Do You Need a Social Media Intervention?

It’s drilled into us by the Publishing Powers That Be: platform, platform, platform.

Embrace Social Media. Blog. Get on twitter. Engage. Network. Connect. Start early, think ahead, get a platform in place before the deal.

And because we want to give ourselves the best chance of being noticed, we do it. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and more. We participate in blog hops, help promo new books, run contests, join writing list-serves and organizations, post on forums, interact through writing support circles and groups. We host giveaways, we retweet, we #FF & #MM, we review books and we critique. We learn about SEO and back-linking and stress about Klout scores. We Follow. We Like. We+1. After all, this is what we were told to do, right?

For writers, putting time and energy into an online presence is the new norm. Time, hard work and luck all factor in on how successful a platform becomes. And some writers are very successful at building their platform. That's good...right? Yes, absolutely. Well, you know, except for the but.

Hold it...there's a  BUT in this scenario? Yes, and here it is:
  
Sometimes instead driving your platform, your platform drives you.

A great platform is every writer’s end game...but the cold, hard fact is that it comes at a price: TIME. It takes a lot of time to manage a successful online presence.

When it starts to chew up too much, we get hit with a fish-slap of reality: there's no time to read. The research we need to do for our WIP is always on the back burner. Our family rarely sees us without a laptop or wireless device in our hand. And, the death blow? We're spending all our time blogging and networking instead of writing.

Eventually, a writer in this situation will become fed up, especially if they aren't seeing dividends as a result of platform building (an agent's attention, the editor's interest, the deal to celebrate). They begin to resent their blogs, or twitter, or whatever else is murdering their writing time. They also may resent those who preach that writers ‘must have’ a platform. Social Media Fatigue sets in, and as the pressure to keep everything going builds, a writer flirts with the idea of just...walking...away.

Running yourself ragged is not the solution. Quitting a platform you worked so hard to build is not the solution. Change is. So if you are finding all your time is spent trying to gain online visibility instead of writing, you need a SOCIAL MEDIA INTERVENTION.

Consider this your therapy session.

Experiencing Social Media Fatigue? Look at what you’re doing for platform and what is draining your passion and time. What avenues can you cut back on? What can you do more efficiently? Here are some common TIME EATERS and POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:

SYMPTOM: Blogging Burn Out
Blogging can be a big chore if you aren't into it. Do you struggle to come up with topics? Are you always writing posts? Do you like blogging but it takes up too much of your time?

CURE:
--Blog less. Cut back on your blogging schedule.
--Join forces. Bring someone else into the blog or approach others to Guest Post.
--Broaden your subject matter. Think about what you like, what you're passionate about. Incorporate this into your blog. If you're sharing something you enjoy, it doesn't feel  like work. Blogs don't have to have only one topic or focus.
--You don't have to blog. There is no Blogger Mafia. There will be no horse's head lying on your pillow. If blogging isn't your thing, put your energy into what is. :) 

SYMPTOM: Google Reader Meltdown
Do you look at your Google reader and swell up into a hive-induced balloon? Does the sheer number of blogs you feel you should visit doom you to cutting hours from your writing time? Are you afraid people will hate you if you don't stay on top of their blogs?

CURE: 
 Repeat these words: I can't visit everyone and that's okay. Give yourself permission to only visit a few posts from your reader, not all of them. If you have regulars, make it your goal to visit them once a week (or two if necessary), not every post they put up. Bloggers who are truly supportive will understand if you pop in a little less often--they are likely in the same boat. Writing needs to be your priority.

SYMPTOM: Email Freeze
Do you dread opening your email box each morning? Do you have dozens of newsletters, blog subscriptions, pings from Goodreads to join book tours and contests? Do you find yourself stopping writing to view mail as it comes in? Does that quick check turn into an hour of responding to messages?

CURE:
--If you don't read it, unsubscribe. We often subscribe to things--newsletters, alerts, blogs. If you don't have time to read it and just end up hitting delete, get rid of it.
--Put email on a time limit. Give yourself a set time for email, stick to it, then shut your mail off so you can write. If you don't get pings with each email, you won't feel tempted to click over every five minutes. Email watching is self-sabotage. Allow yourself an email break as a reward for a set amount of words written or time spent on task.

