Monday, 18 May 2015

Going quiet - Linda Strachan

It occurred to me recently that writers are to be found all over the place these days.

Spending time on social media, attending conferences, book signings and festivals.

Writers are blogging, tweeting, working on their own websites, writing guest blogs and chatting on facebook.

We travel to schools to meet our readers, teach creative writing,  attend all manner of book-related events,

...many of them delightful and interesting.

But it was reading one writer's post on Facebook about GOING QUIET for a while because of a deadline, that made me stop and think about it.  All this activity takes up a lot of time and energy.

Exactly how much time (that could or perhaps should be devoted to our craft) do we spend on talking about what we do, and writing about our working and personal lives.

 Yes, there are some of us lucky enough to have sheds or hideaways to escape to but we still have to make time go in there and shut the door on the world.

Let's face it procrastination has always been part of a writer's life for most of us, especially if there is not a looming deadline, and sometimes even when there is!

So,  I have a question for you....

How much more writing do you think you would do if there was suddenly no internet at all, no blogs or social media, if you were forced to stay close to home, with only snail-mail and the telephone as contact with those outside the family?

Would you be more or less productive?

Or is it an essential part of your life that powers your creative thought process?

Linda Strachan is the author of over 60 books for all ages from picture books to teenage novels and the writing handbook Writing For Children.

Linda's latest YA novel is Don't Judge Me . 
She is Patron of Reading to Liberton High School, Edinburgh.

Her best selling series Hamish McHaggis is illustrated by Sally J. Collins

blog:  Bookwords 


Anne Booth said...

That's a really good question. Twitter in particular has been a great source of inspiration and support for me both as a carer and as a writer, but I definitely feel the need to go quiet as I have lots to write and it is hard to get down to it. The trouble is, I also have to promote 'Dog Ears' and, soon 'The Fairiest Fairy', and I owe it to my publishers. I think having fixed times to go online is best for me - I aim to be off by 9 this morning and not go back until later in the evening if at all. Trouble is, it is v tempting...

Linda Strachan said...

That sounds like a great strategy, Anne.

The problem is that publishers want us to be actively promoting our books and those who are e-publishing their own books also need to be proactive.

So where do we draw the line and is it too easy to get tempted....

Penny Dolan said...

One of the dangers of the social media is that it can seem very full of people brightly promoting books they've written, places they've been to, gatherings they've attended and so on - all the "out there" stuff which isn't always what you need when you're struggling with a book, possibly in different circumstances.

"Going Quiet" can calm (or not feed) that " must PR" anxiety and give space for all the writing energies. Love your shed, Linda!

Joan Lennon said...

Quiet ... what a lovely word ...

Pauline said...

A very good point - I often wonder how authors get enough time to write, with all the other things going on. They must have very understanding families!
It has actually put me off trying to get into print as it seems to be an inextricable part of the author's job these days.
I've only ever wanted to write stuff, mainly for my own amusement, I've never wanted to dash about promoting books, holding workshops and telling others how to do it!

Linda Strachan said...

One of the more difficult aspects of social media, as you say, Penny, is the way we only hear about the successes which can make difficult times worse.

Yes, Joan. Quiet.. is a lovely word in this noisy busy world.

Linda Strachan said...

Pauline I don;t think that anyone should be put off writing, or getting into print, particularly for that reason.

Writers need to write - the rest is all wallpaper.

Clémentine Beauvais said...

Great post. Going quiet is definitely needed sometimes - especially at times when the whole world seems to be screaming - whether because of catastrophies, miracles, or general elections.

I left Twitter back in NOvember - it wasn't a conscious decision, it was really strange - I left one day and just never opened it again. Never.

I have not missed A MINUTE of it. Have I had more time to write? No, because I'm definitely more on Facebook now - I wouldn't say I've replaced T with FB, but I certainly haven't got that time 'back' for work. However, I feel much more relaxed, and that I have freed up mental space rather than time.

But Twitter was never my thing, whereas I always liked Facebook.