by Will Viharo
Merry Christmas! Enjoying your holidays?
Yes? No? Neither?
Either way, if you’re a writer, your brain never rests. You’re always thinking of writing even when you’re not actually doing it.
So after you’ve fulfilled your familial and social obligations, give yourself a present by politely stealing away from the dinner table or political argument or football game or whatever is distracting you, and devote at least a little time to what matters most to you.
Even if you’re on Christmas vacation, your muse isn’t. Or at least, he or she shouldn’t be (and there are ways to make sure your muse remains active, even while you’re not).
In my previous blog, I listed six ways all writers can keep their creative engines warm so they’re ready to take off in the new year, which starts in a week or so, rather than idling around the house, alone or otherwise, wishing they could feel productive.
Try each of these suggestions once a day for the rest of the year, and by 2016, you’ll be ready to rock! Or at least roll out of bed with a head full of ideas along with your hangover.
7. Friend Some Writers On Facebook – the best way to get ahead in this business, like any other business, is networking. Without being a pest, seek out like-minded individuals, at least those hooked up with other fellow writers you actually know, so it’s like you’re at a virtual party and simply introducing yourself. Sure, they may be complete strangers, but so are most people on most people’s so-called “friends” lists. You might as well get to know people with whom you have something in common. That’s how most real friendships are born, anyway. Nine times out of ten, they will invite you to “like” their Facebook Author’s Page, and then you can do the same, and so on.
Oh wait, you don’t have a Facebook Author’s Page? Well, that gives you something to do tomorrow.
8. Create a Facebook Author’s Page – this is something simple you can do on your laptop while you’re sitting on the couch chatting with your holiday guests, since it doesn’t require a lot of concentration or energy to create a fan or community page devoted to All Things You. Make sure to distinguish it from your personal profile page, so people don’t think they’re being hoodwinked into a double whammy of promotions. Even though they are. You can also create fan pages for each of your books, as I’ve done. Building this simple platform will go a long way toward gaining and maintaining a following by increasing your social media presence in the coming year.
9. Follow Some Writers On Twitter–Following someone on Twitter is much less invasive than friending someone on Facebook, since it doesn’t require a personal response, though many times they will follow you back for the same reason you followed them: networking.
10. Engage Your Friends and Relatives in a Lively Literary Discussion – even if they don’t read all the time, they must’ve read at some point in their lives. Since you might be seeing people in your social circles you don’t often get a chance to converse with person to person, maybe ask around: what books have they been reading? What’s their favorite book ever? Have their read your books, and if not, why not? Chances are you’ll be enlightened on what trends you may have missed, or possibly even have your imagination sparked. You might as well take advantage of the company of strangers, especially if they’re related to you. They won’t take offense, because they’re not allowed to. You’re family. And this is a much less contentious topic than sports, weather or politics.
11. Scan the Web and Other Media for Literary Events in Your Area – though most writers prefer a solitary lifestyle and can’t wait to be left totally alone again, you still need to engage in some human contact outside of social media in order to truly feel connected to your literary community at large. While you’re sitting around munching on leftovers in front of the TV, surf online or page through the paper for local live readings, book clubs, and other social gatherings where authors can meet ‘n’ mingle long after your relatives have dispersed and you’re alone with your cat or dog, staring into space, wondering where everybody went...
12. Write a List of New Year’s Resolutions – need some ideas? Well, that’s exactly what my next two-part column will be all about! Until then, keep writing, and remember to call your Mom. Even if she’s just in the other room, waiting for you to come back and join the festivities.
PHOTO: WENDY PIERSALL