SYMPTOM: Comment Mania
Do you spend hours commenting on blogs? Or do you barely skim posts and then dash out something generic just to show that you were there? Are you spending too much time responding personally to each comment on your own blog?

CURE:
--Realize it is okay of you cut back on commenting. At some point in time, everyone will need to do this. Bloggers worry if they don't comment as much, readers won't visit their blog. The truth is, if the content is strong, readers will come. Focus your energy on content that meets your readers' needs--this is why they visit.
--Show your support of blog friends in other ways. Sharing posts by tweeting, FB, Google+ etc helps to spread awareness of their blog. Trust me, they will appreciate the shout out!
--Be respectful. If you don't have time to write a genuine comment, move on. Don't just post a 'thanks for the post' comment just for the sake of it--always mean what you say.
--Think group over individual. If responding to every one's blog comments on your post is stealing too much time, comment once on the post, addressing everyone as a group. The personal touch is nice, but only if you have time. Again, it's my experience that people are understanding that you won't always be able to respond individually all the time. 

SYMPTOM: Twitter Overload
Are you overwhelmed by the sheer amount of twitter posts flying through your stream? Do you find it hard to interact with everyone who interacts with you? Are you worried some one's feelings will be hurt of you don't #FF them? Do you obsess over followers and lists?

CURE:
--Stop worrying. Twitter is supposed to be fun and interactive. Interact as much as you like, with the people  you like. If someone @'s your name with something specific, respond (unless it's spam). Remember it's up to you how much to get involved and with whom.
--Install Tweetdeck. If you have too many people to keep track of and you don't want to cut down on your following, start making lists of the people you want to keep tabs of. Assign columns to these folks and scroll through them from time to time to see their latest tweets.
--Only #FF if you want to. It isn't a must to do all the mentions and shout outs if you don't want to. Do it once in a while, or not at all. It's up to you!
--Let your twitter following grow organically. I know there are all kinds of strategies to get a bazillion followers...but do you really NEED a bazillion followers? And if you don't have the time to interact with them or provide useful content in your tweets, do you think they'll stick around?
--For a place to start, find the #MyWANA hashtag. If you find Twitter overwhelming and don't quite know who to connect with, #MyWANA is full of great people.
--Limit Twitter. With constant links and conversations streaming in the viewer, it's easy to stay on Twitter far to long. Decide how much time to spend before clicking on your account. Stick to it.

SYMPTOM: Facebook or Google+ Addiction
Are you on FB or Google+ all the time, liking and commenting and +1 ing, or playing Scrabble and Zombie vs Plants and Castleville and Words with Friends, etc etc?

CURE: 
--Visit less often. These places can be great fun, but they are also a huge black hole to get lost in. If you need to start your day with a coffee, make this your FB & G+ time. When the coffee is gone, shut it down and get to work. Only come back on when you're done writing for the day.

SYMPTOM: The Social Networking Death Spiral
Are you currently dividing your time between all major Social Networking platforms because that's what 'everyone says' writers should do? Do you find that because you divvy up your time between a blog, twitter, FB, Google+ Tumblr and others, none of them are getting enough attention to really be useful?

CURE: 
--You are the boss. Do the Social Networking Medium(s) that appeal to you, not everyone else. To quote your mother, if your peers told you to jump off a bridge, would you do that too?
--Less is MORE. It's better to choose one medium and excel at it than try to juggle several and only do a so-so job. Again, it comes down to passion! If you enjoy something, it isn't work. Don't waste time trying to be everywhere...concentrate on the place or places you feel comfortable with and have time for.
--Drop the Hot Potato. You remember the kids' game right? Well this time, instead of trying to juggle that spud, let it go. If you are involved in a type of social networking but find it isn't really you, ditch it. Focus on creating your platform in areas that play to your strengths and interests.

