I haven’t been able to write steady for about six months. Too many author voices are in my head and bogging me down. It’s not that they are telling me I can’t measure up; it’s just that everything seems too much. Social media has added demands to my author life that I never thought possible. How do I get back to writing and not letting the world overwhelm me?
I’ve considered quitting Facebook and Twitter altogether, but don’t want to abandon them. I don’t mind retweeting. I’m in a Facebook book club, so I want enjoy that. But suddenly I’m finding my beta-reading group and other writing groups too exhausting. My Facebook feed and Twitter feed will never stop. I’m also in charge of setting up blog posts for an up-and-coming LDS beta reader group, so I have to stay connected for that.
Here’s what I’ve been doing, other than taking a break from the world and hiding in a corner.
I’ve unfollowed many friends and family on Facebook. I follow those who don’t share every. single. thing. I stay away from people who post recipes. I follow those who offer great interaction and posts that help me as an author. What’s great about FB is that you don’t have to unfriend people. Just unfollow them for a time. You can always hop over to their profile if you want to catch up.
I don’t scroll my Twitter feed. Often porn pops up, despite my attempts to block it. I created lists of people who I want to engage with and who I want to retweet and scroll those. I click on followers to see who else I want to follow, and I post maybe once a day.
I just don’t have time for anything else in the social media world.
About the author voices in my head. Every author I’ve engaged with seems to have their own opinion about how to do things as an author, and they seem to think they are right. I just stopped listening for a while. Yes, I surface for critiques and feedback, but when I start scrolling posts about other authors and what they are doing, I get overwhelmed, thinking I have to do what they are doing now or learn what they are learning now. I had to stop and tell myself I’m in a different place. And that’s ok.
There’s a time for engagement and a time to work things out on your own. When I’m drafting, I have to turn everything off. I can’t focus if someone is spouting story structure over here and character arcs over there. Write the story first, without the other voices. Revisions are the time to get opinions.
As always, write for yourself, and only write the parts people want to read. That is the best writing advice above all.