Would Carl Sandburg Like Facebook?

social media

Social media is a mixed blessing. While it gives us a way to reach out and link in, it can also be a potential source of stress. Should a would-be author use Tumblr, Facebook, Linkedin, or what?? The choices are dizzying! I’ve been told that Hootsuite will manage and measure all of a person’s social media, but I’m not savvy enough to figure it out. And besides, there’s really not much to measure.

I recently read that a writer needs to spend about 30 percent of her time using social media and 70 percent writing. That 70 percent really shrinks when one is not a professional writer. When a person has other responsibilities like a job or a family (or both) and is the person in charge of laundry, food preparation, and  dusting, there’s very little time for any of the other. Some days the writing time shrinks to 15 minutes in a journal.

I’ve been wondering what Carl Sandburg would think about Facebook. He’d likely ignore it or hire a publicist. Hmmm. I’d hire one too if I were a writer of any acclaim. I’m not. I’m just a small potatoes kind of writer trying to sell a couple of books that I believe might be helpful to some people.

Last year my husband and I visited Carl Sandburg’s house in Flat Rock, NC, and I learned about his writing schedule. Apparently, he did most of his writing while his family slept and then spent much of their waking time asleep. He joined his family for dinner later in the day.

Our tour guide said that Mr. Sandburg really didn’t know or even think that much about bill paying. His wife apparently took care of all of those mundane details of life. He got to write. She raised goats and won international acclaim AND kept the household running.

I think it’d be easier to write if, like Sandburg, a writer had someone in his or her life who would take care of everything else. At the same time, I read that Harriett Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin while sitting at her kitchen table. She was also pretty busy raising six children.

I’m not making excuses for myself, just airing some frustration and trying to figure things out.  One of the first things I learned in counseling courses is that when people can talk without interruption, they often gain insight into their problems and can go about solving them.

Have I gained any insight? Maybe. I think maybe I just need to take baby steps into the world of social media and plug along with the writing word by word. I have no aspirations of a writer of Carl Sandburg or Harriett Beecher Stowe’s stature. But then again, why write something for your eyes only?

Ideas anyone? How do you resolve the social media/writing time dilemma?

About jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer
This entry was posted in lifestyle, self publishing, social media, writers, writing, writing life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Would Carl Sandburg Like Facebook?

  1. I totally agree that social media has its benefits and negativity. Its just a matter of using it in balance that will help us in the end. I have a literary blog, so I’m fascinated by how social media and technology aids and detracts in the reading and writing process. Great post!


  2. Thanks so much for becoming a subscriber. Happy blogging.


  3. Steve Gordy says:

    I can only make one recommendation: Don’t get on Facebook or Twitter first thing in the morning. It’s a good way to shoot the entire morning.


  4. Heidi Parton says:

    I definitely agree that social media requires a lot of time and effort, and trying to effectively manage an online presence while working, taking care of a home, raising kids, and somehow trying to find time to write in between and around all of that can be overwhelming.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a copy writer and company blog editor (and fiction writer and poet otherwise), and I use HootSuite at work. I spend about half an hour each morning scheduling tweets and articles to post to our various channels, and then I can spend the rest of the work day writing, sending emails, holding meetings, etc. So once you get over the learning curve (I know it can be intimidating), it definitely does help with time management. Once I find the time (ha!), I plan on setting up a personal HootSuite account to do the same for my creative work.

    Hope this helps!


    • marlajayne says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond to this post in such a helpful way. Today I saw emails from linkedin, tumblr,and a couple of other writing sites that I’m a part of it. And do you know what I did? I skipped right over them, not because they aren’t interesting, informative, and probably exciting but because of TIME. I’m going to follow your suggestion and look into HootSuite. Maybe I can do it little by little. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?


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