Platform is a good thing, but only if you can use it. If you spend all your time building it but have no product that will benefit from it...what's the point? Always, always put your writing first. 

Those of you who know me, know I juggle a lot. I am on many SN platforms, using these to bring great writing content to the community when I find it, and to connect with the people who make this industry great--you! I have been faced with overload at different stages, and I am still doing my best to maintain a balance. I have had to do many of the things listed here and continually keep tabs on when to slow down. This blog especially takes a lot of time and energy and without Becca, I wouldn't be able to do it. But I love learning new things and sharing what I know, so I have a huge passion for The Bookshelf Muse, and this keeps me going. Find your balance and the platform will come. :)

Do you need to scale back, or have you already? What strategies worked best for you to achieve a better balance between Platform Building and Writing? 

68 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I admit it. I suffer from some of these malladies. Great advice. I need to remember I can't visit every blog I follow. It would cause a lot of wasted writing time during the day.

Becca Puglisi said...

You know, I'm always a little stressed because I feel like I'm NOT social networking enough. Reminders like these encourage me to not over complicate and keep things manageable. Thanks, Ange!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thank you, thank you. Because I really suffer from this and I'm not even on Twitter yet. Which I'm contemplating starting soon. I really needed your help to cut down.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've noticed a lot of bloggers are suffering from blogging fatigue these days. Not me. But that's because I'm not spreading myself too thin with Twitter (occasionally use it) and Facebook (I don't even use it). And I haven't jumped onto the other forms of social media.

Awesome post, Angela. Writers need to remember that the writing comes first. Agents and editors aren't interested in you if you don't have the book finished and edited, no matter how awesome your blog, tweets, etc are.

Laura Pauling said...

Natalie cracked me up with her comment that she experiences this and she's not even on twitter. I definitely read way more blogs than I comment on. I wish those bloggers knew I was there! I'm reading you!

For me the desire to scale back that I've been experiencing recently is not due to fatigue. I really enjoy blogging. But it's never become so apparent than with the decision to self publish that yes platform is important and web presence is important but unless you are a super blogger, I'm talking thousands of readers, then the writing is way more important!

Super post!

JeffO said...

Great post, great advice. I blog. I have a personal facebook page that I never post on (last status change was October), and I rarely comment on anyone else. I feel the pressure to tweet, etc., but I honestly have no desire to get into that. I spend enough time as it is on the blogs, either trying to get my next post just exactly right, or reading the others that I follow (and getting sucked down the rabbit hole of blogs the people I follow, follow). Agents and editors may not like to hear it, but I have to do what's right for me. And most of that stuff just isn't for me.

Yes, I'm doomed.

Sarah said...

This is an extraordinarily useful and awesome post. I am determined to keep this balance, and one of the ways I'm doing it is by not spreading myself across too many different modalities. I do Twitter (in great moderation), and I blog. I can't do everything, so Tumblr and Facebook/Google+ just are not on my to-do list right now. They might be at some point, but something else will have to be curtailed if they are.

Ava Jae said...

Wonderful post with a great point. I had to scale back with Twitter, but only because I was spending waytoo much time tweeting when I first got my account. Now I pop in less often, but I still make a point of trying to answer my @ replies and RTing anything I find interesting. Buffer and Hootsuite are incredibly helpful.

In the end, the best things writers can do for their platform is focus on what's important and write.

SA Larsenッ said...

You summed me up in a nutshell.

I've recently broadened my blogging topics and am about to put out a call for guest posters. Want to be one?

When burnout drapes me like an old wet blanket, I step back and breath, even if only for a few days. We all are human and life going on all around us. As always, balance is the key.

Kendall said...

Wonderful advice! I recently took a break from it all (about a month) but since I've come back, I've found myself back into my old routine (instead of making it fun).

This was just the perspective I needed! Thanks!

Matthew MacNish said...

Thank goodness I'm not as addicted to Twitter as other social media. I don't know what I'd do. And I'm getting pretty turned off by Google + lately too. I mean it was so cool at first, but now I'm getting absolutely inundated by random strangers adding me to their circles. I mean it's not that big of a deal, but it just doesn't make any sense.

