In Which I Announce My Plan to Hide From the News Until Head On Is Done

Hey, did you know I’m currently writing a novel? I am! It’s called Head On, and it’s coming out in ten months. Also, it’s not done yet, and the deadline is real soon now. I need to make some real progress on it in the next few weeks or else my editor will give me highly disapproving looks. Which would be no good. My problem is that whenever I make any real progress and take a break to see what’s going on in the news, it looks like this:

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And, well. That’s not great for my focus.

The world is not going to stop being like this anytime in the near future, alas, but I still need to get my work done, and soon.

So: From now until the book is done, my plan is to avoid the news as much as possible, and also, to the extent I do see news, to avoid writing about it in any significant detail. Tweets? Maybe. 1,000+ word posts here? Probably not.

Note that I’m going to fail in avoiding the news entirely — I live in the world, and next week I’ll be at Denver Comic Con, which means that at the very least in the airport CNN is going to come at me, and anyway whichever way the Senate plan to murder the ACA falls out, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna know about it. Be that as it may I’m going to make an effort to keep as much of it out of my brain as possible.

Incidentally, yes, just in case you were wondering, this is confirmation that at least one of your favorite writers — me! — finds it hard to get work done in these days of the world being on fire. “The art of the Trump era is going to be so lit!” people have said. Dudes, when you’re worried about friends losing access to health care and American democracy being dug out from below because the general GOP attitude to the immense corruption and bigotry of the Trump administration is “lol, as long as we get to kick the poor,” just to list two things about 2017, the creative process is harder to get into, and stay inside of. I’m not the only one I know who is dealing with this right now.

But the work still needs to get done — and not just for you folks. I like getting caught up in my work. It feels good when the writing is moving along.

So, again: News break.

This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer Whatever posts over the next few weeks, since I’ll have July Big Idea pieces and other posts in the pipeline. It does mean the posts that show up probably won’t touch much on world/national news or politics.

I mean, I hope they won’t. But I also know this is a thing, especially with me:

So. I will try to be strong.

Also, when the book is done, oh, how I shall opine.

In the meantime, I don’t suspect you will have difficulty finding other opinions on news and political events. It’s called “the Internet.” You may have heard of it.

29 Comments on “In Which I Announce My Plan to Hide From the News Until Head On Is Done”

  1. They let you have a cover before you finish the book? Man! It’s like you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

    (Extremely curious now how done John Green’s available for pre-order book actually is. Surely it is in page proofs or even printed right now…)

  2. Nicoleandmaggie:

    The covers to my books are almost always done before the book is, and in at least one case (The Ghost Brigades) the cover art inspired a key location and scene in the book.

  3. You mentioned something about a ten-month timeline for your novel. How much of that is writing vs editing? Is it an even split (you spend five months writing, your editor spends five months editing), or something different? Does it vary with each work?

  4. As a research scientist and progressive, I’ve had to limit my exposure to the news. Being upset about the country going to hell in a hand basket, I can’t think enough about science, which is worth thinking about. But for a break at lunch, I read novels instead of the news. As an avid mystery fan, I am very much looking forward to Head On, because Lock In was good!

  5. Dude! You totally made my day! I now have added Emily’s Cartoons to my Feedly!
    Many humble thanks

  6. We’ll keep the lights on for you. We’ll be hiding behind a big rock…but we’ll keep the lights on. Probably.

  7. Just got around to reading Lock In. I am really eager for the sequel!

  8. Although I have been following your blog (and thoroughly enjoyed it) for nearly a year, I only recently read one of your books. (sorry) I started with Old Man’s War and finished it in two days. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately got The Ghost Brigades and read it in a day and a half. Looking forward to making my way through the rest of your catalog.

    I will miss your political commentary but will look forward to reading more of it when your current book is finished. :-)

  9. After you finish your new novel, I think I speak for more than one person here when I request a favor.
    Invite those lovely salt of the earth neighbors over for dinner. You know the ones that are great people but voted for ” the Donald” . Feed them a great meal. ply them with just enough wine or beer. and have good conversation in a casual setting and at some point ask them how their feelings about our president have evolved. I really am interested in this. What is their biggest issue , biggest worry.
    I ask this because I really am fascinated to get a sense of when the pro trump demographic begins to waver and what does it. Ill even send two bottles of wine for all of you to enjoy.
    By the way. Lock In : Incredible ” big idea” just loved it and someone will make an incredible movie out of it.

