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?