Sounding the depths.
That’s what I call it.
It’s that phase of the writing process that exists apart from lived experience, the time when (as Wordsworth said) the stuff of life can be “recollected in tranquility.”
I’m currently spending a good bit of my free time in that phase, working to meet a couple of short-story deadlines and finish the first draft of my third Veins Cycle novel Vortex (which is due for release in 2013). Fortunately, this phase of self-imposed seclusion comes after a string of enjoyable real-world events, the kinds of personal appearances that are equally important to the writing life.
A couple weeks ago, I sat on a panel at WHC, talking about the role of Social Media and the importance of balancing an Internet presence with time spent going deep into fiction. Among the strategies discussed was one that seems to work for a lot of people, namely the scheduling of a fixed amount of Social Media time each day. One writing friend has told me that he allocates 90 minutes to working on his blog, Facebook posts, and email. What he doesn’t finish in that time, he saves for the next day. Thus, the rest of his writing time is devoted to fiction.
The 90-minutes-and-stop approach seems like a good one, and I have no doubt that it works for some people, but for me?
Jeff Strand, the master of comedic horror who served as MC for this year’s Stoker Awards, parodied the distracting pull of Facebook during the award ceremony. What would we see if a writer’s life were made into a reality show? He showed us by assuming the writing pose: hands on keys, eyes staring deep into the fictional landscape. Then the expression changes. “Hey!” the writer says. “I wonder what’s on Facebook!”
It’s for this reason that I find I’m much better at real-world social media. When I’m at a convention or doing a reading, that’s all I’m doing. My focus is on the event. I enter life, go deep, and stay there until the interaction is finished.
My approach to writing is much the same.
I’ve had a grand time during the last month, doing readings at Horror Realm, World Horror, and Jozart Center for the Arts. But now comes the real work, the reason I got into this crazy business in the first place. Now it’s time to use what free time I have for living in fiction, spending time with some wonderfully eccentric characters and finding out where their lives are taking them. In short, it’s time for going deep into the world of fiction.
That said, I do have a number of things to share in the coming weeks, some new fiction announcements and details regarding my upcoming all-music shows at Riley’s Pour House.
But for now, the fiction is calling!