End-of-Year Hiatus

Those who read this blog know that I am on high alert, actively pursuing my manuscript deadline, and getting concerned at the quickly passing days. Over the months, I’ve tried many things to get myself there. I’ve tried new schedules. I’ve blocked myself from Twitter for short bursts (some of you may remember the Twitter Break of Nov. 1-7). I’ve banned myself from Facebook for more short bursts. I’ve made a new personality on my Macbook called “Nova the Writer” who has no access to any websites except Pandora and blip.fm. I’ve even made great sacrifices to write full-time because I knew I couldn’t make this deadline otherwise…

And then I’ve cheated. And made excuses.

I’m afraid to say that the above concessions may not be enough. My mind feels crowded. My insecurities flare. And that deadline is only getting closer. I began thinking that maybe I should do another Twitter and Facebook break for the month of December.

Then, today, I saw Sara Zarr’s announcement that she’ll be taking a hiatus from social-networking sites starting tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 29 through January 6. Laurel Snyder is in too. And they’re not the only ones.

Listen, I don’t want to do this. I want to be one of those strong people who can balance everything and handle the world and write brilliantly at the same time. I’m not that person.

So I’ll be staying off Twitter and Facebook starting tomorrow and ending in the New Year. I will be trying. Making a solid attempt—and here I’ve announced it publicly, so you know now. You know.

I’ll still be:

  • Blogging here about writing when the mood hits, just not obsessively
  • Updating DaniNoir.com and my main website if there is any news
  • Checking and sending email. You can reach me at: nova [at] novaren [dot] com

I will still be sending out the DANI NOIR postcards, as I teased on Twitter, and I plan to do that this week. If you want one, email me your mailing address. I have a few left.

I wish you a calm, productive end to 2009. When I see you next on Twitter and Facebook, I hope to have the full first draft in the hands of my agent, as promised, and a new drive to get it ready for my editor on Feb. 1, as promised, and contracted, which is scarier than a promise, and—most of all—I hope to talk to you again with a clear, unjumbled head.

Now… is anyone else taking the plunge?

Short, Impromptu Twitter Break

I’m off Twitter (and Facebook?) for a bit—just a few days, back Saturday. I’ll slip back in every once in a while for exciting announcements, like this contest where you can win a signed DANI NOIR  or a Gilda! So you might see me peek in. But other than that, I just need to be writing and re-doing my new idea for my new book. I wish I could be better about balancing Twitter with my writing life, but so far I can’t seem to handle it. I see other writers tweeting up a storm and writing their books and I wish I knew how they did it. Advice welcome.

Tomorrow We Can Be Human Again

Twitter Break ends tomorrow. We can tweet again with impunity. We can RT to our heart’s content. We can stalk any publishing professionals we want without getting arrested. And, hey, we can take every single ridiculous, grammatically painful quiz on Facebook and no one can stop us! (Maybe I’ll keep on abstaining from that last one.)

I know there were some other writers who were thinking of joining me for Twitter (and Facebook) Break… wonder how it went for them. Hey, Rachel, Victoria, Tiffany, Martha, Jessica, Karen, Debbie, Valerie, Laura, Yojo, Eliza, Charlotte, Liz, Nan, Laura, Rajat, Sarah Jane, how’d it go? Tell me one of you magically wrote a whole novel this week. If you did, I’ll never log in to Twitter again. I know Suz rocked it.

As for me: I wrote a lot, but I don’t think I’ll meet all my goals. Still… it’s a good start to my new writing schedule. Sure, I got a little lonely for a moment there, but I did get tested by the universe and held out to the very end. But in just seven days, I feel like I have no idea what’s happening with my publishing friends or my writing friends or my Cali friends or my Chicago friends or anyone! So, surely, you’ll see me in my usual place on Twitter tomorrow.

And I guess this was all only practice, because I’m planning to be offline for four weeks this April. Please make me strong. If I snail-mail tweets, will someone post them for me? It could be like a post-postmodern art project.

Drowning Out the Voices in My Head

I will no longer be taking calls from the various personalities inside my brain who have been known to say things like “You aren’t good enough, you aren’t fast enough, you don’t deserve it, you won’t make it,” “You think THAT’S a nice sentence?” or the especially dreaded and apropos: “Don’t quit your day job, babe.”

I will listen to the voices who say, “Please make an effort to wear matching clothes today.” Or “Makeup was invented for a reason, dahling.” Or “You cannot eat chocolate pudding for dinner.”

Today I’ve been Twitter-free for five days. You’d think I’d be really on top on things, but I’m behind with blog interviews and I’ll get to them ASAP. Household chores too. The novel just needs lots of attention. There is so much I need to do, I had to make a difficult schedule choice today to keep up the momentum, and I had to turn down a rush freelance job, and I hope those weren’t mistakes. I’m just still getting myself settled and figuring things out. Maybe I’ll be better balanced next week.

Speaking of, to those who received my freak-out emails this week, I’m sorry. I owe you. Freak out to me anytime. And starting next week I will try to limit myself to two—count them, two—freak-out emails a week. If you get one, feel special.

Progress on the writing sans Twitter? These were my goals:

  1. Finish a chapter: DONE!
  2. Write a whole new chapter: aaaaaaalmost done!
  3. Finish two tween pitches: not done yet.

p.s. I would have tweeted this little factoid, but I can’t, so you will have to sit through it being here at the bottom of this post: The New York Public Library is carrying my book! I’ve been secretly checking because I’ve been a library fiend ever since I was a tween. Not only will the NYPL be carrying—or is already carrying—DANI NOIR, there’s a copy on order for my very own local branch! (I owe them $2.50 in fines… do you think they’ll stamp “DEADBEAT” on my book cover so borrowers can see?)

p.p.s. I think my intense writing session, the one that broke my thumb, also may have messed up my mouse pad. It won’t click in the middle. How will I explain this to the Apple Store?

p.p.p.s. I am about to break 50,000 words on my novel. Will there be confetti at this milestone? Will there be balloons?

p.p.p.p.s. I miss Twitter. Can you tell?

