by Liz Talley
I know some of you are screaming “Liz! You’re an idiot! Pinterest is the best thing since sliced bread! In fact I’ve pinned sliced bread to my Best Things Ever Board!!!!”
I get it. I do. I’m on there and I’ve got some experimental stuff pinned on some random boards, and I can see how it could be totally addictive. Just like how I see Twitter being totally addictive. Or Facebook. Or whatever else is floating out there, but at some point I’ve had to say to myself. “Liz, you don’t have time to do every social media outlet known to man. You’ve got books to write and baseball pants to wash” and I said this in a funny French accented voice because it’s more fun that way. Sounds like, “Liz, yooou don’t have zee time to do eveeery social meeedia outlet…” Okay, you get the sound bite. But here’s the thing, I don’t. I’m up to my eyeballs in deadlines and crap to do. In fact, this whole post is just another excuse for not doing what I’m being paid to do which is write. I’m an expert at finding rabbits to chase. This IS a commitment so I don’t ignore commitments, but in the middle of writing, I’m like, “I should do my post ’cause this writing is hard.” And I didn’t even use the fun fake French accent voice.
And it is. Hard. Writing was at one time fun. Waaaaaay back when before deadlines, FB, Twitter or forthcoming release dates. Back when the only deadline I had was a possible contest entry or a promised date of delivery to ENALR’s Keri Ford, my very first critique partner. We were the blind leading the blind, guessing what would be the best for the plot of our stories before we learned we were doingit all wrong, and it was fun tossing out plot ideas, reworking the syntax on sentences and basically floundering around leaning on each other for some kind of direction.
So pardon my disinterest in another tool to distract me from my own words. No offense, Pinterest.
Words were once so fun. The anticipation of what would come next with no synopsis at my elbow, the word games, the luscious layers of petticoats and flirty fans. The research that led my into the streets of Mayfair and the sheer enjoyment of writing a scene that was sexy and mesmerizing if only for myself. I was my audience….so when did that change? When did I stop loving my words, spending my “spare” time polishing until it was a glossy shine? Maybe when it became exactly what it is – business.
Do I wish it were different? That I was back in the infancy of my writing when everything was so damn exciting? A little. But I shipwreck my best intentions at enjoying my writing by using that time in other capacities – FB, Twitter, surfing blogs and playing on writing loops. I feel pressured to be out there, and I wonder if it would be wiser if I were to focus more on my words and less on putting my name “out there.” Wouldn’t all writers benefit by looking more closely at our words, rather than our status or number of retweets? I’m wondering if social media is doing more harm for me as an author than good. What if I’m not getting better because I’m too busy trying to be thought of as better? I’m not sure.
I suppose balance in everything is key. Didn’t Thoreau advise moderation in all things? Oh, but he also said, “Simplify, simplify!”
I don’t think I’m good at simplifying. I’m good at cluttering and trying to do what Natalie suggested yesterday “multi-tasking.” I paper my day with too much I feel I must do, ignoring what I really shoud do – hunker down and focus on my work.
Yes, I know I’m feeling philosophical, but what do you think about balancing the demands of social media with work? Do you think we’ve gotten too out of hand by being too in touch? Do you think some authors spend too much time in promo and not enough BICHOK? Would love your insight whether you’re a writer or a reader.