If my 50-day social media break were Lent, I’d be back online.
If I hadn’t decided to push the break to 101 days, a week and a day from today, I’d be back online.
It’s funny how time’s dragged in ways, but also how it’s flown by.
The Ups and Downs
I’ve noticed that since taking the social media break that sales of my ebooks have slipped. That could be something that would have happened no matter what, or it could be a result of the break — I don’t know. (I haven’t given it too much thought — you’ll see why, below.)
One things that has increased: traffic to The Juggling Writer. I’m well on pace to beat my best month ever! Granted, it hasn’t translated into more ebook sales or resulted in more people signing up for the newsletter, but more people than ever stumble upon this site and stick around.
Why I Don’t Care [Too Much] About a Drop in Sales
Sure, it’s kind of sucked seeing sales on ebooks drop, but that may not be because of the social media break. It may just be that the people who bought Hell Comes with Wood Paneled Doors en masse bought it in my initial social media push.
Regardless, I’m okay with that. During this break, I’ve really been reminded what matters: writing to the best of our abilities.
For me, that means a certain disconnect. Hitting a word count or the end of a chapter was “rewarded” by a sweep through social media sites. If I returned to writing, the momentum and feeling was lost and took a little bit to get back to.
I feel more focused since taking the break. When I think about writing, now, it’s like when I was a younger writer and that’s mostly all I thought about. Not that I don’t think about writing a lot when I’m on social media sites, but when I’m using social media sites, I’m thinking more about bringing attention to my writing — not actually writing.
My mind no longer seeks out that attention. I’m no longer making noise in a crowded place where, really, the best way to be heard [no matter what “social media experts” claim] is to shout the loudest. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on things. (Especially when people have been emailing me, telling me that I’m lucky I took a break because Facebook has recently changed.)
When I started writing, there weren’t so many distractions — no text messages, tweets, Facebook updates, blogs to follow, email to answer, or calls from people who think that just because we always have our phones with us that we must answer them right away no matter what we’re doing. (I’ve had people tell me they’d die if they turned their phones off for any length of time like I do when I write.)
I feel like I’m in my early 20s again. It’s like I’m finding parts of my brain I forgot I had because even though I do a good job disconnecting from things when I write, I’m still not disconnected long enough to go as deep into my head as I once did.
Social Media and Me
Even though I was never one to post, “Hey, I wrote X,XXX words today!” or talk too much about writing online instead of actually writing, I still sought a certain pop from social media when it came to the writing I do.
I mentioned blog posts and some other writing-related things, but — I suspect — because I didn’t hammer those things into my social media feeds and yell for attention, my tweets and Facebook updates never really brought tons of people my way. (This is why I can’t say if my social media break has resulted in fewer sales or not. Social media posts for me have always been more social — not so much demanding attention for my writing.)
I can’t deny that by creating social media accounts where I discuss writing that I hoped those sites brought attention my way. What happened, though — I sometimes spent more time analyzing what more I could do to get attention through social media than what I do best: dig into my head and lose myself in writing for hours without interruption. Even though I disconnect when I write, I found that when I use social media sites, there’s a part of my mind that’s always wondering what’s going on out there.
Forty-two days into my social media break, I’m further reminded that I write best when my mind isn’t bombarded by outside stimuli and thoughts about things other than writing.
When I strive to avoid certain stresses and avoid easier distractions [for me] like television, social media, and other things that leave me feeling like I lost time really doing not much at all, I’m at my best as a writer.
And as I prepare to start a new book that will be even more of a challenge than the last one, that’s where I need to be.
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Oh! And if you like seeing photos of food, cute animals, and circus arts, my friend Tammy has moved her photo blog over to WordPress. Just sayin’.