Although it is undeniably true that in this competitive, interactive, media-driven era every writer who hopes to succeed must maintain a presence in the blogosphere, it is also undeniably true that in this competitive, interactive, media-driven era every writer who hopes to succeed has to get his goddamn work done. Which is an easy fact to ignore as the rationalizations to blog and tweet and facebook come thick and fast, and so we find ourselves in that rue-inducing cycle of never finishing our books because we're so busy promoting the books that we hope to sell once we finish them.
Sometimes it takes an ultimatum to get us to open that internet-blocking application (MacFreedom for me) and withdraw from the constant fix of networking and stay buried deep in that Word file until the writing is done. Bringing with it relief and excitement and fear, such an ultimatum has come to me. Terms were offered and I've accepted: by late October I have to finish the first full draft of this book. That's a lot of writing. It's not a sure thing. But if I succeed I'll rewarded by far more than a sense of accomplishment, and if I fail I'll miss an opportunity to pursue something that I very much want to pursue. It's what I needed, this combination of carrot and stick; they say rewards are more effective than punishment for creative motivation, but I know from experience that it's too easy to be philosophical about not getting something extra, and that what I also need to keep pushing me is the fear of losing something I truly value.
So I won't be here, or anywhere else in the cyberworld, much at all until November. The little promos for the new graphic novel will keep popping up on this page, but then the truth is that I'm not even doing those myself. I might run an excerpt or two from the book as I go, just to prove to myself that I'm really getting there. But otherwise I'll just be writing. I'll be writing and writing and fixating singlemindedly on the end of October.
I'm optimistic. I think I'll be very happy at the end of next month. But I know too that there is vast potential for frustration and self-recrimination, and in the late hours when I'm exhausted and seeking any excuse not to keep pushing toward the end of the draft, I know it will be that possibility that makes me start another cup of coffee and keep going.
Wish me luck?