Monday, June 27, 2011

Do You Go Off Process to Promote?

You know, I would really love to talk to you about my process. I think writers just adore process questions, because they're easy to answer and maybe they make your writing life seem much more romantic than it is. "Why yes, I have a process. I write for x amount of time every day" or "I put a single yellow rose on my desk, and then type pages every morning while sitting at a particular window with a gorgeous, specifically regional view" or "Like, Isabel Allende, I have a 'writing season' and I spend the rest of my year cooking for gorgeous meals for my large family and enjoying life" -- though seriously, does anyone but Isabel Allende have a writing season? Only she could pull off something like that.

So yes, I would just love to write a post about my process. The only thing is that as of this writing I'm totally off my process. That's because my paperback is dropping today, so I'm in promotion mode. I'm not working on the rewrites of second novel as I promised my agent I would. Instead, I'm blogging about all of my giveaways and tweeting about the e-book, and basically using my writing hours to sling paperbacks in as many ways as my introversion will allow.

This wouldn't be so disconcerting if I didn't actually have a strong writing process now. Back in the early days of novel writing, I was happy to abandon the 32 CANDLES manuscript for weeks, sometimes months at a time to write a new play or put together a short film festival or you know, just go to a really awesome party (read: free booze). But that was when I was a beginning novelist, undisciplined in every way.

Now that I've finally achieved all this hard-won discipline, it feels so weird to just stop everything and promote. Don't get me wrong I love promoting. It's great to use my brain for activities that involve people who actually do exist in the living world we know. But there's this vague-but-persistent guilt that attends every hour I spend promoting as opposed to writing. It feels like someone keeps tapping me on the shoulder while I'm trying to concentrate on something else. Seriously annoying.

I wonder how other writers handle this. Do you go off process to promote? Stop every thing to spread the word about your book? And if so, do you have ways of soothing the (really impatient) writing beast inside of you? I could really use the advice, so do let me know in the comments.

Oh, and if you're so inclined, you can pick up the paperback of 32 CANDLES at your local bookstore are right HERE.


  1. I had to laugh when I read the title of this post because Betsy Lerner had a hilarious post recently about how she hates it when writers talk about their process - lol!

    But I have a process for each stage of writing - the beginning differs from the end and when I finish one book and start another, I forget my process is different. Eventually, after flailing around for days or weeks or months, I have that aha moment and I switch back the process for that stage of writing.

    Promotion also has its own process - it's not just a matter of what I do during the day - it's my emotional/mental state. It's hard to focus on a different book when I'm promoting another book.

    Right now I have 2 manuscripts on submission and it's a struggle to sit down and write a new book so I ease up on my page count, grateful for getting anything on the page.

    BTW, I thought this was a fun question, in spite of the crack at the beginning. :) I'll be curious to read what other writers have to say.

  2. I know exactly how you feel. I have never been able to write and heavy promote at the same time. Promotion has always been such a full-time job. Luckily I like the fun of coming up with new angle and ways to promote and I get a rush when I score a media outlet I've been chasing after.

  3. I try to make myself write first and promote after that. Tweeting is so much easier than a first draft, isn't it?

    But Ernessa, geez, I've never run out and written a play when procrastinating--that's a new one!

  4. Excellent post, Ernesssa. I alway plan to combine writing and promoting, but it never seems to work out that way. I'm more of a single-focus girl!

  5. In today's market, it is just so, so important to promote! But I totally hear you. I try to think of my writing time as my "life as an author" time, so that way, if I'm doing promoting or something writing related, I don't have to feel guilty!