Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Writer's Life: My Social Media Blackout

Whew! October is winding down and so is my seclusion from social media, namely Facebook, my addiction.

I went cold turkey. First, teaching myself how to delete my attempt at any response to a post or my post to my status update box. Then, I learned how to read newsfeed and not respond. Finally, training myself not to read or interact, while I communicated with my various Facebook writer groups. This sort of behavior could spell death to an author, such as me, right? Not really.

You see, unless you've made Facebook your one and only way to communicate and promote, you'll be fine with a little social media black out. But, I didn't do this to prove a point. And I certainly didn't do it because I'm anti-Facebook. I wanted to rein in time-wasting elements.

I was cognizant that another year was winding down. I had a long list of goals that were in place from the beginning of the year. Over the months, more projects were added, old goals got pushed aside, and due dates fast approached, causing an ugly bottle neck in October. I couldn't add hours to my day.  I couldn't duplicate me. So I had to look at how I was using my waking hours and make serious adjustments.

Trust me, it was damned difficult to wean myself off Facebook. Everything seemed worthy of a reply, even if it was to agree with the poster. Some days I would come off Facebook in a grumpy mood because of the vibes of the postings that day, when I was fine in my little bubble of happiness before I had signed on. And once I posted my intelligent philosophy on life, not a damn thing changed. I wasn't Gandhi or Mandela inspiring with my witty comments. Yeah, sometimes I could be entertaining. But most times, people don't approach social media to learn and change minds. I can't tell one sticking point that has me go...hmmm, maybe I will switch or convert or see you on the other side of that point.

When I approached Facebook in the first place, it was for promoting me and my work. No one wants to hear me ramble on about my book or harassing them to buy my book. The next step in author marketing was about creating that high like-ability factor, connecting with the readers, etc. That strategy sounds good on paper. It's easy--pop in, say hi, pop out. They've spent $5.99 to buy your book, this is the least you could do. That QUICK pop in, never is quick. Five minutes turn into 15 minutes, into an hour--several times a day.

I'd counter with the fact that I have must-read, and auto buy authors whom I've never met, probably won't ever meet, aren't on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Many of them know their social interaction limitations and make no apology. And frankly, I might be better off for not going after that like-ability factor because we've seen the harsh results at any glimmer of people's true thoughts, political affiliation, (consensual & legal) sexual practices, and on and on. If people knew my real feelings about squirrels, well....

When I published in the 90s, I just wanted to write my stories and send them out into the world. And I have a lot of them. Although I'm a whiz at multi-tasking, writer is only one of several titles in my life. Twelves years later in this career, I refuse to put so much time in creating/writing/editing (and it's long ass hours, trust me), my personal life, and then with rest, sit on social media just to be liked.

I will be on Facebook occasionally. I think a short breath at the end and beginning of each month is sufficient. I'll keep you updated. I'll try to be entertaining and witty. But the remainder of the month, I have to be  fully submerged in my world of creating. My Happy Place.

I started the month with nine projects in various stages of completion.  Five of those projects were completed and moved off my computer or to the next stage.  I still have one more day in the month for the other four--miracles can happen.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month NaNo, where you fast draft a 50K book in a month. I successfully did so last year with a New Adult novel that is in the "to be edited" queue. This time, I'm working on another project under the wing of a publisher. No promises or guarantees to this outcome, but I'm giving it all I've got. November has turned into a good opportunity to follow up with my Facebook blackout. Somehow, Twitter doesn't have same addictive hold on me.

For now,  this works for me. Hope my schedule works for you.

Take care,

Michelle

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Michelle! I haven't figured out how to add more hours to each day either. As writers, Facebook is a big time suck that can be better spent, well, writing.

    Good luck with NaNo! I'm NaNo'n too. :)

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