Christie Wright Wild said...

I've heard a lot of this advice before, but never all in one place. My Facebook and Google+ are more for family and friends, not writing platform. I love twitter and have a blog. I have occasionally posted less frequently on my blog. I don't even visit my Google Reader anymore, but I try to visit a few blogs (from links on my own) a week. Thanks for sharing. You never know, I may have to return in the future.

Clarissa Draper said...

Awesome, awesome post!

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Yes, AWESOME POST...I suffer from plugging away but still feeling like I'm not doing enough. I've decided to put time limits on the social media, so I can put my writing first again.

ali cross said...

This is a fun and awesome post. You guys rock! Thank you reminding me what sanity looks like.

Angela Ackerman said...

I have to admit, writing this post was a huge stress relief for me as well. As writers looking to publish, we are expected to juggle a lot. But as much as we hear platform is essential, writing MUST come first. There isn't an agent or editor out there who would disagree.

With so many different Social Media outlets around, it can feel like we must do them all. But really, this is not the case and we need to resist taking on more than we can handle.

I have had to make many adaptations. I still am adapting to maintain a balance. With a following like ours, it is impossible to keep up. I have many blogs in my reader that I vistit--both followers and ones that belong to people who almost never comment here. This doesn't bother me. I visit for the content, not in hopes they will return here. Once upon a time I did think that way, but not any more.

Also, with a large following, the responsibility to continue to have strong output becomes even more critical. People come here with high expectations. We put a ton of effort into each post, including this one. I will always choose helpful content over socializing--always. The needs of our audience have to come first. That's why we created The Bookshelf Muse.

Like Laura, I visit a lot of blogs and don't always comment. Maybe the blog owners don't know I was there, but I still feel good about visiting when I can and I enjoy their content and learning new things. I also touch base with many of these folks through other mediums like twitter, etc.

Bottom line, I hope no one feels shortchanged if I do not comment on their posts each and every time, but I have chosen a way to be able to keep providing strong content and give back when and how I can. And always, I have to make room for writing. I hope everyone else will do the same, even if it means that one of the blogs they do not comment on as much is this one.

I love your visits, and I appreciate all your support be it comments, tweets, referrals or links. But it's okay to lurk too! :) Do only as much as you can. Knowing that this blog is helping you in some small way is a reward in itself. :)

Happy writing!

Angela Ackerman said...

Jeff, I want you especially to know that you aren't doomed! The fact that you do what you can and focus on your writing is a good thing, not a bad one. :)

When the whole Social Media explosion happened, I was all in. Eventually though, I ended up with all platform, no product. This is never how a writer should end up. Knowing what your limits are puts you ahead of the game. :)

SA Larson, Becca or I am always happy to guest post when time allows. :)

Great discussion everyone! Keep your thoughts coming on this topic. It's so important to talk about, and something you are doing to find balance might help someone else who is struggling. :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great post! It's so easy to get sucked in and then get no writing done. I have a certain amount of time that I allot to blog commenting and that's it. I stop once the timer dings. Otherwise I'd be reading and commenting on blogs all day! It's better to focus on a few sites than be stretched too thin.

Christina Lee said...

This.was.EXCELLENT!!!! Off to TWEET it now (bwahahaha, b/c I'm addicted)! But really, I've cut back on Blogging (such a relief) and tweeting, and don't have tons of friends on FB, b/c i use it mostly to keep up with family!

How much do I owe ya for the session? :D

Arlee Bird said...

When you start talking juggling, I'm on board. Whew, you said a lot here and I know what you're saying. I've already started doing a lot of these things and have been trying to do or at least thinking about the others.

I like the blogging part and since it's still writing, I can manage that part okay. It pains me to cut back on commenting, but there is only so much time and commenting can take a lot of that time, not to mention actually reading the posts.

It is, as you indicate, a big juggling act, but even when you're actually a juggler like I am, it's still difficult to keep it all going smoothly without dropping something now and then.


