I'm on deadline right now for my final page proofs for HOURGLASS. Final page proofs are, well, final. I write my corrections directly on the galley pages (and holy crap are there a ton of corrections), and then send it off to Egmont's managing editor. This is one of the last times I get to touch my book baby. This is one of the last chances I have to fix any mistakes, or lay any clues for (as yet untitled) book two. This is ... FINAL. And therefore, TERRIFYING.
While trying to get these pages done, I've learned something. I'm totally addicted to you, Twitter, and all the shiny communication and information you supply. No delayed gratification at all - there are a ton of people I can "talk" to or "eavesdrop" on - and they're available all the time.
Last Friday afternoon, I decided I would take a Twittercation until I was done with my second pass on my proofs. Every relationship benefits from away time, right? So I shut down my computer and deleted your app off my iPhone.
Honestly, Friday night was rough. I had so many things I wanted to tell you; I wanted to know what everyone was doing and did anyone MISS ME? I have to admit, since this is a confession: I cheated on you with texts and emails. Sometimes you need more than 140 characters to say things, and ... I liked it. I'm sorry. It's true.
Saturday afternoon, after I'd been working ALL DAY, I noticed something. My mind was quiet. Working was easier, more fluid, not as fractured.
I'm as A.D.D as they come, and it doesn't take much to get me bouncing like one of those rubber balls attached by elastic to the end of a wooden paddle. "OOO! LOOK! There's some SHINY OVER THERE. OOO! LOOK THERE'S SOME SHINY OVER HE - OOO! LOOK! COTTON CAND - OOO LOOK! CHIA PETS!"
It feels rude to call you noise. But I learned that sometimes you are. I prefer you when I'm engaging in conversations, or reading quality industry articles. But when you're constant advertisement and self-promotion, I don't like you as much.
My biggest revelation came Sunday morning. Usually when I wake up, I sort of lounge in bed for a minute or two. After that, I roll over and check my emails, and then usually I turn to you. To my Tweeps. To see what happened while I slept. This particular morning, I didn't reach for my phone. I let my mind wander.
I figured out I'd left three plot threads hanging loose in HOURGLASS. A book that goes to print in a few short months.
It was a punch in the gut. The hard truth is, I'm letting you feed me, Twitter. I'm using my creative muscle to come up with witty 140 character statements instead of quirky plot twists. I'm reading Publisher's Weekly and other people's blog posts instead of consuming books on craft or researching for my own work.
The worst thing, Twitter? THE VERY WORST THING? Sometimes, when I spend too much time with you? **I don't keep my eyes on my own test paper.
I compare what other people are doing, or what they have, or what they're writing about, with what I'm doing, or what I have, or what I'm writing about. I stop focusing on my stories, and start focusing on things that don't/won't help me write a book at all. I make room for envy. Jealousy. And those things will eat my soul if I let them. I have a tendency to let them.
That's wrong. On so very, very many levels.
So while this isn't a Dear John letter, it is a It's Not You, It's Me letter. I'm going to place some limits on our relationship until I get my mind right and my priorities straight. I trust those things will happen soon, and when we do spend time together again, I'll have some healthy boundaries in place.
Until then, be well. And ... tweet on.
**"Keep your eyes on your own test paper" is the brainchild of my Awesome Agent, Holly Root. It is some kicka$$ advice. Probably because SHE is kicka$$.
P and S: Because I do love you, I leave you with this.