11/08/2010

Twitter: It's Not You, It's Me

Dear Twitter,

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.

MM

**"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.


Addiction?  I haz no addiction!

19 comments:

  1. Aww! I completely understand, once you get on twitter even if it's just to lurk, you get sucked in and then you find out you've spent hours on it when you could've been doing something much more productive with that time. I'll miss seeing your tweets. =D

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  2. Myra you crack me up!! But I understand I truly do. Fix those plot holes and write book 2!! Those are the things that matter most =)

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  3. Myra, you've basically just verbalised what I've been thinking for some time now and lately I've started spending more time away from Twitter. It's hard to turn it off sometimes but I work on another laptop when I'm writing, which has NO INTERNET ACCESS AT ALL. I don't miss it then. But when I work on my other laptop that DOES have internet access, I'm all kinds of distracted. I think I will always be fighting this addiction LOL

    p.s. yes we will miss you!

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  4. LET'S NOT TALK CRAZY, NOW.

    Just taking a break. I mean, we'll still talk. Just not a much.

    *goes into withdrawal*

    *has the shakes*

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  5. I, too, take the occasional Twittercation, and I agree that it's important. I'm glad that you are making Hourglass the BEST BOOK IT CAN BE and all that jazz but... but... but... *sobs* I'll miss you!! *sobs some more* Twitter is how I talk to my other author friends who aren't crazy enough to have given me their phone numbers and therefore I can't obsessively text them!!! *continues sobbing* *hiccups* Okay, I think I'm ready to deal with this news. I just need to check my @ replies first for validation so that I am strong enough to handle it.

    ;)

    Okay, but I really DO miss seeing you around. Come back eventually, for the little people like me, 'k?

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  6. The most beautiful "let down" letter ever. I'm definitely taking a Twittercation until NaNo is over :-)

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  7. I worked on my novel yesterday in a coffeeshop without wi-fi. Can I get a hell yeah?

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  8. A break from Twitter is the best and yet the hardest thing to do for some of us. Isn't it amazing how focusing on your Book Baby has allowed you to polish it and now it'll be The Shiny we all want. Love your honesty, creativity and your own unique methods to answering The Muse's Call. Thank you. :D

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  9. In my comment above, it was *as* much. I thought I had my brain back. Hmmm.

    The thing that's so hard is that I've made so many precious friends via Twitter. You take the good, you take the bad, etc.

    There's a season for everything, and this is the season for a break.

    Also, turkey.

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  10. I liked to this post today on my blog. I took a break late last week, too, and what a difference it made! Finding the balance is so hard but reading this just confirmed for me how important it is. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Amen. Testify up in here.

    On a more serious note, I just don't love twitter as much as everyone else. In fact, I have to force myself to remember to go on there every couple of weeks.

    The reasons I am not smitten with Twitter:
    It's the same people on there ALL the time. (when do they write/work/sell books/conduct business/spend time with loved ones/read/walk through the park/visit art galleries/live a real undistracted-by-twitter life?)
    I don't find it the best use of my creative time, or relaxing or even entertaining to read about: what they are making for dinner/ordering for lunch/what their cat is doing/what train they are waiting for. I mean, I'm happy they enjoy writing these things (I'm not judging, swearz) and I'm happy for them that there are people that enjoy reading them.
    I do appreciate and respect that others love their twitter time. I don't think I'm better because I don't love it. In fact, perhaps I'm the dolt, unable to multitask twittering and living my life.

    I don't hate twitter at all. It just doesn't sing my siren song. Plenty of other shiny things distract me throughout my day. (reading instead of writing, for example.) And I do love reading blogs posts by radiant, thoughtful and witty friends. That's my time suck of choice, for sure.

    Good luck with your final edits. Make it gleam. Kick its ass.

    Love,
    Lola

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  12. I know exactly what you mean. As wonderful as Twitter and other social networks are, they are a time suck and we become addicted to them in a way. This is a great reminder to step away every now and then.

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  13. I actually ended up disabling the internet on my writing computer for just this reason. I was spending too much time on Twitter and Facebook and AW. I still visit those sites but only during those times when I'm not writing--usually when I need a break or my brain is too tired to write but too keyed up to sleep.

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  14. Great post! I remember back two years ago when I joined Twitter (she says from her rocking chair), I loved it because it wasn't a time sink like blog reading was. I could hop on, chat for five minutes, and hop off, my craving for socializing satisfied. But now I could literally happily spend all day on Twitter.

    Twittercations are great for remembering what a quiet mind feels like. Thanks for the much-needed (and entertaining) reminder!

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  15. It's about balance. Keeping up with industry news is important. Keeping up with blogs you enjoy is also important. Networking is important. Communicating with people is important, especially for writers and mothers of young children, because when else would we do do it? But everything in moderation.

    Here's to hoping you and Twitter can be just friends, even if you're the kind of friends who only see each other in passing at Target from time to time.

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  16. Myra, I have missed you this weekend, and if it makes your already wonderful writing, as seen in the short stories, better then I'm all kinds of supportive! Though you are the one that got me hooked on twitter, so I'll just be waiting till you come back. Good luck finishing your page proofs!

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  17. Thanks for your encouragement and advice, guys. Twitter and I are taking things slowly.

    :D

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  18. I have interpret a scarcely any of the articles on your website in the present circumstances, and I unqualifiedly like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites web age roster and last will and testament be checking assist soon. Divert check in view my site as highly and leave to me know what you think. Thanks.

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  19. This was hilarious, (and oddly frightening). I'm still pretty new to Twitter, but already feel the symptoms kicking in -- more and more daily Twitter fixes have been necessary to, er, keep the pain away. I think I need to adopt your mantra. When I'm tweeting more than actually writing, you know things are going downhill...

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