It's Anneliese's week to post. For all you Ms. Kelly fans out there, I'm sorry to report that she won't actually be posting--I have bribed her and stolen her promo time! (The deal was that I'd take over her blogging duties while she completed a major editing request from me. Since I didn't give her nearly enough advanced notice for the editing, it seemed like the least I could do!)
This actually brings me to my topic for the day: the clashing hats we wear as writers. Lately I've been really good about wearing that promo hat. But it's been stuck on my head so long, I'm wondering if it's really about procrastination. After all, if I'm promoting myself then I'm doing legitimate "writing work"... all without actually having to write!
As she so often does, Debbie Ridpath captured this dilemma perfectly (click on the picture for a bigger view):
There have been several great articles out there about social networking for writers. I don't mean to knock any of them. And I certainly believe the excellent advice over at 1st Turning Point: in today's marketing climate, writers have to establish their identity before they're even published!
But the same people who've encouraged me to promote myself are also the same people who'd remind me that social networking is no substitute for actually writing. Nobody can buy your book if you're not writing. And nobody will buy your second book if your first book was a phone-in flop. In short, we must balance promotion with output!
I've been doing an okay job, but I feel that I could definitely improve. And so it is that, even as I take over for Anneliese this week, I'll be looking for ways to wear my writing hat more often. Here are some of the experiments I'll be trying this week:
(1) Keep off the internet during my writing time! I will set a timer. While the minutes are ticking down, I can only be working in Microsoft Word.
(2) Provide mental separation between writing and promo. I heard about this trick from a friend who worked at home! He was feeling incredibly unproductive and someone suggested to him that he get up every morning at a set time and then prepare as if he were actually going to an office (shower, pre-make lunch, pack a briefcase, etc). He'd do this, and then he'd leave the house, walk around the block, and come inside. It was no longer his home... it was, for the duration of his work day, the office. I'm going to try something similar in my attempts to draw that line between writing and promo. I'll let you know how it goes!
(3) Limit promo time. I'm going to bust out the timer again. Maybe I'll set goals for my promo (as many people do for their writing). That way, I won't be working over or under my goal... in theory, at least!
My experiment starts today. I'd love your support! Please post an encouraging word or two. Also, I'd love to hear how you manage your writing/promo time.