Lee
Wrote By Rote

Lisa Gail Green said...

This is brilliant! Seriously. Does it negate the point if I go tweet about it now?? LOL! ;D

Mirka Breen said...

*Fantastic* post.
This is where my line is drawn: nothing can take away from the real thing, the main event, the true kit ‘n caboodle, the center itself: WRITING FICTION.
The rest is the swirly stirring around. But writing time and energy cannot be compromised, or we are stirring a thin soup. .

Anne K. Albert said...

Great advice, and yet, I just became a follower to your blog and that puts me at more than 300...is it too late for an intervention?!

Just kidding. Good advice is good advice, and time well spent.

I realized late in 2011 I needed to change. After more than a year of social media frenzy, my writing now comes first.

SHANNON O'DONNELL said...

I have been feeling a bit of the burnout lately, and my writing has suffered. This is SUCH a great and meaningful post!! :-)

Marsha Sigman said...

This was an awesome post. Perfect timing too. I think a lot of us are stressing on this subject right now.

Susan R. Mills said...

I LOVE this post! I can relate to it on so many levels. Thanks for the tips.

Turndog Millionaire said...

Ha oh how true it is you can lost in the Social Media world. My world is still very small but i'm weary of growth because it will bring its own downfalls

Like you say, you need to prioritise and stay within your limits. Stay relevant and do what you do really really well

Quality over quantity. That's what they say, right???

Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

Becca Puglisi said...

At the SCBWI conference I just attended, one of the editors mentioned FREEDOM, which I guess is a free program you can download that turns off your internet for a specified period of time. I haven't used it, but it sounds like an effective tool for people who want a dedicated social-networking-free writing time.

GRACE PETERSON said...

I'm still trying to figure out how to clone myself. Until then I'll have to learn to balance it all. Great post.

Patti said...

I think that doing it all can be too much, especially with a family, a job and a life outside of writing. I've chosen to focus on one thing (blogging). I've attempted twitter and Facebook, but just can't keep up with it. Know you're limits and figure out what you enjoy the most.

I'm hesitant to say great post, but great post.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm not in need of an intervention, but only because I hit the wall before this post came out! And did much of what you suggested - cut back on blogging, target my social media time. I turn everything OFF when I'm writing, and that's much more effective. I have precisely 15 minutes to cruise twitter and blog posts, and I've been meaning to read this one since this morning! There's only so much time... and that's ok!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You're right. Sometimes we simply demand too much of ourselves and try to do it all, all, all. But we can't. Time to give ourselves permission to relax expectations. The more we try to do it all, the less we'll enjoy it.

Missy Welsh said...

THANK YOU! I'm going to go write now and know I'm not screwing anything up because I'm writing instead of "socializing".

Deb Marshall said...

OMG! Some rockin' good advice! Thanks!

SP Sipal said...

You've obviously struck a chord with this post, Angela. Your advice is so on target as well. I know I'm not the only one needing to remind myself of your excellent points. Thank you!
-- Susan

Renee said...

Thank you for saying it's okay to get tired. Sometimes, it's okay to be quiet and regroup. This was perfect!

Kelly Polark said...

Excellent post, Angela.
I did have a little bit of blog burnout so I decided to just post less. But then I started a new blog. Doh! But I like how my new blog is different and caters to different people too.

I am very addicted to Twitter now. Must. Set. Timer. (great idea and I love that you listed so many great solutions!)

Sophia Chang said...

I REALLY needed this. I read just your title and said, "Yes." Like out loud.

And now I should get off my reader and actually write.

Dee White said...

Thanks for this fabulous post.

I thought you must have been peering through my study window when you wrote it lol.

Today, I came to this conclusion myself...that the world won't stop if I forget to congratulate someone on Facebook or retweet their twitter link or go a week without blogging.

Thanks for helping put things in perspective. Today I made the commitment - writing comes first and I fit the other stuff around it:)

tracikenworth said...

I've cut back on the different social media to only following some every other day and others not at all. I do blog twice a week, 3 if there's a muse session from the yaff ladies, but so far that's working well. I try and keep my blogs short and don't stress over them.I understand that you can't visit every blog you want to, it's really hard to pick and choose. Sometimes you hit a winner, and sometimes a dud. And I don't think platform is the "end all" of things. I think it's what it's always been: the word of mouth about your books.

tracikenworth said...

I've cut back on the different social media to only following some every other day and others not at all. I do blog twice a week, 3 if there's a muse session from the yaff ladies, but so far that's working well. I try and keep my blogs short and don't stress over them.I understand that you can't visit every blog you want to, it's really hard to pick and choose. Sometimes you hit a winner, and sometimes a dud. And I don't think platform is the "end all" of things. I think it's what it's always been: the word of mouth about your books.

Melanie Crouse said...

I really needed this! I have a suggestion for the burnt our bloggers out there.

I started blogging a little over a year ago, and really wore myself out trying to come up with 5 brilliant posts every single week. The best "platforming" move I ever made was when I joined up with 5 other writers and we each take turns writing one post a week. The quality of my blogging increased, we get the benefit of our combined readership to grow our blog, and I get inspired by my fellow bloggers every day. It might not work for everybody, but it definitely works for us!

http://theprosers.blogspot.com/

Angela Ackerman said...

I am completely overjoyed that this post has hit the mark with so many. I don't think any of us need apologize for blogging less, or tweeting less, or emailing less for the sake of writing or family. I am so proud of all of you for stepping back and taking stock!

In this business, it is easy to feel like we are failures, or that we are letting other people down if we do scale back or do a little less. We shouldn't feel this way.

This choice of career should be a happy one, and our choices within it have to always take us closer to goals and satisfaction, not burnout. :)

I do apologize for the length of this post--I try hard not to create overlong posts, but I wanted to make sure I looked at all the big social media platforms so writers only had to come back to one post if they needed this info now and down the road.

Becca's mention of social tools that cut you off from the internet or social media for a set period time is another way to help willpower when it needs a boost! I found this article that lists out a bunch of amazing tools that will help writers be more productive or even get a visual of how much time is spent where: http://the99percent.com/articles/6969/10-Online-Tools-for-Better-Attention-Focus

Thanks again for all the comments and for sharing what worked for you.

Angela

Stacy Green said...

So far I've not experienced the fatigue. My blogging days are set, and I'm able to pop in and out of Twitter when I want. My frustrations come from figuring out if I'm doing the right things. I'd like to see the blog grow more, and I'd like to master Goodreads. I actually just did a blog post about trying to figure out what works. I'd like to reach out past my blogosphere so to speak, and find potential readers that aren't writers. That's what I'm struggling with now.

Great post, Angela!

Annie said...

Excellent post. I fall pray to the fictional "Blogging Mafia" a lot. It's not like I have a huge readership, but it still feels like I owe it to the online world to post regularly. Who cares?! There's no blogging mafia!

catherinemjohnson said...

Fantastic post Angela! I have cancelled a lot of my google reader subscriptions and moved most over to email. That way I only have one place to read everything I need and can move things to folders for a later time. I don't miss as much. People without books out right now don't need every single blog post tweeting either. But definitely this one! :)

The Writer Librarian said...

Reading this was such a relief! I didn't realize how much my Twittering and Facebooking and blogging was sucking up so much of my time and energy, in addition to revising my new book, querying my old one, all along with the commitments that come along with my full-time day job. I hit a wall of exhaustion last night--and now I know why! Thanks so much for this--now I have a better idea of where to scale back!

timbarzyk said...

This should be required reading for anyone getting started in the whole social network platform building extravaganza! Wonderful, informative advice. Will refer to this any time I fall off my social network wagon!

Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

Great advice--I'm feeling inundated!

Dane Zeller said...

Great point! I'm going to cut back as soon as I make this comment. This is the last comment I'm going to make today, except for that comment I have to make on a post that had a recipe for chocolate fudge. (You can't treat chocolate that way.)

Heather Marsten said...

LOL, Great advice - very pragmatic.

Heather

Heather Marsten said...

