When I talk to writers this is one of the questions I’m asked most.
And let’s face it, it's a good one. We live in a world where time is at a premium. It’s hard enough to find time to write, to work on the project we love. How do we sustain working on…well...work?
The answer is far from definitive. Everyone has to find their own balance in this social media world. But here are some suggestions. These are the ones I use to manage my own writing career. Take what works for you and toss the rest out the window.
Decide what you want. I know, you want to be a writer. But, what kind of writer? Do you want to write one book? Do you want to write several books a year, books and articles, books and speaking? The combinations are endless. It’s important to choose. Even if you’re uncertain, pick one and try it on for size. Change is fine, but you can’t move forward without a direction.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Once you have your direction set, you have to decide what will get you there the best way. Notice I said best, not fastest. You don’t want to burn out just yards from the finish line.
Here’s an example. I know a writer, we’ll call her Ruby (not her real name). Ruby wants to write novels for women, at least one per year. She also loves Facebook and admits she spends lots of time there. She hates Twitter. Those little 140 character bursts frustrate her and she has resisted moving into that arena. She has also resisted blogging, certain it will take all her writing time.
These are my suggestions for her.
- First, she needs to track her time.
- Second, I already know she needs to spend less of it on Facebook. Less, not give it up. Facebook is a great place to grow relationships.
- Third, she needs to venture into the Twitter universe by connecting with her Facebook friends. I recommend she uses an ancillary program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to make Twitter more manageable. She should set a goal of tweeting or retweeting 4 times a day. (If you’re totally lost, visit my posts on Twitter here, here and here)
- Fourth, she does need to set up a blog, at least a practice one. Even novelists need to know how to write tight and on a schedule. Blogging is the perfect way to learn that. It’s almost the direct opposite of writing a novel. This post on blogging will give you the basics.
- Last, she needs to make her novel writing time a priority. It’s important to figure out when, during a 24-hour day, your creative sweet spot happens. Once you know, guard that time with your life.
Now you see why we do have to do a lot to succeed in today’s writing life. But NO ONE does it all and does it well.
|Photo Courtesy of Mary Denman|
Bottom Line: A strong connection with new readers is always good…but it really won’t help if you don’t spend time writing.
So now it’s time for you to chime in. What parts of social networking work for you? What parts don’t?
Don’t forget to join the conversation!