I love it when writers pretend they have to be on social media because otherwise they won’t get a book deal.
Even though they haven’t yet written a book.
A writer said exactly that to me earlier this week, that she’s building her social media following for when she’s ready to sell her book. Except she’s been working on the book proposal for the last year and hasn’t made it past the introduction.
It would be amusing if it weren’t so sad.
And if I hadn’t once done the exact same thing.
The truth, of course, is that a social media following is not something that can ever replace the actual writing of the book. You’re not there every day counting how many “likes” your post got because you’re trying to get an agent or impress a publisher. You’re there for the dopamine hit, the one that keeps on coming and that requires you to log on more and more frequently until before you know it, you’re losing entire days and weeks to inane arguments and blocking your mother.
I left social media a while ago. I haven’t deleted my accounts because I know I might want to pick them back up at a later time, but for now, I try to avoid it as much as possible (except for my Finishers FB group). I don’t care for the echo chamber that social media provides, the holier-than-thou commentary from people who are shockingly unholy in real life, and the hours of my day that could be spent with my family, walking by the beach, reading novels by writers I’ve not yet discovered, and digging deeper into my own writing.
I’m no saint and am, by no means, immune to the charms of the immediate dopamine hit that being liked 137 times provides. But I’ve found another way to fulfill that need and my version looks like this:
This is one of the biggest shifts I made last year. Figuring out a way to take the validation that being on social media provided and instead validating my writing efforts by giving myself the gold sticker reward that I needed.
It doesn’t work on Day 1—you see right through it—and it doesn’t even work on Day 3, 4, or 5, because you’re not a toddler and you know it, but by Day 10, the habit has gained power, you’ve got momentum, and you’ve realized that there still is a child inside of you that has become dependent on that daily hit and it’s so addictive, you don’t want to stop.
The result of the extra time I’ve had away from social media has certainly been improved productivity, but also a better quality of life. My husband and I spend a lot of time together watching comedy shows on Netflix, reading books, and talking for hours about our dreams and our future. I’ve had a really productive year and I’ve worked a fraction of the time that I did the year before. I started my year in England, spent some time in India, Thailand, and Wales, and ended it back in Brighton, England in a beautiful house overlooking the sea. My income is the highest its ever been and I continue to add new skills to my repertoire with an eye to the future.
I’m a happier artist, and therefore a happier person, too.
It all started with a simple decision: WRITE MORE WORDS.
And I’m committed to it even more so this year, in 2020.
I’m by no means alone. I’ve now got an amazingly solid group of writers joining me for the challenge to write more, write daily, and write with joy and ease. We’ll be going strong for the three months starting February 1, 2020.
I’ve still got a few spots left, so if you’re interested, check out what we’re doing here and join me for the writing ride of your life.
There will be bumps along the way, as there must be, but you’ll always have fun.
Can’t wait to see you there!