    Eric in Austin

  10. Wishing you all the best. Your writing and your family come first. Of course. Here’s to lots more cat and dog and sunset pix.

  11. NicoleAndMaggie,
    Not only that, I’ve had the experience of an editor applying pressure to edit and rewrite to make the book fit the cover (and the marketing campaign in general).

    Books, I’m afraid, have been moving over into that category with sausage, legislation, forecasts, and electoral democracy with respect to liking them versus seeing where they come from.

  12. I heartily endorse whatever action you need to take to preserve your focus on Head On. I love – LOVE – your nonfiction commentary on your blog, but Head On is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since I raced through Lock In three years ago. So I am entirely in favor of your decision to keep your editor happy by finishing it on schedule, even if that means losing the opportunity to read your biting commentary on Whatever.

    Just in general terms, purely for sanity’s sake, I think all of us need to prescribe ourselves occasional breaks from watching the GOP attempting to kill off all nonwhite and/or non-rich residents of the US to further enrich themselves. Yes, we need to be outraged, and yes, we need to fight back – but it’s next to impossible to accomplish anything constructive when one is exhausted. So breaks are wise and healthy, and they’ll make it possible for us all to keep on fighting back.

    Enjoy the writing, sir, and we’ll be here when you’re done.

  13. I really look forward to your books. They’re a few hours of blissful escapism from a world tearing itself apart!

  14. My, God, highly disapproving looks! That will graduate into the steely stare, and then the censorious glare, and after that there’s no telling where it will end.

  15. It’s even worse for government contractors whose jobs are directly affected by pending legislation, because we have to have an awareness of what MIGHT happen (in order to contingency-plan for it) as well as do all of the stuff required to maintain and improve the CURRENT program.

    Yesterday, when the Senate bill came out, we had a feature release. STOP THE INSANITY.

  16. What is this “internet” thing you mention? You state that it contains news AND opinions!?!? I will have to jot down a reminder in my diary to go check on that…

  17. You have, in Chris, someone who can do things that a lot of others, some moreso than others, cannot do. Tell us some more.

  18. I’m with you on that. I’m trying not to let the news consume me. It so hard not pay attention when the blundering idiot is tearing down so many things that are good about our country. But on a lighter note, Old man’s war is a great way to distract me from it.

  19. Fortunately, John is in a position to help sick friends a lot, but we can all help a little. It occurred to me that, if a friend or relative with a McJob (or two), needs, for example, a $100 prescription, if 10 people kick in $10 apiece, there it is. I’ve begun to set aside $5 or $10 a week for this sort of thing. I don’t think the AHCA , or anything else, will pass because Congress is so dysfunctional. They can’t even do something as basic as pass a budget. However, if I’m wrong, I want to be ready to help as much as I can.

  20. MikeM, your comment reminds me of a political cartoon I liked some years ago. A blizzard of leaflets fills the air. On the ground, soldiers of whoever was the foreign policy bete noire at the time run for cover, screaming “Aieee! More strongly worded messages!”

  21. Thank you so much for saying this! I’m a writer too, and I’ve mostly spent the time since November with my head in the sand – because politics. When I’ve surfaced I become a raging, foaming at the mouth, screaming lunatic who can’t stop talking about the mess the Republicans have gotten us into. I haven’t found a way to stand in the middle ground, and I’m nowhere near as articulate about politics as you are. So, I’m going back to putting my head in the sand and writing, ironically about a planet where a hostile takeover is in progress. Which is what this country had felt like since the day after the election.

  22. “So. I will try to be strong.”

    Prayers and Thoughts, John. Prayers and Thoughts.

    In the meantime, may the chirographic momentum be with you!

  23. Hi John: If it’s not too stressful, would you consider posting about your progress-towards-done on the current novel? I always like your word count posts. They inspire me to concentrate on my work as well.

  24. I just finished reading “Lock In” (and I enjoyed it very much). Good luck on writing the sequel–I am looking forward to it. I recently ignored the news for a week to do some work, and it was immensely helpful (though I felt like I was always seeing something creeping up on me out the corner of my eyes).

  25. (After glancing at John’s twitter feed the day after this announcement.)

    John, would you like us to nag you a bit it looks like you may be having trouble with your plans for hiding? I mean, I really enjoy your political posts, but I do like your books even more, and I don’t want you to get in trouble with editors…