I have the attention span of a toddler hopped up on Pixie Stix. Whenever I see the latest Bright And Shiny thing, I clap my hands in delight, drop everything, and then go play with it. My latest Bright And Shiny? Twitter. God, that's addictive. And oooh, it's in real time! I can keep! updating! throughout the day! **whee!!!** On top of this, I'm as insecure as the next author and so have to egosurf to see if people are talking about me and my books. I'm glued to my computer. And that doesn't even count AIM and other instant messaging services. Or texting. Hours can go by, and all I've accomplished is a blog post, a number of Tweets, and confirming that no, I haven't hit the NYT list when I wasn't looking. No writing -- that is, no writing that I can hand over to my crit partner, my agent, or my editors.
And that, folks, is what I call suffering from Bright And Shiny Syndrome. You have the best of intentions when you start the writing day -- but thanks to getting caught up with networking and promotion, little (if any) writing actually occurs. So what's an author to do?
1. Set aside a solid hour where you're offline and writing. Yeah, I know, an hour's not much. But hey, it's better than nothing. During this hour, do not squeak in lunch. Do not go online to do "just a little research." Write. Slowly increase this to two hours. And more.
2. Set aside a solid hour where you're online and promoting. This means blogging, responding to writing-related emails, scheduling blog tours and bookstore appearances, and making business-related phone calls.
3. Set aside a solid hour where you're online and networking. Twitter, FB, MySpace, Absolute Write, this site...this is the time when you're reaching out and having fun. And it's not getting in the way of your writing.
Yeah, I know -- it's easy to get distracted. But with more and more Bright and Shiny things distracting us, we have to do what we can to play with the shiny and still be productive.
Excuse me. I have to go back to obsessively checking the Amazon and B&N.com rankings for Black and White. ;)
How do you fight against Bright and Shiny Syndrome? Have any tips?