Monday, April 06, 2009

Dingy Promotion Brain

I got a lot of comment about my intelligent dissent – er, rant – about the SLJ book battle, both here and here. I’m right in the middle of promoting a new book, so I’m especially grateful for Kaethe’s comment: “I feel so sorry for writers who just want to tell a good story, and then discover that they have a whole 'nother job to do promoting the book. It's a bear.”

It made me think. The whole online thing has been both blessing and burden. Believe me, I’ve had my share of experiences with traditional media where the interviewer clearly didn’t read the book and a radio spot is aired at 6 am Sunday, right after the ad for the local hardware store. So I'm awed by the online reviewers out there, passionate readers all, some of them still in high school. For the most part, I happily embrace all this opportunity for linking online.

But I do wonder. What is it doing to my brain? I know that there are some writers who just never seem to run out of words and ideas. They effortlessly ping-pong from Facebook to blog to novel to Twitter to novel to email, all the while producing meaningful prose, witty blog posts, fabulous characters, funny tidbits about their life. Their publicists love them. They are pros at getting their name out there. There's pressure to follow their lead, or get lost in the crowd of new mid-list books.

But what about the rest of us mortals? I’m starting to feel dingy and unfocused. I worry about using the raw material of my life for a blog post and Facebook update, instead of letting it sit and simmer and perhaps, in that magical way, wind up as character, scene, theme, metaphor.

I wonder why right now I’m writing this, instead of tackling that plot problem in my next novel. Am I the only one who needs to focus uninterrupted in order to write?

Plus, my index finger is getting arthritic from my newest tic – endlessly clicking the Send/Receive button.

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