What does a writer do when she can’t write? I’m not talking about writer’s block, but social media block. How do any of us find time to compose books, articles, short stories (even short-short ones), when we have to read and respond to messages from LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, et al?
In my original innocence I signed up for every LinkedIn group I was told about, which means getting 50 or 60 messages a day. We’re told it’s advisable to respond to these so I tried answering all of them, until the clock and my energy ran out. I confess I now resort to deleting many of the messages without even reading them. But that pushes my anxiety button: what potentially useful tip am I missing?
I’ve discovered that those tips are sometimes valuable – one LinkedIn response of mine led to two radio interviews; another to being interviewed for a blog. But I also find those tips are hidden within a deluge of trivia. For instance, one LinkedIn group constantly asks, “”If you knew you’d never make money would you still write? At least that was good for a laugh! I did answer, with an impassioned OF COURSE! But I now get twenty repetitions of that same question every day.
I have another confession: I’m trying to cut back on FaceBook . Does that make me un-American ? Or un-modern? I do enjoy seeing what fellow and sister writers are doing, but I’m not all that interested in seeing my second cousin’s vacation pictures from the Caribbean (especially when I’m sitting home in 95-degree heat) or endless photos of cute kittens, puppies and babies (not necessarily in that order). Yet I can’t resist taking a look when a “notification” is “pending.” Usually it’s because someone wants to “friend” me. (Remember when friend was a noun, not a verb?) I also can’t resist putting birthday greetings on someone’s ”wall” – even someone I barely remember. And I succumb to poring over messages of advice from the lucky people who’ve found the secret to “Happiness” — though I’d be a lot happier if didn’t detour from the novel I’m trying to finish.
The prospect of adding Twitter to the pile has me all a-twitter. Writing at length takes me much less time than figuring how to condense to 140 characters!
We’re told it’s important to post notices, to send helpful answers to other people’s questions, to keep our name ”out there.” But where in that mythical “there” is time to work on whatever we’re really trying to write? Even this blog is very late.
Have to sign off now — two dozen messages have popped up while I’ve been writing this.