By Edie Melson @ediemelson
I’m just back home from several weeks of teaching at writing conferences. In spite of the fact that I’m a card-carrying introvert, I love getting to share what I’ve learning about publishing and marketing with other writers. One of the things I get asked over and over again is, “How do you accomplish so much and still have time to write.”
This question always thrills me, because I have some tips that can truly make a difference in the person who’s asking. My tips aren’t difficult or expensive or even hard to implement. Many are ones I’ve developed over the years as I’ve tried to give myself more uninterrupted writing time. Others are ones I’ve learned from fellow authors. Today I’m going to share them with you.
- You’re not using a scheduling program.There is no way I could have such a consistent social media presence without the use of Hootsuite. Buffer is also a good option. Either one you choose will be a life-changer. I can schedule all my social media posts (not blog posts, just social media) for the entire day in thirty-minutes. Then I can appear to be online, while I’m actually working on writing.
- You’re trying to beactiveon too many networks. Active is the key word here. I have accounts—and up-to-date info—on all the big networks. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope, LinkedIn, YouTube, Goodreads, and probably a couple of others I’ve forgotten. So anyone searching these networks will see a recognizable picture of me and a link to my website. BUT, I’m only actively posting to Twitter and Facebook. I just can’t keep up with more than that. And truthfully, that’s enough. Choose two or three networks and stick with those.
- You haven’t done your homework and built a library.No, not a room—or building—in which to store your books. I’m referring to a previous post aboutHow to Always Have Something of Value to Share on Social Media. If you don’t have a ready-made list of places to look for social media updates, it will take you a long time to come up with things to share.
- You’re not using a timer to keep track of your time.I get it. I can spend hours on Facebook, just browsing. But that’s free-time activity, not publishing-related activity. Don’t waste your valuable writing time by getting lost on a social media network. If you have trouble with this, set a timer.
- You’re posting different things to different networks.Yes, in an ideal world, where we all had paid assistants, we’d take time to compose social media updates specific to each network we’re on. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us don’t live in that type of world. We have to do the best we can, with the time we have. For me, that means composing one update and sending it out to multiple networks. I don’t think managing my time this way has hurt me. I have over 19,000 Twitter followers, 1000s of Facebook friends and followers and 1000s of other connections across other networks.
- You spend too much time watching your numbers.You agonize over friends and followers, trying to anticipate the ups and down an stay on an even uphill trajectory. Relax. Your numbers will rise and fall for an infinite number of reasons—most of which you’ll have little or no control over. Do what you need to do (be consistent, use a scheduling program, don’t talk about yourself very often, etc.). Then take a deep breath and limit your number crunching to once a month. If you do the things I’ve mentioned here (and on this blog), your numbers will grow. But more importantly, you’ll make real and valuable connections that will be supporters and readers.
- You aren’t being consistent on social media.By that I mean you skip a day or two (or a week or two). Then, to make up for it, you spend several hours at a time on social media. ThisAll or Nothing Social Media Mindset (I did an entire blog post here) is as bad as doing nothing. It keeps you from gaining any kind of momentum with the effort you’re making. Spending ten or fifteen minutes a day, five days a week will get you way further down the road than spending two hours, once a week. The reason is because your name is out there more often. With social media, it’s how often your name shows up, not for how long a time it’s there, that makes the difference.
These are the main things I’ve found that suck my writing time into social media time. I’d love to find what time-wasters plague you—and how you combat them. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her most recent fiction – Alone, and nonfiction – While My Child is Away. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and has just been named as one of the 2017 Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine.