"One hates an author that's all author."
~ LORD BYRON
And yet... And yet, in the face of such wisdom, this is what I strive to be.
I've been having some indecisiveness lately over whether I want to be a writer any more. So I took yesterday off. Just, off. There are a number of things I do regularly on Saturday. I most generally write at least one review on writing.com, as well as promoting my group, the Punk Fiction Library. I also post links to the most recently active of my friends' blogs and pages on a daily basis, and I also routinely share a few items on Facebook, and comment on at least a half-dozen posts, and often many more. Yesterday I did none of those things, and as nearly as I can tell, nobody even noticed! For a certainty, no one commented.
But the reality of it came home to me in the wee hours of this morning. I couldn't get to sleep last night. I tried. I laid in bed for an hour and studied the ceiling, the night light, and listened to the little owl that lives outside my window, and I finally gave it up. Taking my own advice that I give when this happens to my wife, I got up to make use of the time. Sitting down with no clear plan of what to do, I found myself working on Stingaree. It flowed so naturally that I actually invented (well, for myself, at least) a new way of outlining that gives me much more flexibility than my old notebook method. But that's neither here nor there; the point is that I want to write.
I've been thinking about this turn of affairs, and what I've come to believe is that what I don't want to do is all those things I've obligated myself to over months and years, one little thing here, another little thing there, until all those little drops have added up to a sea. A sea of groups, forums, and social media that consume my writing time. I wake up early now that I'm retired. Don't know why. Maybe it's because there's nothing to dread after I wake, I don't know, but I have the house to myself for two-to-three hours when I first get up, and that is time that I want to write.
But I have these other demands. I established a Facebook group, the Punk Fiction Authors Guild. It exists to help all its members, 25 right now, down from 31, and this means reposting their promotional material everywhere I frequent. Time off of my three hours. My daily scouring of friends' pages, then copying and pasting the links on writing.com. More time. Reviewing. Promoting and maintaining The Punk Fiction Library and Twenty-Five Words or Less. All time deducted from that immutable three hours. This blog. Riding the Blimp, my writing.com blog. Who knows what I'm forgetting in my sleep-deprived state?
The point is that I have dug a crater with a teaspoon, and now I can barely see over the edge. The next thing I have to do in my writing life is to decide whether I'm going to be a writer, or a social media gadfly, posting, commenting, and pontificating on what it's like to be the writer that I'm not any more. I guess you can tell from the tone which way I'm going to go, so let me stipulate what you will and will not be seeing going forward.
First of all, I will maintain everything I've started to benefit others. This specifically means the two groups and the forum that were mentioned above. I will maintain them. Don't look for me to be hanging out there every day, and commenting on everything that passes the gate. That isn't likely to continue. Reviewing and critiquing the work of others helps me keep my own style in focus, so I will continue to perform all my writing.com reviews on the weekends. There is one friend for whom I have agreed to critique her entries for a contest that is testing her skills over the next twelve weeks: I'm in. When I give my word, I keep it. Riding the Blimp will continue to appear each Monday, as preparing that helps me examine my Craft and I believe makes me a better writer. This blog I will continue to service when I think I have something to say, as I have done here.
And that's it! Don't expect to see me all over Facebook or any of the other social media sites on a daily basis. I'll check out the things I started, and if they're running smoothly, I'll be moving on. What you will get in return is better, and more writing from me on such projects as Stingaree, The Darklighters, and The Nexus Chronicles. They will be offered up on writing.com for everyone's entertainment and opinions, and I hope you offer up those comments, because feedback makes you better at everything, and that includes writing.
And on that note, I'm going to start my day, probably with a several-hour nap. Some of the grandkids will be over today, and I'll be engaging with them when I get up, so probably the next thing you see from me will be my Riding the Blimp blog on writing.com. I'll put up a link when that's done, and Tuesday I'll be launching back into Stingaree; that's been under construction for far too long!
Until we meet again, play nice, watch out for one another, and above all else, get out there and live life like you mean it!