“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen destination.” Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
It took the wrath of a hurricane cutting a 500-mile swath of destruction across the Northeast to remind me that life can change in a heartbeat. Irene was one powerful and destructive force the likes of which I have never witnessed. Although we were not personally affected, the damage in our surrounding area in Eastern New York and along the East Coast as the result of Irene’s fury was shattering. My thoughts and prayers go out to those people who have suffered devastating losses and are enduring many more serious repercussions. People lost their homes, their livelihood and in some cases , their lives. Disruption of this magnitude is hard to comprehend.
I am very grateful that the impact on our family was minimal.
Times of crisis can awaken us to new ways of thinking. Irene did jostle me into making some necessary changes in my daily activities, writerly and otherwise.
Power was disrupted, internet connections, phone lines and cables downed, forcing me to disconnect from my wired-in world of instant messages, constant interruptions and ready access to volumes of information about people, places and things from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, the web (though Facebook and Twitter did eventually end up being main sources of information during the outage). To top it off my sweet husband,Wayne, bought me an iPad for my retirement. I wonder,did he realize what he was doing?
OK, Here’s my confession. Social media has become a major distraction in my life and in my writing.
I wasn’t always so wired-in. When I began seriously writing about two years ago, I balked at the suggestions to join social media groups.
I took Dan Blank’s Build Your Author Platform Course (highly recommend to anyone wishing to establish themselves as an author) when agents at a writer’s conference I had attended started each conversation with ” tell me about your author’s platform.” Dan is offering a free webinar this Thursday reviewing this course.
I started this blog and joined Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, and Goodreads in an attempt to get established as a writer in a changing writer’s world.
The more I learn about publishing in today’s environment, the more I realize I need to maintain and grow an author’s platform. Here’s what Jane Friedman had to say about today’s publishing world in this video interview with former Tom Nelson editor, Michael Hyatt:
“Authors need discoverability and visibility on and offline.”
It has all been good and I have enjoyed it, but it has gotten out of hand…
It’s time to tame the social media beast who takes me on tangents and detours, as wonderful as they may be, all day long, eating up the time I need to be thinking, writing and shaping my story.
This is what I know:
*I need social media to maintain my author platform- to identify, engage and connect. Just ask Dan Blank over at We Grow Media
*I need to rein in,set limits and manage the time I spend on social media to align with my goals rather than be distracted from them.
Porter Anderson, former CNN journalist ,writer and Twitter guru often promotes Rescue Time a tracking system for improving productivity by managing social media distraction. I met Porter in Dan’s course and have enjoyed following him on Twitter @porter_anderson. If there is a system for dealing with all this distraction and Porter is tweeting about it, I must not be alone…
I know I need social media. And I love it. I love connecting with other writers from all over the world who add so much to my writing and life.I have connected with so many incredible people. Writing is a lone endeavor and I welcome feedback, suggestions and the friendships of so many wonderful people from all over the world.
I just want to carve out the time and space I need to arrive at my destination, minimizing daily social media distractions while maximizing the benefits. I want to tame the beast and mold him into a companion who enhances my writing life and helps me get results.
Next week, I’ll talk about my specific plan.
How about you? How does social media impact on you and your writing? What strategies have you developed to use social media to your advantage?