A Facebook friend posted today for the first time in a week, she said. (I didn’t notice she was gone, so I thought it would be hypocritical to welcome her back.) Her absence wasn’t totally deliberate; she had things to do that kept her away, but when she talked about what a freeing experience it was to get totally away from Facebook and Twitter and every other form of social media, I realized I envied her. I totally envied her.
I’m on my laptop at least six to eight hours a day and way too much of it is spent reading my email and visiting different forums to see what’s going on. I have two Facebook accounts–one for my political blog and one personal–and if I had nothing else to drive me to distraction, those two pages would be enough. But I have more. And up to now I’ve been telling myself I should have even more. (There’s still Tumblr, whatever that is.)
I have a Twitter account, a Linkedin account, a Google+ account, a Sulia account, a Muckrack account, a Pinterest account (for my vintage shop on Etsy, not that I’m pandering here), and probably a few others I’ve forgotten. I signed up with all of them because it’s common knowledge I need all the help I can get when I’m trying to promote my work, and if I’m going to work mainly on the Internet, as I do, I am required to be social-media savvy.
I suck at promoting my writing. Long before the internet, even before I cashed that first check for my first paid writing gig, I knew promotion would be the absolute worst part of being a writer. And I was right. I’ve wasted more valuable time on the peripherals–the noshing, the back scratching, the begging. . .
I do it all now from a magical keyboard, sight unseen, with people I will never know but who might be in a position to send a few crumbs my way; or, better yet, send me soaring on a path to virtual viralosity. (Don’t use that word; I made it up.)
The fact that I know what going viral means should tell you I’m already a lost cause. My job is to write. It should be someone else’s job to launch me out into the world, to take care of the small stuff, to assist me in any way possible so that when I sit down at my desk Twitter Dee and Twitter Dum are not my problem.
Nobody wants the job and I couldn’t pay them if they did. But now that I’m enrolled in this wacky exercise called NaBloPoMo (short for write a page a day or die), I have to actually put my writing on the front burner instead of shoving it behind all those other things in the virtual fridge, where it’s been known to shrivel up into one unrecognizable mess. This could be the best thing that ever happened to me, Internet-wise. (Don’t use “Internet-wise”, either. It’s annoying.)
To my credit, even before NaBloPMo I’ve been dropping groups on Linkedin right and left. All I really need from Linkedin is a place to put my profile, but I found all these rooms where other writers dwell and, maybe because I live in the boonies where other writers don’t dwell, I thought I saw the perfect places to talk writing again, as I did when I lived in the city.
I talked writing, all right. There are more pissing matches on Linkedin than I’ve ever seen on my political pages. Those people argue about everything. I say “those people” but there I was, in the midst of the fray, whether it was about content mills or huffy grammar grievances or freelancing vs. public relations, or whether writers should write for free. (I strongly don’t think so, but I am, in fact, writing for free.) And none of it has advanced my writing career one little bit.
So here I am, a 76-year-old woman–loving what I’m doing but still waiting for that big break–finally waking up to the Writing 101 main rule: if you’re going to be a successful writer you have to take your writing seriously. I’ve been taking the promotion of my writing far more seriously than the actual writing and that is going to stop.
So if this exercise does nothing else, it will have shaken me awake. I can’t ask for more than that. It’s up to me to see what I do after the wake-up call.
Wish me luck.
(Blog post #4 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge)