By PD Martin
You know the saying a woman’s work is never done? Well, sometimes I think an author’s work is never done. Especially in today’s day and age, when there is ALWAYS something we could or should be doing to promote our work on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. So when should we call it a day?
About a year ago I decided I had to cut back on Facebook. As wonderful as it is, it can literally suck time from you. I’d go on to check out my friends’ latest news and an hour or two later I’d return to the Word document thinking: “No way, was I on Facebook for two hours.” But, of course, I was. So I made a new rule, which I stick to most days. I give myself about 10 minutes of Facebook in the morning and maybe 10 minutes at night.
I don’t scroll all the way back now through all my Facebook friends’ posts from the last 12 hours or 24 hours, or however long it is since I last logged on. Instead, I check out the last hour or two. Yes, I am missing things, but I figure actually writing is more important.
As for Twitter … I’ve never been a big Twitter user, but I’ve synced up my Facebook page so anything I post on my PD Martin page goes to Twitter. Which means less work. Having said that, I’ve created more work for myself with a slight Facebook multiple personality disorder — I’ve got my personal Phillipa Martin profile, my PD Martin page and now my Pippa Dee page. But I think the separation of a personal profile page and professional author page is useful.
So, a writer’s work in terms of social media is probably never done. What else?
How about editing? Yes, our books go out the door and onto shelves (or databases), but is an author ever truly finished a book? I think most of us could edit and tweak until eternity. It’s more that we’re forced to put a stop on the edits at some point—whether it’s self-imposed or from an agent or publisher.
So, authors and readers alike, how long do you spend on social media a day? Do you use different pages/profiles on Facebook? And is a writer’s work ever done?
Oh, and my BSP (blatant self promotion) for the day: The Wanderer is now available on Amazon for $2.99. Read more about The Wanderer.
I have an author page on FB, and a personal profile–you're right, it gets confusing sometimes. And then you have to make sure that what you link to Twitter doesn't just show up as a link…
I have to limit my online time too, because it can be like a time-sucking vortex. It's my watercooler: I get twenty minutes to chitchat, and then it's back to work. Speaking of which…
Mostly, I'm a blogger, and only joined Twitter so I could chat with my friends overseas without going broke. Then a friend suggested that conversations of more than 140 characters could be fun, too, so I joined FB. And discovered Words with Friends.
I don't have a huge number of friends, so my newsfeed isn't too unwieldy. But I do try to shut down at 9:15 or 9:30 to write every night. As with everything, it's a balance.
Priorities and balance, yup. With the intense rajasic nature of the over-culture, how much social media is too much? As you found, I guess it's up to each of us individually. I don't Tweet at all. I pop in at FB a few times a day for a quick peek, but rarely linger. Blogging is more of a draw for me, writing as well as reading other blogs. Even that though, I only 'follow' a few at a time. I've never been one to read magazine articles or short stories, so I think that has a lot to do with my being able to set boundaries with social media–I enjoy immersion and that simply involves more focused commitment whether its my own writing or exploring what someone else has written. "Social media," as in FB and Twitter, for the most part is a mystery to me… 🙂 I downloaded your book–looking forward to reading it.
I signed up with Fb to read a post by a once regular Murderati commenterand once there I thought, hey what a great way to get to know people. Turns out, it is simply a great way to find out when somebody is catching a bus, cutting their hair, chauffeuring their kids, grooming their pet. Sure, I'm still there but when I take an Fb vacation, I come out of a fog and begin to see how mundane most of it is. That said, I think it might be a good tool for communicating with people you know when you are separated by distance or busy schedules.
As for time spent there, when I read the newsfeed, I only read what is visible on the screen and then check two or three friends walls (only the content that makes it on the screen.)
What have I learned? Our lives are relatively the same—as are our appreciations and complaints—we just live them out on different continents. Or put another way, I have nothing new to add to the world…and just spent several paragraphs prooving it! <grin>
If I wasn't ADD before Facebook, I am now. I sometimes have to turn off the internet entirely to keep from scratching that itch. And you can't do really good work without settling in deeply. Just the way it is. I think your restraint and your savvy are admirable, Phillipa.
I am constantly forgetting that FB exists, Twitter even more so, but I enjoy the brief surreal conversations I get into when I remember to post! Which I should do right now, as it's been a while…
FT – love the water cooler analogy. Perfect. And it sounds like we're on the same page with Facebook time 🙂
Sarah – yes, balance is key. I've never tried any of the Facebook apps like farmville or Words with Friends. Words with Friends sounds appealing but I'm not going there … I'm not! Must resist!
Darla, you're good with only going in to FB a few times a week. And I'm glad Murderati is one of the blogs you follow 🙂 Thanks for downloading The Wanderer, too. Hope you enjoy it!
Debbie, you're right…Facebook is often about the mundane, but as you say, it's also a good way to keep up with friends you might otherwise lose touch with. I've connected with old school friends, friends who live overseas, etc. And it is great for that. The only thing I find, though, is that because it is short bites and I've got quite a few Facebook friends, sometimes I find it difficult to remember who did what! Or maybe that's more about my shocking memory than the Facebook medium.
David, I think turning off the internet is a good strategy. It's one of the rules for the 10k days I blogged about once here, and it really does make a difference. As you say, each time you step away mentally from a book, you're losing ground because you're not in the zone any more. At least, that's what I find. But it can be hard to put into practice. I've actually become addicted to the Amazon Kindle Bookshelf – I keep hitting refresh to see if I've sold any more ebooks!
Alex, you forget Facebook exists? Wow, I think you're one of the few 🙂 Maybe I should step away for a week and see what happens.
Funnily enough, I'm now off to Facebook. Daughter at school, checked in to Murderati…next stop, Facebook!