When I first embarked on my writing career, writing time meant literally that -- time spent at the computer, or with paper and a writing implement, putting words on the page. The Internet was in its infancy. There was no blogging or social media. Writing meant physically placing oneself into a chair (there were no treadmill desks either) and putting stories on the page or the screen.
Now, nearly 25 years later, I think it's fair to say that this is still the most important part of a writer's job. Clearly, it's the defining part of a writer's job.
What it isn't, however, is the only part of a writer's job.
I'm not complaining. I happen to like the Internet, blogging and social media. In fact, I prefer all of them to what is arguably a writer's second most important task: editing. I enjoy exercising my creative muscles doing things like making graphics, pinning ideas and trying to fit fun and meaningful thoughts into 140 characters.
It's a good thing, too, because, for better or for worse, these activities are no longer considered optional for those who wish to embark on or maintain a writing career. Whether we publish independently or traditionally, whether we represent ourselves or have agents to do the heavy lifting, authors are expected to help spread the word about the things we write.
The fact that I like doing this stuff makes me one of the lucky ones. I truly enjoy interacting with my readers online and offline, with other writers in cafes and at conferences and with wannabe writers, well, almost anywhere, which is exactly where I tend to find them. All of these things create a sense of community and reduce the loneliness inherent in a job where your best work gets done when you're alone.
This week, I've been playing with my blog (you might have noticed a change in the background). Look for a bit more tweaking over the next few weeks as I get it to just where I want it to be. I've also created a header to use when I share these posts on Twitter and I'm preparing for a Facebook party next week, creating a script of sorts, making graphics and putting together prizes.
If you fit into any of the categories above (reader, writer, wannabe writer), or if you're just curious, I hope you'll stop by. Last year's Christmas in July Facebook Party centered on Chasing a Second Chance, which had come out eight months earlier. Since I have no new book (yet), my Second Annual Christmas in July Facebook Party will have a different focus, but I can still promise conversation, games, a character Q & A and prizes, but no hard sell. Christmas, whether celebrated in July or December, isn't supposed to be about selling stuff. And parties are supposed to be about talking to people, not whipping out our checkbooks.
So, if you happen to be free on Tuesday, July 25 from 3-6 pm (EST), I hope you'll stop by. That way, you can find out a little bit about what I do when I'm not writing.