Wow! My post Is Social Media Sucking the Life from Your Writing? seemed to resonate with many of you. Several people left comments, and even more of you emailed me about your struggles. This constant tug-of-war between making time to write and building your platform overwhelms you, drains your creativity and robs you of your enthusiasm for either endeavor.
I’m a curious creature, so I began to search for answers. I decided…
To use myself as a guinea pig to find a solution, or at least to torture myself less.
4 Tricks to Creative Harmony
Before this experiment, I was subscribed to ten different writing blogs that sent at least three emails each week with new posts. I’m subscribed to several more, but I can handle ones that only come every once in a while. It’s the blogs inundating me with information almost daily. Even if they’re awesome, too much was still too much. I had to make a change.
Here are four steps I’m using to move from overwhelmed back to inspired:
Of the ten blogs sending me multiple posts each week, I unsubscribed from five. The sixth gave me the option to receive all its posts once per week, so I did that. I cut my commitments in half, but feel 100X better!
At first, I worried I’d miss some life-changing message, but those posts are still on their sites. I can always read them later, or even resubscribe at another time.
Side note: from someone who has received unkind messages as to why they unsubscribed from Mudpie Writing — just unsubscribe. The owners will probably never notice if you’re gone, but, if you feel compelled to give a reason for your departure, say something brief and upbeat: “Your blog is great, but I need to reduce my emails. Thanks.”
If you don’t want to unsubscribe, then give yourself permission to delete a post if the header doesn’t appeal or apply to you. I’ve become a Deleting Queen and feel my creativity returning in leaps and bounds. Again, posts stay on blogs forever, so you still have access to their content (sometimes, they make you subscribe first, but you can decide if you want to recommit).
3. Respond later
Just because a slew of blog posts hit your inbox at 8 am sharp everyday, does not mean you have to open and comment ASAP. In fact, you don’t have to comment at all.
Yes, commenting on blogs is an outstanding way to make a name for yourself, as well as meet new writers, but balance is the key. I’ve even created an email file folder called ‘Read Later‘ to move these posts. Out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes, I do read them at my convenience, but other times, I press delete.
4. Limit your Social Media Time
There are days when I’m not on Facebook or Twitter at all. My writing, concentration and enjoyment have improved so much. When I am online, I participate for about 10 minutes, then let it go.
I’m also reading less non-writing blogs, too. No more dancing babies videos, I’m already sick of the next U.S. presidential election, but I’ll always be a junkie for Buzzfeed quizzes. It cracks me up that my old lady name is Gertrude and how my greatest gift is optimism.
One Day at a Time
I wish managing social media was a ‘deal with it once, then forget it’ issue, but that’s not how life works. I’ve been reminded there’s a word to describe this process.
I’m being both deliberate and intentional about make my writing priority #1. Day after day, I’m choosing my craft over everything else.
My most popular quote from Is Social Media Sucking the Life from Your Writing? seems to be:
“If building your platform is consuming to much of your writing time or draining your creativity, then it’s okay to scale back and refocus your attention on your writing instead. In fact, it may be necessary for your sanity’s sake.”
It certainly was for me. I hope you’ll do the same. It’s worth the time and effort.