A while back, Associate Editor Kristen Hall-Geisler wrote about working alone versus networking. I’m straddling that fence myself and wondering how to balance the solitary requirements of writing with the social aspects of getting my book out there.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
I feel you, Jekyll and Hyde, and I think every other writer does too. We all pretty much fall on the spectrum of extroverted or introverted, and they each have challenges. The extrovert feeds off the energy of being with other people, so sitting at home pounding out words is torture. The introvert has to make her own energy, which means networking events are a complete drain.
I tend toward the introverted side of things, which is why I just finished building a writing studio in my backyard. My room of one’s own has a Virginia Woolf–approved lock—and a dead bolt. This may seem extra solitary, but the mental difference in having a space dedicated to only work, with only work-related books and only work-related files, is immense. There’s no reason to go out there and goof off. I can do that in my house.
It’s also a counterpoint to the networking that will be required to promote my own independently published book, Take the Wheel: A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car Her Own Damn Self (edited and designed by my colleagues at Indigo Editing). If I’m going to be attending events and sitting on panels and hustling as hard as I can before publication day in September, I’m going to need that studio more than ever. Your space might be a dedicated desk or a converted spare bedroom, but if you too need to hustle a book, that space is going to be like a recharging dock for your writerly batteries.
For those of you with the opposite problem of extroversion getting in the way of your butt-in-chair time, try to find a similar balance. For an hour of solid writing time or hitting that day’s word count goal, reward yourself with a trip to the local coffee shop or bar to gossip with the neighbors. For each draft completed, host a dinner party. And you should definitely start or join a writing group, preferably one that meets weekly or every two weeks, to get your social fix and your writing fixed at the same time.
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Kristen Hall-Geisler, associate editor, spent four years working her way up the editorial ladder as a proofreader, copy editor, and managing editor of Sports Car Market magazine, then struck out on her own as a freelance editor and automotive journalist. She has edited a wide variety of books, including self-help, memoir, YA, spiritual, and fantasy novels of the sword-and-sorcery variety. Her automotive articles have been published in the New York Times, Details, Oregon Business, and on web sites such as HowStuffWorks.com and VroomGirls.com. Kristen is also the author of Take the Wheel: A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car Her Own Damn Self, available September 2013. (She had no influence over this feature’s title or photo. We’re just so proud of her, and of our team helping her, that we wanted to sneak in more highlighting of her forthcoming book.)