I wrote almost two weeks ago that I would be “taking a break” from social media to concentrate more on the new book. I was planning to stop almost entirely until at least Christmas, but after a few days I began to feel that was too extreme. I have posted here since, and added some casual Instagrams…
View this post on Instagram
The sister-in-law's horses🐴🐴 photographed earlier today🙋🏻♂️after they had just figured out I had come over only to say "Hi, guys" and I didn't have any edible treats for them: "What? You got nothin'? Uh, yeh, dude, it's really nice to see you too."🤔😆 . #ImStillHere #sabbatical #socialmedia #horses #disappointed #family #rural #Essex #countryside #England #travel #weekend #humor #pets #Sunday #writers #authors #authorsofinstagram #writersofinsta #expats #expatlife #photos
…and I suppose because I no longer find myself feeling compelled to put up blog posts three or more times each week, and as well as regularly to update Instagram, I feel less pressured. That has enabled me better to focus on what is an important time for the new book. Having slowed down with the social media, but not vanished, I think I have rebalanced and as a result I have also made good book strides.
If you write, you have your creative habits and what you believe best works for you. I write my books much as one builds a house. First, the foundation – the broad outline – is poured. Second, which takes months, is erecting the framework, both exterior and interior – which means producing a sketchy full book which is wildly uneven: some chapters daily grow more complete than others, while some are still scattered scribbled thoughts consisting of little more than a few sentences to be expanded later. Third, the empty frame structure is entirely “decorated” inside, which also takes months – and when that is finished there sits a full rough draft novel that needs editing, corrections, and so on.
The second and third points do somewhat “blend” together: there isn’t necessarily a clear line between the two; but I feel I’ve now moved from second to mostly third. I write jumping around based on whatever grabs me as I sit in front of the PC, slowly tying it all increasingly tighter together. One day I may be in “1840” in New York’s Catskill Mountains, the next with an Oneida along a river in central New York in “1796,” the next with the second US president in Philadelphia in “1797,” or at a formal party in France back suddenly in “1787.”
View this post on Instagram
Going through old boxes again.📦 We all know we don’t write personal letters nearly as much as we used to.📝🤔👨🏻💻 I do think we’ve lost “something”: I miss those days when something came in through the letterbox that actually made us really ***smile.***😁 . #letters #stamps #oldguy #old #writers #writersofinstagram #authors #authorsofinstagram #postmarks #1993 #twentiethcentury #travel #history #longtimeago #Hertfordshire #England #photo #office #France #Paris #romance
Often I find an “idea of the day” smashes me over the head based on something that has caught my eye and invaded my consciousness. That leads to the “Ah! Ha!” moment. Then I exclaim to myself… “Of course!”
How about a show of hands. How many of you have ever written a serious love letter? Or – to be all 21st century-ish – how many of you have perhaps written even a love email or other similar electronic message? And by the latter I mean composing complete, carefully crafted, thoughtful sentences: texting emojis doesn’t count!😂
You men especially? Now, don’t be afraid to admit it. Thus as I wrote yesterday in “1799” again of a French stream followed by sitting on an edge of a farm – both of which may be familiar to you from, uh, a previous novel:
I have written the full letter as well. And, no, I’m not showing you the rest here. It will be in the finished book, though! 😉
In 2018, we don’t live in nearly as private a world as was the norm until only just a few decades ago. More than ever, we have to be mindful of what we write. Don’t forget, what we send in an email or in a “private” message doesn’t get stored only on yellowing pieces of paper in an attic, a basement, or a closet… or hidden for years in a box buried in the ground somewhere.
Have a good day, wherever you are. 🙂