It’s wonderful to be writing again after my daily commitment was severely interrupted by launching and marketing Freefall: A Divine Comedy. Most people don’t realize how much effort is involved in publishing a book. It isn’t just the months of finetuning the manuscript before publication that are involved. It’s also all of the activities that happen after it’s been published.
Even if an author is published by a traditional press, most publishers no longer offer much in the way of marketing support. So I had to set up the book launch and send out announcements to everyone on my mailing list as well as to people participating in my social media world. I also sent out emails to a zillion newspapers and other publications, inviting them to review my novel and to interview me. In addition, I hired someone to create a blog tour that involved fifteen different sites. I also needed to keep my own blog going and send emails to other bloggers, asking them to review Freefall and/or interview me. And this is only a brief summary of all that goes into the continuing marketing needed to attract new readers!
I did manage to continue my writing routine during this time, but there were days when I couldn’t. I felt hollow then, as if something vital were missing from my daily diet. What is it about writing that is so necessary for me and I’m sure for other writers?
When I sit down at my computer, or in front of a sheet of paper, another world opens up to me. It’s not unlike what I experience at night before I fall asleep. The word “fall” seems key here: during those hours, we descend into the unconscious, into another level from our surface life. While the brain may be cranking out a conglomeration of images we’ve collected throughout the day, I don’t believe that’s all we’re doing when we sleep. I think dreams are more mysterious than that explanation implies.
How do you explain the imagination and all it encompasses? How do you constrain it by rationally trying to identify its source, its ability to help us soar on the back of words and create new configurations that end up being stories or poems? You don’t. If you’re a writer, you wed memory, words, and imagination in a marriage that always surprises. And that’s what I missed during those dry days when I didn’t have access to that realm. I’m happy to be back.