Why Some Distractions Are OK
I am distracted these days from writing my novel. It’s partly because I’m teaching a Novel Revision Retreat in Illinois this weekend. But I also find these things to be distracting.
- Family. Well, of course, family interferes. Katherine Paterson has said that family takes up so much time and energy, and yet they are the very reason she has something to talk about. It’s a good distraction.
- Critiquing. I don’t do critiques professionally, preferring instead to help writers learn to understand their own work better. But I do critique for my local group, a few online friends and a few writers I mentor. And lately everyone is working hard! I always learn so much by doing these and love to see how the feedback works out or doesn’t work out in their stories.
- Speaking. I’ve done several local school visits, a picture book retreat in Oklahoma, and the retreat in Illinois this week. Often writers need multiple income streams, so this is good.
- Reading. I binged recently on Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series of adult fantasy novels, reveling in the luxury of reading five books in a row that were all fascinating. Seems like reading time is one of the first things to go, but I need to take in language, so there’s something to give out, too. This was good.
- Internet marketing. I’m also studying internet marketing these days, with the idea that it’s the one kind of marketing within the control of writers. Our websites, blogs, Facebooks, MySpaces, etc. represent an opportunity to reach audiences and I’m experimenting, learning and trying out some new ways of doing that. I think this has potential to be very good.
- Fallow. Letting a manuscript cool off is one of the hardest things I do. I’m always excited and want to get it out! So, times like this are valuable for me to let a mss fallow, let me get some perspective on it before it finally gets three more revisions and THEN gets sent out. And this — is very good.
But look out next week! I’ll be back writing like crazy, with no more speaking until July. (Well, a few local things here and there. . .)