Posted by: Sarah | March 17, 2011

You Naughty Blogger, You.

I have to start this post by apologizing for being neglectful of this blog for over a month. I pray you’ll forgive me because I think I have a good reason: I’ve been writing. There’s no more welcomed a distraction (read: opportunity for procrastination) than the Tweeting Facebook Blogger Kingdom. Fellow author Jenna Blum addressed this social media struggle many writers share on Grub Street Daily’s “Friday Five-O.” I couldn’t help raising a hand and saying, “Preach on, sister-friend!” I swear the yellow-breasted chat outside my office window chirped ‘Amen’ or was that a Tweetdeck notification…

What a time we live in! Never before have authors been able to directly connect with readers across the globe. Social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs) are incredible tools. I am grateful to have them at my disposal. However… however, the temptation to spend hours tweeting and blogging could swallow up the precious time needed to dream, to write, to journey to new imagined worlds and share those with the very readers who are checking Twitter and Facebook and this blog. After all, you came here because you’re interested in my stories. Yes, it’s fun to connect facebook-to-facebook and read 140 character tweets, but what you’re really interested in are my book characters, their struggles and adventures.

Don’t get my wrong— I love hearing from readers! Social networking sites are how you and I communicate with one another and I’d be nowhere without each one of you. But it is hard to nurture and update a blog while swimming in the creative process pond. For me, it’s damned near impossible. They are two divergent sides of my brain. One is governed by the muses; wherein, I am an aside. The fictional landscape and people rule the hours. In the other, Mr. Logic and Mrs. Sense preside. I am Sarah McCoy, the humble writer, sitting at her desk corresponding with readers. If I stop the flow of the first to dabble in the second, it’s virtually impossible to reclaim the inertia of the fictional dream.

And then there’s the pressure to write something worthy of reading. Just about every writer today maintains a blog. (It’s a snap to sign up on blogspot.com or wordpress.com.) A majority of those writers have much on their agenda to discuss regarding the craft of writing. They do such an exceptional job that I firmly believe my duty is to acknowledge their astuteness and pass on their links whenever possible. I prefer not to take on the pressure of writing an MFA lecture in blog form. That’s my personal preference. But I do champion such sharing of ideas in the writer community. Mentorship is invaluable. I consistently chat with my own to glean insight into the best way to both write and live in this profession that could easily make one a crackpot.

Recently, I was in touch with one of my most cherished friends and mentors, Sheri Reynolds. I was fretting over this very topic: How do I successfully make time for everything? Write books, write blogs, write tweets, Facebook, do library readings, book club visits, emails, AND continue my love of reading other brilliant authors’ work. Never mind be a wife, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, and one day, hopefully, a mother. How in God’s good name is a writer supposed to do it ALL in the precious few hours of a day? I’ve tried not sleeping, but my husband doesn’t enjoy living with a zombie. Plus I end up wanting to kill characters I adored the day before.

I was in the throngs of my meltdown when Sheri said, “Find time to take breaks, Sarah… the writing is just one part of your life.”

BAM. Just like that. Relief. She said it, not me. It was okay to remind *Writing* that it was/is ONE part—to let Facebook and Twitter and yes, even this blog know that it is but one fraction of the whole story of my life. There’s so much else going on in the world and in my imagination. So if the social network doesn’t hear from me for a time, that’s okay! It means I’m engaged in other areas of living. I’m somewhere drinking tea, laughing on the phone with my mom, climbing a West Texas mountain with husband or lost in writing a story so rich and delicious and full of characters that dawn turns to dusk outside my writing office window. I needn’t feel guilt for any of those. Because in the end, I bring all of it to you, my friendly readers. Those experiences and adventures color my novels’ landscapes.

So I took yesterday and today off. It’s my husband’s birthday and we’re headed to Santa Fe this weekend to celebrate. During that time, I’m allowing myself to tweet or not as I feel compelled. To write in my journal and dream and take mental photographs. To give myself a break. To hold my husband’s hand like we’re teenagers and drink a glass of champagne. To sing show tunes at will and to not feel an ounce of anxiety that I’m somehow failing at… doing everything. I’m going to enjoy doing one thing at a time.

It’s like spring seedtime. A hundred seeds in a hole won’t make anything grow. But one seed at a time will bear an orchard of fruits. I can’t rush it or worry over how much rain or sun will fall. I can only have faith in the seasons.

Yours truly, Sarah

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