Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stop the madness, I need to write!

Those who know me know I have a social marketing target on my forehead. I look at sites with an exuberance that (let's be honest) sometimes is a little unsettling, and, when I find a product or site that I like, I'm extremely loyal. I'm more than happy to post, forward, or retweet any material, and I often go out of my way to help anyone who asks. My grandmother always said I had the heart the size of Texas, other relatives (who shall remain nameless) called me a cause-collector, which is a nice way for saying sucker. Yep, I'm a marketer's dream. The problem is being someone else's dream can easily become my nightmare.

I love to read and I read all the time, but it wasn't until I found out that people were following my reviews that I actually started posting them. Seasoned writers can whip something out in the blink of an eye.  I agonize over every word, every comma, writing and rewriting even the simplest of thoughts. One time I found myself running to the Chicago Manual of Style to look up a question about the use of brackets. I have no idea if anyone else is this high-strung when it comes throwing posts into cyberspace, but the bottom line is that it eats away time.

Years ago I made it a policy to reply to messages within a twenty-four hour period. I'm proud to say that, with quite a bit of effort, I've been successful at maintaining the status quo. I'm just as cautious about my replies yet again eating up more time.

I'm now following numerous blogs and am a member on Goodreads, Shelfari, Twitter, Facebook, Authorsden, Book Marketing Network, Coffee's Hot, and about a dozen other sites. I love each and every one of them, but reading, commenting, tweeting, blogging, and replying all take time.

Jay Baer posted a piece today called "Is Your Twitter Addiction Paying Off". The piece is geared toward professional marketers, but the article struck a chord with me. The first line reads, "Twitter can suck you in to a vortex of counter-productivity like one bite of that KFC Double Down sandwich."  I've never had a Double Down sandwich (looks more like a heart attack on a plate to me), but I have chunked away countless hours 140 characters at a time.

The upside to time invested on the web is that I have met some fascinating people, and I know more now than ever thanks to technology. The downside ... I have a half-written manuscript demanding attention with dwindling time to answer its call.

Last week, I actually had eleven sites open on the bottom bar with the manuscript splayed on the screen. I'd write a paragraph, check my email, write a paragraph, reply back on facebook, etc. After hours of this practice, I discovered that, despite my best effort, the writing was crap. I deleted the scene. Again, more time spent.

My days start at five in the morning and end around midnight, but it seems as if lately I'm just spinning my wheels. I took an honest look at my schedule and came up with a game plan (teacher's always have to have a game plan).I now turn the internet off when I'm working on the book. I'm allowing myself thirty minutes in the morning and an hour at night to keep up with the extras. If I write less than four hours in a day, the time is made up that night from the allotted internet time. It's a start, but I still struggle.

How do you manage keeping up with the demands of social networking/marketing and still find time to write?