This week I cancelled my e-mail subscriptions to at least five writing-related sources. Why? Because I’ve been so focused on keeping up with the market that the small amount of free time I do have is getting wasted on reading about what other people write.
Is knowing the latest SFWA controversy going to help me get published? Probably not.
Is seeing a review of books that were just released going to help me get published? Again, probably not.
Or what about seeing a list of deals that were made last week? Or open calls for short stories?
See, on one level it does help. Reading deal news lets me know that (a) there is a wide variety of books getting published, (b) there are at least a handful of self-pubbers that continue to sign trade deals, and (c) to see what publishers and agents buy or represent what.
That was good. But the problem is when that’s all you’re doing and you’re not doing the most basic act of being a writer. And that is WRITING.
It doesn’t matter if I can read the tea leaves and know that the next big wave in whatever genre is going to be whatever if I’m not actively writing and honing my craft. Because without the ability to translate the idea to something someone wants to buy it doesn’t matter.
Not if I want to be a writer.
When I first started out I needed to get an understanding of the landscape. I also needed to read blogs and books about story craft. And to know what was getting published in my genres.
But now? Now I just need to hide away in a small little room and write. And then write some more. And then write some more. And when I feel like I’m not capable of improving any further on my own (something I’ve been wondering recently) then I need to find a workshop or class or something else that will look at MY writing and tell me what’s wrong with MY stories.
There’s so much noise out there about writing. So many blogs, so many forums, so many opinions. And it’s useful in a general sense. But at the end of the day, for ME to get somewhere I need to focus on MY writing.
(Of course, I still can’t quite bring myself to delete the 100+ blogs I’ve bookmarked…Maybe next week. It only takes a minute or two of willpower after all.)