I took the Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to conduct a little experiment. Since I started this blog and launched my website, I knew I needed to up my game and produce content. I knew I needed to have more of a presence on social media (Twitter primarily because of its format, features, and links to other writers). What I didn’t know though was the amount of time this required of me.
I’ve done enough research to understand how marketing myself as a writer on the interwebz is important as I pursue my dream of publishing my stories. The blog was a great opportunity for me to write and share. The benefits have been great (I’ve already shared that to some extent and won’t regurgitate it at the moment). I’ve tweeted and interacted with other writers as opportunities allowed. Overall, the experience has been good but… To put it bluntly, I’ve run into a bit of a wall.
Let me explain (No, there is too much. Let me sum up). Being that active on Twitter has been time consuming. I got into a habit where I always had a tab open to Twitter and would continually keep an eye on my feed. I wouldn’t tweet something every hour on the hour but I tried to so throughout the day because all the research I did told me I had to be a continuous presence in addition to adding content. Other than tweeting, my blog posts every other day have been the majority of my content.
A little vulnerability I’d like to share with everyone: it has been a bit a let down but only because I think my expectations were too high. I get way more spam comments (all of these I have to go through and mark as spam behind the scenes of my website) and I see no real evidence that I am gaining consistent followers. This could be for a number of reasons (everyone’s got a blog nowadays, especially writers, so I get that there are a lot of options) and the one I keep coming back to is I’m still at the beginning stages of this season of being “present”.
This is not to say I do not appreciate the comments I do receive from real people. I love being able to read them and respond. If I don’t respond, I apologize. I am trying to be better about it.
Even on Twitter, I’ve come to this hovering number of followers and wonder what I’m doing wrong. Am I tweeting the wrong things? Am I hash tagging wrong? Am I focusing too much on writing and not other interests I have? If I tweeted more about sports, music, food, etc. would I risk losing the followers I do have? These are questions I continually wrestle with and have yet to find an answer.
Please don’t take this blog post as a rant or complaint. It’s not. I’m processing my actions and the steps I’ve taken over the last five months of going all in. I trust that I am very much in the early stages of this leg of the race and need to merely slow to a steady pace whereas I was sprinting and have started to hit the wall (I carbo-loaded on the Twitters).
In my mind, the experiment during the last holiday weekend was to see what it “felt” like to unplug. I decided to step away and not have my laptop in front of me with a Twitter tab open the entire three days. It was difficult at first because there’s this odd sense that I will miss something by not staying connected. But then, I have to ask myself, why do I feel the need to stay connected at that level? It was ultimately draining and I suffered from something I truly don’t want to fall under the pressure of and that’s always being connected through social media. I can easily let my posting habits become more organic than forcing myself and putting myself on a strict schedule.
If not, then I will burn myself out. I’ve done so in other areas and through different seasons. Trying to constantly put out content and interact through social media is too much for me. I have so many other interests and priorities that I don’t want to let slip away. These “others” are what fuel me and give me joy. Constantly tweeting and trying to come up with content that would attract readers and followers is exhausting and it’s not how I want to live my life. What I want is to write and share the stories I have in me with the world. Writers have done that for centuries before we ever got to this place of instant-connectivity.
This is not to say technology and our current culture of content intake is bad but I think I need to take a step back and refocus. I can do both but I cannot sacrifice my relationships, writing, and interests for the sake of building my brand when I’m not quite there. At least not at the rate I have been trying to. It’s too much weight and I’ve been putting it all on my shoulders. I think once I have “Dim the Veil” ready for release or leading up to the release, I need to step back.
Call to Action: No, I’m not going to encourage you to step away from your devices today, lol. We get that from all over now. While I do think it’s healthy, I want to encourage everyone to simply consider what they’re putting out there. What’s your involvement? What content are you pouring out? Is it about sharing your life and being encouraging or dumping your trash for the world to see? We should strive to be better than the negative ninnies out there. Let’s be better. Let’s be uplifting, honoring others wherever they are at in their journey.