Friday, April 15, 2011

Digital promotion highs; blank page lows

During the BitTorrent/Captive promotion I loved watching the digital download numbers soar. My Facebook and Twitter numbers jumped. I got direct emails from readers…thankfully positive... After sitting in front of a computer screen or hard copy printout for so long writing the book seeing some actual proof of readers is gratifying.

But each day, no matter how exciting or interesting an outward directed event is (even positive feedback from readers!) we are all still responsible for our own work product.

Writing is creative, very much so. But it’s also work. And unless I’m writing I’m not a writer, but a dreamer. Can you force creative work? Absolutely! A friend of mine tells me repeatedly that I should be writing X number of pages a day, even if I have to throw them out. I tune his number out since he’s much more optimistic about what I can complete in a day than I am.

But his point about the discipline is important.

I threw out almost a whole draft of Captive’s sequel. I was writing it to meet someone else’s deadline and I hadn’t done the requisite research to start writing. Clutter and mess. But know what? That first draft, now in the trash, helped me puzzle through the new book - which is so different yet clearly the next step.

All of that time writing helped the draft lead me to where it needed to go. Much as I regret those hours of typing bad fiction they made me a better writer. Now, I still need to continue researching (I need to stop writing these research heavy books) but the story line’s clarity simplifies the process.

I wrote Captive late at night, when my son was napping/daughter at school and occasionally in the car pulled over by the roadside to jot ideas down. Now, sometimes I’ll sit inside my house and stare at the beautiful Santa Monica weather all Sunday afternoon, even when friends have invited me to do something fun, writing. I hate that part. But I do feel proud of what I finish by the time the sun goes down.

The blogs are easy. Tip tap and they’re done. The books are a true commitment of attention and time. Yet when I finish one it contains a whole new world of my creation.

Thank you to my new and old readers, BitTorrent and all of those who listened to me jabber on and on.

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