Or…The Dragon has a bone to pick with folks who spend their writing time on promotion
Let me start by saying this will be a controversial post. I apologize and welcome your discussion with one another now.
First, writers write. They must, as a function of today's publishing industry, also promote their work.
But the writer who sacrifices his or her writing time to sit on a panel at a convention or to package up pens and bookmarks to send to a convention where he or she can't participate in the flesh or to stand by a photocopy machine making advance reader copies (ARCs) of the latest manuscript for reviewers ceases to be a writer and steps into the role of a publicist. I have performed each of the above-mentioned tasks and more in the promotion of Choices Meant for Gods, Choices Meant for Kings, and What Choices We Made because I can't afford to hire a publicist, but I have not performed these tasks to the detriment of my writing schedule. I would lose my mind if I didn't have my writing time.
Recently, someone in an online promotional group that I belong to wrote a message chastising the members of the group for not participating more in the free opportunities the group affords. We were being called on the carpet for not taking time to post oodles of links and information about our work. I didn't have time to respond to the message, and was irritated that the message with the scintillating subject line had turned out to be a waste of my reading time. So I decided to use it during my blogging time to educate others.
If you've set aside time for writing because you're a writer, guard it with your life. Don't let promotional activities take away your opportunity to create. If an interview is scheduled during the hour or two hours that you've scheduled for writing, then re-schedule those writing hours for a different time; don't let them slip away. If you have to travel to speak on a panel, write on the plane. Write in the hotel room. You can ask for that wake-up call to be as early as you need it to be…
What I'm trying to get at is this: time is precious. Your writing time is precious. Once you let it get away, you don't get it back. It's more important than responding to a group message or to a blog post. It's more important than opening your e-mail to check "one thing" that sucks you in for an hour. It's more important than the laundry that could be drying while you finally catch up on sleep later.
I'm not going to tell you that scheduling and re-scheduling your writing time is easy. Some writers out there are balancing writing with raising a family with promotion with getting a dog to the vet, etc. There's always something. I have a fulltime job that requires more than 40 hours a week, an illness that requires frequent doctor visits and tests, some of which last more than three hours at a pop, and a couple legal matters that require visits to attorneys (with homework). That means I have to stay organized to keep the writing and promotion up. It is possible.
And it's what makes me a writer.
Which are you?
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."
Tags: writer, writing time, Choices Meant for Gods, promotional activities