Writers must always have time to write, and we need to be careful of getting too involved in selling our wares rather than creating our wares. Marketing is vital, but….. We all know by now the importance of social media as far as marketing our books is concerned. It’s important to have a platform, with a few favourite sites where we interact with others. If you still have small followings, you might be complaining about too few likes, comments, or retweets, but I also see many overly stressed writers out there whose followings have grown, trying to move at light speed just to keep up with everything. I promise you though, you will reach a point where you can’t keep up without pruning a little.
How many blog posts do you read every day? Times that you take to read an article vary. I’ve timed a couple, and for me they take between a minute to up to ten or more minutes to read. Let’s even things out and say an average of three minutes per post you read. Ten posts is thirty minutes, twenty posts is an hour. If you’re reading a hundred posts a day, that amounts to four and a half hours – two hundred means that around NINE HOURS of your day has been spent reading blog posts. I won’t break down time spent on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and so on. I’m sure you get the picture because it’s more of the same sort of thing. Responding to interactions on all of your sites takes the same average time per interaction, apart from Twitter which though quite zoomy, makes up for time spent in quantity of posts.
I personally adore blogging and the interaction there. I’ve made some firm friends thanks to good old Worpress, and I’m sure that even if I never write another book (ha haaa), I doubt that I could ever give up my blogging addiction. I learn things, laugh and cry about things there – it’s a fabulous universe. I think that we need to be a little careful of getting ourselves all tied up in knots when we break the “rules” that we see. It generally takes me at least a couple of days to catch up with comments or mentions on all my sites, but it’s something I always make sure I get to as quickly as I can. This unfortunately doesn’t mean that I can quickly catch up. Sometimes I’ve missed a comment, only to find it months later, to my cringing shame. I would never purposely ignore any comment, but as my online journey grows, it happens. And I never mind when a blogger takes a good long while to answer anything I’ve said on their blogs. I understand. Most bloggers do, so there’s no need for panic. We’re all living lives, some busier than others. Some writers are not only trying to write, edit, and do all the other things that need to be done in this new scribbling world, but are also dealing with problems, ill health, financial difficulties, or worse.
It’s important not to allow ourselves to get overwhelmed. I say this from experience, because it’s my character never to ignore anyone, and when I find that I accidentally have, it really upsets me. I often really do spend more than nine hours in front of my computer just catching up. The truth of the matter though, is that no matter how much we want to do every little thing that we think we should, it will get to a point where there just aren’t enough hours in our days.
It’s important for writers to manage their working hours. Right now I have a fairly loaded catch up pile to get stuck into (alright – I always have a loaded catch up pile), but I’ll never break my minimum one hour of writing per day rule. We should be making schedules for ourselves at some point. Daily time for writing, marketing, and the just for fun stuff should be determined, and unless there’s no choice, stuck to. There’s not much point if you’re spending all your time managing your platform if you don’t have the time or energy left to write books.
So I suggest to all you busy, busy scribblers out there, grab a notebook and pencil, and create yourself a timetable, with writing as your top priority every day, and then try and stick with it for at least a week. Don’t spend any more hours other than those you’ve allocated for social media. Do allocate yourself an hour at least a day free time – guilt free too – just because you’re a writer doesn’t mean that you’re invincible or a time growing master. Take a stroll – sit under a tree. Go a little easier on yourself. I promise you that nobody is sitting seething at the time it takes you to get to something – well, maybe there are a couple seething – but they really shouldn’t be. And if they are, well, that’s really not the end of the world. Doing the best that you can is all you can do – and it really is important to do your best, just don’t knobble yourself in the process.