In researching literary agents who might – just maybe, with a sprinkling of luck and the oh-so-right pitch – be interested in representing These Days, I’ve come across loads of helpful information, all seemingly geared toward pulling me away from writing. I’m told to social network, to build a platform, to blog and tweet and meet people face-to-Facebook. I’m told to understand my market, to include in my query a bulleted list of potential readers. Ah, for the good old days when a writer was expected to just write! When agents and editors and publicists (provided by the publishers) did the rest! That said I must resign myself to living in the present, 1940s Pin-up though I am.
I work for a living – 40 hours a week, and not in an ivory tower of academia where my superiors have an innate understanding of my need for a creative life. I’m a union transit operator. My superiors don’t have the remotest understanding of my need for a life, period, much less a creative one. So what’s a working-girl writer to do? How does she find time to write and social network with a meager 3 hours each morning allotted to both?
Like a blogger I recently read on Writer’sDigest.com, I’ve found that “passive-aggressive e-mailing puts me off my game.” In other words, when I spend too much time reading and responding to posts by others, all with the intent of building a network, I find I no longer have the desire to write. Boiled down, that means I’ve lost my reason for wanting to network in the first place. When I originally set out to build a platform from which to market These Days, I figured I could allot 30 minutes of my three writing hours to internet tasks. I’d blast off e-mail queries and tap out snappy little replies to blogs and tweets I found interesting, all with the intent of building a network. How quickly I found 30 minutes could turn into 3 hours! Maybe it’s a right brain/left brain thing – with one side adept at creativity while the other is adept at marketing – but I find it all-but-impossible to switch gears within the same 3 hours. Thus, I’ve decided to devote a few weeks to platform-building while my second novel stews in my brain. Like my Twitter friend, writer Charles Kelly, I find that if I carry my novel and my characters around in my head – that is, if I think their thoughts and feel their feelings as I go through my daily routine – they end up doing much of the writing themselves. I did this with These Days, and after-the-fact had the observation that I had no idea how some of the most brilliant passages got written. Thankfully, I have a job that doesn’t require much thought!
‘Til next week!
Margo, the Working-Girl Writer