Welcome back and happy 4th of July to all! I appreciate everyone checking in. :0)
Since launching my website last month, my education about the world of digital presence has been a whirlwind experience. (Although a tornado would be a better analogy….)
As a writer it’s important to maintain your attendance in the electronic universe, even when that inevitably means permanent residence in the online worlds of Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon,—*suck in breath*—Barnes and Noble (to check book sales/reviews) and Blogger. Summed up, the consistency of updates to your social media is vital. It’s required to keep the world in touch with you and vice versa.
In writing and scheduling terms, all that upkeep can become overwhelming very quickly. An awesome author and fellow Maryland Romance Writer, Eliza Knight, gave a workshop on this topic recently which included the best advice. Eliza suggests scheduling the draft of one blog weekly into your slotted writing time, that way your blog is ready to post on the same day and time consecutively. This makes the writing for your blog separate from the time spent writing for publication, but it's all still you. She also advises that you allot a set amount of time, usually 30 minutes, to make the posts, check out current events and have the wherewithal to kick yourself back to what’s most important – the writing. The sad but true fact is that no one can read your published works if they never come to be because you blew all of your drafting time on Facebook.
And as Ralph Waldo Emerson wisely once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Or in more modern speak we can say, “Wherever your friend just checked in and whatever your friend just ‘liked’ are small things compared to what you’re supposed to be working on, right now.”
I’ve heard this verified by many authors, that procrastination lead by distraction is the biggest pitfall for a writer. The greatest quote I’ve read that reinforces this notion is under my critique partner, Sarah Allan's info tab on her Facebook page:
“Being a good writer is 3% talent and 97% not being distracted by the internet.” ~Anonymous
Everyone knows how it is. You log on and the next time you glance at the clock it’s 3 hours later. Not good.
It’s too unnervingly easy to start checking all of your social network news only to let valuable time get sucked away by activities that serve you but aren’t the activity that makes you.
So, wow, I need to go out and buy an egg timer that won’t ever be used for baking. One with a really obnoxious tone.
The concept reminds me a lot of the nights studying when I was in college. It’s proven that humans tend to remember what they memorized first and last when reading, so breaking your study times into 20-minute intervals helps you retain information better.
For me, I was pretty punch-drunk from working full-time where I really needed a carrot-dangling-from-a-stick incentive, and so I’d give myself 15 minute breaks periodically to keep motivated. I remember that I could do whatever I wanted during the 15 minutes: read a magazine, watch TV or eat junk food. I just had to be sure that I got back to work when the ding of the time-clock indicated that my period of rest was over.
And it's good to keep in mind that while all the social sites are promotion for you, they are still “fun places.” Sorry voice of justification in my head, Facebook is not work. Writing is the work.
And Facebook withdrawal is like trying to give up chocolate, smoking and quitting caffeine all at once. It kind of hurts worse when you’ve indulged in large quantities of it previously. I may have to wean off slowly to avoid irritability and erratic behavior. There is probably a market for t-shirts that read, “I’m quitting *fill in social network here*, please keep a safe distance.”
But I will do what I must to make my manuscript and my stories the priority.
And following Eliza’s system, I have a scheduled time each week to write a new blog as well as 30 minutes each day to swim a few laps in my social networks (and not die from internet isolation).
And so with this, my beloved little corner of cyber-space, I have stated my intentions. I’ve established Facebook SNG and Twitter SNG. Now I have the great pleasure of being Blogger SNG.
The goal is to update every Sunday afternoon and everyone is welcome to check out the weekly reflections of my life as an aspiring writer.
It’s going to be tough but I promise to do my best. That is, if I can stay off Facebook of course. :0P