There is enormous industry pressure on writers to keep up with social media. Unfortunately, this shift has come with its own set of challenges. Managing social media can quickly turn into a full time job and can be a distraction for those who are trying to meet deadlines. Even bestselling novelist Neil Gaiman recently announced his upcoming internet sabbatical after admitting that social media has negatively impacted his productivity.
I’ve had personal experience at both ends of the social media spectrum. In college, I spent atleast 60% of my free time on Facebook (if not more). But once I graduated and started my job, I found it impossible to keep up, especially with sites like Twitter and Tumblr. Fortunately, I have since recovered from my “social media freak out” period. Below, I’ve listed some things that helped me find a balance:
1. Find Your Niche And Consolidate. In a perfect world, every writer would be able to use all forms of social media with equal effectiveness–while also churning out a 300+ page book in their sleep. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. One of the easiest ways to avoid burnout while writing is to focus your efforts on the platforms yielding the most results. Do your fans comment a lot on your Facebook fan page but barely make a peep on Twitter? Focus on Facebook. Remember, one or two great social media presences are better than 10 or more so-so profiles. Bottom line: Use what works, skip what doesn’t.
2. Measure Everything. The great thing about social media is that it allows you to fail fast. And while this may sound pessimistic, it is actually a very good thing. Failing fast allows you to make quick adjustments, giving you and for example your essay writing service more energy to spend on things that are effective. To avoid burnout, use measurement tools (Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc) to determine what content drives traffic and generates engagement. This keeps you (and your efforts) focused.
3. Designate Time for Social Media Maintenance. One of the biggest causes of social media burnout is overuse. Resist the urge to stay plugged in 24/7. Instead, set aside specific time during each day (or each week, if you’re like me) to update your social profiles. Doing this will not only give you more time to focus on writing, but it will also give you time to produce better content.
4. Disable Push Notifications. Push notifications are the alerts that pop up on your smartphone or tablet when someone engages with one of your social profiles (emails you, comments on your status, sends you a DM, etc). And here’s the thing about push notifications: they can either be very useful…or very, very distracting. Particularly if you are trying to follow Tip #3 If you are getting inundated with alerts and the thought of not responding right away stresses you out, turn them off.
5. Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself. Attempting to market your book before its finished is a BIG energy drain. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Focus on finishing your book, then worry about how to market it on Twitter.
6. Engage With Family and Friends Offline. Another great benefit of social media is that it allows you to stalk keep up with family and friends. But don’t let Facebook be your only method of contact. Make sure that the folks you care about can reach you offline. This way, you won’t feel pressured to post things constantly.
What do you think? How do you maintain a balance while writing? Leave a comment and post your thoughts.