You can download this graphic here, courtesy of Austin Kleon.
When I set out to try to become a published writer, the first advice I recieved was to get a social media presence. Be accessible on all social media outlets. So I got everything – Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest – you name it, I have it. Then I got Hootsuite at the time and I spent hours setting up posts and graphics to post on a schedule, all with the object of being seen. By whom, I don’t know, I’d barely written anything and most definitely did not have a book to promote.
But I felt like I was doing something. I was creating an author’s platform. Woo-hoo for me!
Now, the conventional wisdom seems to have swung away from the author’s platform for fiction writers. Better to just write the book. And here I am with a bunch of social media outlets I don’t enjoy having.
Like, serioulsy, if I thought I had any future as an influencer, I would have gone ahead and done some influencing, or something. Instead, I wasted a butt-load of time doing things, none of which involved the actual writing I needed to do.
There’s also the whole generalized anxiety disorder thing. When I go on different platforms and see, not constructive dialogue, but trolls and rabble-rousers instigating on threads that otherwise have actual value, my anxiety shoots through the roof. Self-care demands that I not expose myself to things that are bad for me. I come from family who suffers from anxiety and would prefer to not have to treat it with a half-pill of Xanax each day the way my grandmother and aunts used to do.
So I was encouraged when I read about Roni Loren’s 30-Day Social Media Ban. First, because bans are definitely a thing and second, I wasn’t the only creative feeling ambivalent about the pressure of being on social media instead of doing what we (well they) do best, which is create cool stuff. If you have a chance, scroll to the end of the post and check out all of the great things Loren accomplished by not being on social media.
For the month of June, I’m going to go on a 30-Day Social Media detox. I will allow myself two exceptions – lending my promotional efforts towards a short story collection designed to raise money for cancer research, a collection that features my novelette, Mar y Sol; and this blog. If things go the way I hope, I should be super-productive. I want to draft my manuscript for the second installment of my novel series (I queried the series and submitted a manuscript – might as well keep on working while I wait). To do that, I need focus and time. I’m out of school for the summer and these two months tend to be precious in terms of carving out time for my own pursuits. This is especially true if we don’t take our annual month-long holiday to see the relatives. I’d like to make the most of these days.
We’ll have to see how I adapt to not having the dopamine high of checking my phone 80 times a day. Since keeping up a blog is another one of the habits I’d like to develop, I’ll post my progress here.
So if you guys see me out on social media doing anything other than promoting my novelette after June 1st, shout at me. I’m all about extrinsic motivation.