Like many other writers, I’ve read a lot of blogs that advise us to embrace Social Media sites as if they are life preservers and we are quickly sinking in an Atlantic Ocean hurricane.
Hold on for dear-life, the blogs say, and these blogs are top-notch sites with tons of visitors and comments, so I figure the writers must know a thing or two about marketing and promotion, and of course I should follow their advice.
I’ve been trying to do that, really I have.
I tweet, whenever I can think of something even remotely informative or entertaining to say or when I want to pass along another great writing site I’ve found or an interesting tweet I’ve read; I blog, aiming for at least once a week but sometimes failing miserably when life gets in the way; I pin, anything that strikes me as being new or creative or informative for other ‘pinners’ out there; and I update my status on Facebook, even though not much in my life really changes much since the last time I shared an update.
There are also other sites I belong to that take up my time: Goodreads, Linkedin, Wattpad, and Author’s Den, to name just a few, plus I follow a lot of blogs that I enjoy, and reading and commenting on those blog posts eats up more hours in my day.
Does anyone else out there wonder how much is enough and how much is too much? And how am I supposed to know if what I’m doing is making any difference at all to the ‘Author Platform’ that, according to the ‘experts’, writers need to build?
Yes, I have Twitter followers and yes, I have Pinterest friends that re-pin my entries to their own sites and yes, I am on Facebook every single day of the week and yes, I have blog followers that regularly comment or ‘like’ my posts, but what does all that mean?
Am I gaining any ground or am I actually falling behind because of all the time it takes to nurture these “Little Shop of Horrors” Audrey II clones that continually cry out “Feed me, Seymour.”
How much time is too much to spend on Social Media? It is very easy to lose track of the minutes when I’m browsing and reading online, and minutes quickly turn into hours if I’m not careful. Shouldn’t I devote most of my day to actually working on the novel I started or revising a few of the short stories I have on file rather than updating and browsing and commenting?
I recently read an article from a writer that said he spends one hour a day on social media activity–one hour a day, every day. Sometimes an hour and a half. Heck, I can spend an hour and a half just signing into all the sites to which I belong, let alone updating anything or tweeting anything or pinning anything.
What’s a writer to do?
First of all, take a breath. Take a big, deep breath and relax. Rome wasn’t built in a day, I’ve heard it said (not sure who said it or when, but I know I’ve heard it quoted often). So what if I spend a lot of time connecting with friends, family, and readers online…isn’t that one of the best things about the internet–the fact that, no matter how many miles or how many years separate us we can connect with like-minded individuals? I think it is.
Second, I could use the time in the night when I don’t sleep anyway, (see my post Are You There, Sleep? It’s Me, Sylvia, to read about my ongoing love/hate relationship with the middle of the night), to write.
I actually tried this on Friday night when sleep wouldn’t come to me, and I managed to write over 1500 words for a new novel I’ve started. If I can manage to do this five times a week that’s at least 7500 words a week–at that rate I can have a novella or novel completed in no time!
So that’s my plan. Network, spend time on social media sites that I enjoy anyway, and write whenever I can, even if it’s in the early hours of the morning.
Now I just need to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my front door and record a “Do Not Disturb” message on my phone answering machine for those hours between seven am and one pm when I actually do sleep.
Anyone want to do a voice-over for me on my answering machine? I forgot to mention that now that I’m over fifty my voice has taken on the raspy, old-lady voice that my dear old auntie, aged at least 125, had in her last few years.
I want to discourage people from calling me during certain times of the day–I don’t want to scare them away from EVER phoning! Moderation in all things is the key, I think.
Wish me luck. And don’t be a stranger (except between the hours of seven am and one pm).
How do YOU juggle your precious time? I’d love to hear from you!