There is only so much time in a day, and frequently, it comes down to this question: Do I write or blog?
And it isn’t so simple a question. On the one hand, should I further my craft and my novel by devoting what free time I have to its success, or should I spend my time developing my “brand,” my blog and the undeniably useful network available through blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc., which I will one day need as a vehicle to “get my novel out there”?
At best, it’s a juggling act, where we do both. Writing on one day, blogging on the next (or one week, one month, etc.). Next month (April), I’m going to be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, so I know my novel writing will seriously go down…and thus, I’ve given it a great deal of time and attention in March.
But there are times when I wish one could “just be a writer,” and bury myself in my imaginary worlds, and never have to come out until I’ve “written myself out,” when ideas are flying , plots are coming together, and all I want to do is write.
My favorite literary example of someone trying to do this is Jo March, from Little Women:
“Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and ‘fall into a vortex’, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her ‘scribbling suit’ consisted of a black woolen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action. This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who during these periods kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally to ask, with interest, “Does genius burn, Jo?” They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an observation of the cap, and judged accordingly. If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on, in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew, and when despair seized the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor. At such times the intruder silently withdrew, and not until the red bow was seen gaily erect upon the gifted brow, did anyone dare address Jo.
She did not think herself a genius by any means, but when the writing fit came on, she gave herself up to it with entire abandon, and led a blissful life, unconscious of want, care, or bad weather, while she sat safe and happy in an imaginary world, full of friends almost as real and dear to her as any in the flesh. Sleep forsook her eyes, meals stood untasted, day and night were all too short to enjoy the happiness which blessed her only at such times, and made these hours worth living, even if they bore no other fruit. The divine afflatus usually lasted a week or two, and then she emerged from her ‘vortex’, hungry, sleepy, cross, or despondent.”
The ending is a good picture of what happens when we abandon ourselves to one task, leaving the others behind: neglect, frustration, and a great deal of work piled up, somewhere else. So no matter how much I long to do it, I try not to, because I’m sure it wouldn’t be good for me, as a person, no matter how much me, the writer, would rejoice at the scheme (and I’m quite certain my family would prefer I avoid the state of “hungry, sleepy, cross and despondent.”) 🙂
What about you? Do you write in spurts, or do you have some balancing scheme involved as that everything gets done in smaller, shorter increments?
Copyright 2016 Andrea Lundgren