I’ve been talking with friends about how social media can be both a good and bad thing. It’s pretty obvious I’ve loved it and it’s most definitely the way I find new books to read, so I’ll never quit it. I do enjoy the randomness of Twitter, but am working to jump on a little less.
And I’m making a few changes. One of them is fewer shorty posts EVERYWHERE while going back to more blogging here and on The Deadline Dames. More fun author-ish stuff. Especially now that I’ve learned I actually have a few readers who want to keep up. Yay! (And some who are excited about upcoming announcements. Yeah, yeah, you don’t believe me after all this time. I don’t blame you. <g>)
My problem is with some of the other social media sites. There are SO MANY. Between Twitter (which I still “mostly” like), Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram… we are bombarded with information and we also miss a lot. Take Facebook. I have a public page (4 actually because of official author pages and a pen name) and it has friends and family. Lots. When I’m working hard, I don’t go through and read status messages and besides that, Facebook doesn’t show me all of them. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just too much sometimes. So when someone is upset that I haven’t commented on their news, it’s really, really, really a waste of emotion. I probably didn’t see it. And if you post a lot of negative political stuff or those awful abuse of animals or people pics, I for sure didn’t. I tend to hide all status updates from a person then. There’s enough negative to deal with in life without facing it day in and day out on the Internet. In fact, there are people I won’t be around at all anymore after seeing horrible things on their social media sites–things they would never think to say in person at gatherings. Hmm… I think most of my problem is with FB, don’t you?
But I digress. <g>
We are keeping up with too much news.
Anything from worldwide to what someone had for lunch. There are constant scares over weird things like onions, crazy rumors, family dramas…
And honestly, I think maybe we are on call too much. With phones at our hips, we don’t get breaks. I can’t turn mine off because I’m a mother and can’t miss a call from the school or a child–but I don’t always answer. And sometimes, my phone is left inside while I’m out…I also don’t take it into the shower. I’ve had people calling over and over, both cell and house, then asking why I didn’t answer. Why do we always have to answer? If it’s important, leave a message letting me know what’s going on so I can get back to you. If there is no message, I assume it was just a random call and there’s no urgency. This is actually one of the hardest things about people knowing when someone works from home. At an office job, you can’t randomly chat on the phone for an hour, right? But when everyone knows you’re home…
I recently came to the realization that I felt too busy. All the time. And I wasn’t really going OUT to be with friends anymore. (Okay, car & other issues have a lot to do with that. LOL) But I got overloaded and I’m not the only one feeling this way.
I’ve been working years to get a career going and it’s finally moving and yeah, it kind of all moved at once, so I’m overly busy. But I wanted this and I’m so excited. It will even out. And in the meantime, I still have a busy family I love so my plate is full.
In order to write books, I also have to put in a lot of hours and I have to have quiet. I can’t let my mind be bombarded by the constant streams of information coming from all directions. I can’t worry about all the “friendly” advice about what authors should and should not be doing or whether I’m supposed to read my reviews or not. (Yes, I do read them and yes, I believe reviews are for readers–not writers. But I’m truly interested in opinions at times. My only real problem is I can be a little obsessive about reading them when a book first comes out. That probably won’t change–sigh–but I’m learning to wean myself from this habit because yes, a bad review, while valid because everyone has different tastes, can sting a little sometimes. )
I realized I need to remember to live a little, too. I can’t keep up with everything and I was trying to do just that. And then, I was worrying that someone would be hurt if I missed something…and then learned some people really were. Gah. There’s a level of stress we get trying to keep up and yeah, spotting random things that hurt our feelings.
I still love social media and still believe it’s a great way to promote my books and to find books to read. So yeah, I do want to share about my writer stuff and commiserate with other authors on the ins and outs of this crazy business. I’m pretty lucky because I have the most wonderful support system ever in The Deadline Dames. We’ve been together five years and the mix of honesty, loyalty and support is priceless. We span time zones and continents, so if one of us finds herself writing or struggling in the middle of the night, there is usually another one online. I also have very good friends in this business I’ve met online–like Jocelynn Drake. I enjoy our wordy emails and one of the best parts is if either of us doesn’t email for a while, the other takes it in stride because life is hectic sometimes. 🙂
I also want to hear about new books that have excited you, because maybe I’ll find a new author to love. I do want to keep up with that sort of thing.
But a change is needed. Instead of trying to show all these different layers of me on all these different sites, I’m going back to blogging a little more here and at The Deadline Dames and just linking. I’ve been kind of splintered. Jokes and family stuff on one site, more writing related on another. Too hectic. I’m staying on FB and Twitter, but I’m paring things down. I’ll connect blogs more to Facebook, that sort of thing.
AND… here’s the biggie… I took them off my phone. ALL OF THEM. I did. No really, I did! Sure enough, on my morning walk today, I went to check one and found I couldn’t. I was annoyed for about a second, then turned the phone off, took a deep breath of fresh air and faced off a squirrel. (I’m pretty sure he was sent here by Lilith Saintcrow to play chicken with me.)
I started some of this a little while back and because I haven’t been reading status pages, I’m not getting caught up in cryptic messages that make me track down what’s going on, not getting embroiled in the latest Internet drama. The deal is, I think I I used to be an okay writer and feel my craft has suffered from information overload. I need to spend more time becoming a better writer. I need to have more “in person” fun plotting sessions with my critique partner, Rachel Vincent. We both work long, long hours and have to nudge each other out and every single time we do, we have a blast. Even when we’re working. See? This is us (okay, just our feet) creating magic on a Friday night. We fixed a major problem in one of my young adult books this night.