The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Isn’t that what people say?
Lately, I’ve found that particular quote to be especially relevant to my life. You know, if “Hell” was never finishing the manuscript I’m currently working on, and the road to get there was paved with tweets.
That’s right. I said it.
My days are divided up into carefully planned, carefully executed routine. I am first and foremost a mother and a wife (and a dog servant), and these things take top priority in my life. In fact, I don’t even consider them distractions. Or, at least, I try not to. During the day, I try to be 100% present with family, friends, and responsibilities. Those of you who write know that sometimes, that’s a task that’s easier said than done.
For me, the distractions–the procrastination–comes when everyone else has gone to bed at night and I’m finally sitting down to get to work.
Twitter (and Social Media in general) are the good intentions that lead me down the path of delay and unfinished projects.
Don’t get me wrong: I love Twitter. The community of writers, editors, readers, bloggers, and other professionals in the creative field are some of the most supportive, most uplifting people I’ve ever met. My husband constantly jokes that I’m better friends with people on the internet than I am with people in real life.
Because there, on social media, I found a platform of like-minded individuals, each of them striving for the same (or similar) goals: to share the stories that live inside of them.
It’s a great goal. It is. But sometimes (at least for me) all of the work it takes to get to that goal detracts from it.
It’s interesting: I re-joined Twitter two years ago, at the recommendation of an author I met at the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC (My short story was a lucky winner that year, and you can read it in its depressing entirety HERE if you feel like having yourself a good cry!). Prior to that, I hadn’t been on Twitter in years. My old college account consisted of me retweeting comedians and occasionally griping about my lack of Chipotle burritos (Hangry tweeting is a real thing).
The author at the conference told me that if I just got on Twitter and started hawking books, I’d make more sales. Prior to his advice, I’d never thought of Twitter as a vehicle for self-promotion. It seemed like a great idea, in theory. So, I signed up. I made an account.
That author was wrong.
It isn’t the miracle-cure-all he’d suggested it would be. There’s a very, very fine line to promoting yourself on the internet. I read somewhere that self-promotion on Twitter is like honking a horn over and over again in stand-still traffic. I wish I could remember where I read it, so I could give credit to the philosophical genius who expounded that little gem of wisdom. Because it’s so true. How annoying is it when you’re sitting at a stop light and three cars behind you, some road rager is just laying on their horn?
That’s the same feeling people get when you’re clogging their feed with ad after ad for your book.
Believe me, I learned that lesson the hard way.
So, what do you do? How do you proceed?
You got on Twitter to sell your book, but you’re not selling anything. In fact, you’re aggravating potential buyers. Sales is so interesting. The concept is that of a dog who wants you to throw the ball, but doesn’t want to have to give it up.
“Sell your book,” they say. “But don’t talk about your book.”
So promotional work, at least for someone like me, becomes a trap. Suddenly it’s 2 AM and I’m still scrolling through Twitter engaging in threads and contributing to chats and retweeting prose and, and, and…
And there it is.
There’s such a demand to make yourself visible, to shout loud enough into the void that people start to hear you. But it becomes easy, in doing that, to lose track of why you got involved in the first place.
The road to Hell IS paved with good intentions. I have only the best intentions with my Tweets, my Instagrams, and this blog. I want to share my story and make connections and network with a wonderful community of like-minded professionals.
But my Hell is remaining unpublished and unrepresented. Unread.
I’m not trying to bite the hand that feeds me. This isn’t a breakup letter to Social Media.
But we’re three days into NaNoWriMo, and I’m trying hard to declutter. To refocus. To get sh*t done. There’s a pretty big finish line waiting at the end of all of this, and it’s an important one. There’s a delicate balance here, and I’m going to be more purposeful in striving for it. As a mom, a wife, and a
generally occasionally productive adult, I have so little time to spare as it is.
So that’s it. Thanks for reading, friends. I have about a half an hour before this coffee wears off, and I’m planning on using it to crash edit my most recent chapter.
Hashtag, am editing.
Hashtag, writer life.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you find that Twitter and Social Media can inhibit your productivity? What do you do to “declutter” your life and focus on writing?
Agree or disagree, I want to hear from you!
Leave me a comment or @ me on Twitter. I’ll see you out there 🙂