


storyqueen said...

The author-promoter part is hard for me, too. But I have really liked connecting with other writers (through my blog) and find them so inspirational that it helps the author-writer part.

But I really limit my social media.I don't tweet nor facebook because I have this other thing called a full-time job that keeps me busy:)

I guess we all have to make choices. Putting your writing and revising first is the smartest choice if you ask me.


Shelby Bach said...

You know, I think you're right, Shelley. It's weird to me, but I feel like I'm simply on the internet less than many writers (especially those who are good at the author-promoter part). I'm more productive on the writing and revising side when I'm away...