LOL, Great advice - very pragmatic.

Heather

Martha Ramirez said...

Really, really great tips! I like how you listed all the cures so easy to read. Thanks for this.

Mary Vensel White said...

I think if someone read all of that, they probably need an intervention.

Nicole said...

I love this post! Such a breath of fresh air to hear this perspective (even though we all secretly know it). :)

Sharon Jones said...

Great post....

I feel the need to cut down on the bazillion blogs I am subscribed to. I get them in my email, on google reader, and through facebook-networked blogs...(I'm sure you do too) I don't get on Twitter all too often...it freaks me out a little. If I go to someone's profile from there and then hit return...there are a Zillion more tweets to read...how does anyone keep up with that? It's so much faster than FB, and even that is driving me nuts lately.

I just spent about an hour trying to get caught up on blog reading. And you are right...this is not supposed to be a chore. I have decided to cut back on my group participation on facebook too. I really need to get more writing/editing done...otherwise, what's the point in all this?

Burning out in Wisconsin...
Sharon :)

Ruby Claire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Callie Kingston said...

Oh, perfect timing: as I'm launching a new novel into the world, the time I'm spending on social media is exploding. Hopefully, this is a temporary issue, since I've got a manuscript to polish and another I just began. Thanks for the intervention!

Callie Kingston

Kelly Hashway said...

I really needed to hear this. I do dread opening my email in the mornings. It's out of control. I'm trying to get better about not getting to everyone's blogs. I space them out through the week, but I still go to a lot! I appreciate the intervention.

Julie Hedlund said...

This is a phenomenal and much-needed post! We need to give ourselves permission to slow the social media train down sometimes. Thanks for this.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

This really needed to be "said," and you did it brilliantly. Keeping up with everything social media and beyond can (and often is, for me) overwhelming. Writing should be the priority and yet it often does end up taking a back seat to everything else.

Rena J. Traxel said...

Creating lists on twitter was a lifesaver. In order to have time to write and blog I came up with a schedule and posted it on my blog. I also set aside specific amount of time everyday for networking, reading blogs etc. I did this after realizing how much time was being used up online. I want to create a platform but I also want to finish writing my novel! Ugg...the life of a writer.

Mary Witzl said...

This is a great post, and you are so right. I think you can beat yourself up over building a presence just as you can beat yourself up over being the World's Greatest Mother or teacher or anything else. After a point, it's just nonsense to spread yourself so thin that you've got no time left for the most important work.

I love blogging, but I've had to cut way down in order to focus more on my real writing -- and reading. FB is what I use to keep track of my kids, and Twitter is something I treat myself to when I've completed a certain amount of writing. I feel like I'm making the system work for ME now. :)

Angela Ackerman said...

Glad this helps, and again, thanks everyone for being so open about how the pressure to perform and do more makes you feel. :) I think it helps to talk about it and know other people are feeling the same strain and have the same worries.

Anne R. Allen said...

This pretty much describes my life. I have no time to write fiction. I'm doing all this every waking minute, and everybody seems to be pressuring me to do more, more, MORE. NOTHING YOU DO IS ENOUGH!!!

"If you're not a bestseller, it's because you're one of those lazy people who SLEEP."

tired of it all...

Julie Musil said...

Angela, this was brilliant! Yes, we should always put our writing first, and not let this overwhelm us. I'm so thankful for the friendships I've made through this blogging community, and I value that more than anything.

storyqueen said...

I think it is true that is you visit fewer blogs and comment less often, then fewer people will visit your blog and leave comments...but I think at some point you have to be okay with that.

I would rather have folks read my books than my blog, but in order for that to happen, I have to have the time to write the books!

Great post (and I mean that in the least generic way possible!)

Shelley

Real Chick said...

You also have to consider the quality of these social circles. The expression, "garbage in, garbage out" is crucial for writers to remember. Personally I'd rather be known as good writer who's not exactly friendly than a so-so writer with a million facebook friends. Probably not the best attitude for sales but whoring myself out has never been my thing anyway.

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