Friday, 19 August 2011

Going Dark: Abandoning the Social Networks - Lucy Coats

What?  Abandoning the social networks? Me?  For those of you who know me--yes, I hear your scepticism.  For those of you who don't--trust me, for me to talk about abandoning Twitter and Facebook is like a chocoholic abandoning all cocoa products.  So why would I do it?

Well, in the Twitter world, there is a thing known as #goingdark.  This signals that one will not be around for a while--and usually, if a writer uses it, it means that they are going into self-imposed purdah to work on a project, to edit, to think.  In short, to do what writers do best--create. 

This, of course, is what I'm talking about--not so much abandoning the networks, as being absent from them for a while (come on, did you really think I would jump ship?).  I had a good reason for being absent for a whole month* recently--a YA novel to finish.  When I'm in that race to The End, I need a head uncluttered with any distractions.  My brain somehow shifts to some strange space off to the left of my eyebrow, and I walk through the world in a daze, entranced by my characters--wanting to talk only to them.  It's an intense sort of conversation, and while I love chatting to my Twitter and Facebook friends (some of whom are Real World friends, and some who I know only in the Virtual World), this stage of writing, for me, is a particularly private time, and so I shut myself away with my characters and go dark for as long as it takes.

Now that I've 'finished' and am at the rewriting and fiddling stage of my novel, I'm dipping a toe in the social networking waters again. Have people missed me?  Doubtful.  Have I missed much? If it's important enough, someone will tell me.  One thing I'm glad I didn't miss this week is the publication of Nicola Morgan's wonderful, witty and eminently useful and sensible guide to using Twitter.  It's called Tweet Right and if any of you were thinking of venturing into that particular corner of the social networking playground, I'd strongly advise reading it before doing so.  Now that I AM back, I've signed up to be one of Nicola's Twitter Angels.  So if any of you want to come and see what it's all about, I'll be happy to help and advise.  You can find me at @lucycoats.  Unless I've gone dark again.  In which case, you won't.

* a whole month is a LONG time for one who Tweets and Facebooks much more than she probably should each day.

Lucy's latest series Greek Beasts and Heroes is out now from Orion Children's Books


catdownunder said...

Pkease do not go dark on us too often!

Lynda Waterhouse said...

As someone who is coming late to the twitter tree I really appreciate Nicola's book, Lynne's recent post and your angelic offer which I would like to take up when I return from the dark side in a couple of weeks

Lucy Coats said...

Cat--only when the Muse is cracking the whip!
Lynda--my wings are flapping. Just let me know when you want to come into the light!

adele said...

I consider 'going dark' very often. I have very little patience with twitter and am not and never will be on Facebook but I do like dipping in and seeing what's the goss. Now that I know there's a name for it and one can do it for a period, that makes me feel much better! Thanks Lucy!

Unknown said...

Well, I missed you! It's most discombobulating when one's friends end up #goingdark. But I understand the need for that particular space all too well. And now I must away, #goingdark myself and having bought Tweet Right, get that read.

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

A curmudgeonly comment from me.

What happened to the community that was twitter, now Yanks and Anglos seeking pennies from newcomers who should use their commonsense, plus reliance on the twitter community, which of course has to be branded #twitterangels, using up yet more characters?

I find it all rather money grubbing and in poor taste.

My advice to all newcomers, is be yourself and ask questions, we all did at one stage!

Unknown said...

Know what you mean, I have to opt out from time to time, just have to write something and keep up the self-designated title of author. :0)

Stroppy Author said...

I'm on the dark side, too, at the moment, for rather different reasons and as it was not planned made no #goingdark declaration. But it will be easy enough to pick up again later - it always is. Congratulations on finishing the novel, Lucy!

Nicola Morgan said...

Thanks, Lucy! And thanks, others.

Congrats on getting your novel finished. I'm going to need to "go dark" at some point soon, for the same reasons.