The Loneliness

I’ve reached the point in my exile where the loneliness is hovering.

This possibly, probably, also has to do with how I’m not at the office this week either. My emails are slowing down… my life is quieting. If I didn’t see E before I left the apartment this morning, the only word uttered from my mouth today would have been a mumbled “Hi,” when I passed another writer in the kitchen here at my writing spot. The other writer was making coffee; I was putting a yogurt in the fridge; we were both probably thinking of our novels, so there wasn’t much else to say.

I’m still at my writing spot—I’ll be here all day. I’m in a loft full of writers all at their desks writing. No one talks. No one looks. No one waves. I hear clicking sometimes, typing. The door swooshes open, clacks closed. Someone sighs. I sigh.

Really, I’m a very solitary person so the loneliness shouldn’t bother me. But that’s the thing about Twitter and Facebook: you feel connected. Disconnection is something to get used to. And with my whole life unplugged as I write away toward deadline maybe it’s good to keep up a few connections now and then.

All this silence, alone with my thoughts, makes me realize something: Maybe it’s not Twitter that could kill my novel. Maybe it’s my doubts and insecurities—all along, this whole time… it’s been me.

Makes you want to log in to Twitter and distract yourself, right?

Still writing, trying not to stress about health insurance, which dropped a bomb on us yesterday, and which I’m avoiding dealing with by putting off picking up a prescription for a little longer. Writing, I’m supposed to be writing. Just ignore me, I’m writing.

You May Not Want to Hear This

Courtney, I know I’m still “on notice.” You may want to plug your ears…

This week without Twitter has been a MAJOR SUCCESS so far!

Suzanne Young FINISHED HER BOOK TODAY! In awe, Suz, in awe!

I… okay, I didn’t finish a book. Not even close. But I wrote an entire chapter. In one day. (Side note: I am not a fast writer; I am rarely, if ever, able to write that much in one sitting.) (Side note to first side note: I will go back to the chapter and line-edit, rewrite, and play around freely tomorrow, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the base words of an entire chapter exist where before there weren’t any, and it happened in just one day!) (Side note to all future side notes: My thumb hurts from constantly smacking the space bar. Writing takes not just discipline, inspiration, tenacity, confidence, and at least some smidge of talent; it also takes strong thumbs.)

One problem with all this inspired writing is that I am *very behind* with a bunch of things that needed to be done this week… can’t blame Twitter for that though.

So you all know: Of course I’m going back on Twitter and Facebook as soon as I wake up on November 8.  But I want to change the way I use these sites. I want to have balance, to be focused when I’m writing and not click back and forth. I don’t want to annoy all my “friends” by blasting inane updates just because I can. There must be a way to have an online existence and be a writer who reaches her deadlines. There must.

I’m going to go sit on the couch and rest my thumb. It seriously really hurts.

In Which I Distract Myself by (1) Telling You About an Interview and Giveaway, (2) Revealing My Surprising Affection for Jay-Z, and (3) Assuring You I’m Keeping My Clothes on Today

1)

Would you like to win a copy of DANI NOIR, the tween novel I wrote about liars, cheaters, and Rita Hayworth? Check out the interview of me in Joëlle Anthony’s “Wild Card Wednesday” series, where I talk about such things as Go Ask Alice, Paris (France, not Hilton), and the coolest thing to happen to me since selling my first book, which is directly related to a certain someone mentioned on this blog yesterday.

If you comment on Joëlle’s blog or email her through the contact page, you could win a DANI. I’ll even scribble in it (i.e., I will sign it). Check out the interview here. Thanks so much, Joëlle!

(I can’t tweet this till November 8 because I am still in exile. But if you’re on Twitter and want to tweet it for me, thank you!)

2)

Those who know me, or who know my blip.fm station, know I like my songs slow and slightly emo. And this is true. But I also like Jay-Z. Jay-Z isn’t emo at all! Are you shocked?

I have an embarrassing habit. It’s called listening to “Empire State of Mind” over and over and over again even though that song has nothing whatsoever to do with my new novel, and may in fact make me think of my next novel, the one I’m keeping secret for a bit longer, and so I really shouldn’t be distracting myself by listening to it, but I can’t help it. My writing sort of speeds up when I listen to it. I love New York, but you knew that already.

I just really love songs about how wonderful New York City is. I should start a playlist. What else would you add to the list? Comment below, or email me. I’m serious. If we move away from NYC this spring, an I ((heart)) NY playlist is even more imperative.

3)

Yesterday, I went wild. Those scenes were coming out of me faster than I could type them out! I wrote for hours and hours, not having to stop because I didn’t have to go to my day job, not having to stop because all I had to do was write this book, not having to stop because E was out teaching and I could stay at my writing spot as long as I wanted, and it was the most exhilarating, exhausting experience I’ve had in months. The lights went off, and it was dark, and I was typing too fast to even put the lamp on. It was incredible.

I. Love. Writing. This. Novel.

When you love writing something, does it come through in the scenes? When you one day read this book, if you kindly decide to in 2011 when it will hopefully come out, will you be able to tell how much of me has gone into it? The love and desperation and passion and the shoes lost and the meals missed and the hours and hours and hours spent pounding out those pages?

I feel calmer today. No one’s getting naked. But, after yesterday, I’m still catching my breath.

Off to write a new chapter! (And p.s. Still no Twitter or Facebook till November 8.)