By Holly West
This past Monday morning I decided to take my first ever social media break. As I'm writing this, it's Tuesday morning and by the time you read this it will be Wednesday. Hopefully, I'll still be on the wagon. My goal is two full weeks away from it.
That's two weeks without checking or posting on any social media websites. I've kind of made Pinterest the exception, but only because I don't check it regularly in the first place and it's filled with pretty pictures of food and interior design and homemade lotion recipes. It doesn't give me panic attacks and feels like a sort of refuge from all the things that cause me stress.
Though this is my first actual break from social media, it's not the first time I've contemplated taking one. I'm an unabashed fan of it--particularly Twitter and Facebook. In fact, if it weren't for social media, I probably wouldn't be published. But with the good comes the bad and I've become increasingly addicted to social media over the years. I'll be writing and the moment my mind wanders, I check Facebook. This happens constantly throughout the day, making it difficult to get anything substantive done. I've known for awhile that I need to break that habit, and this seems like a good time to do it.
The truth is that my social media feeds have become anxiety inducing. They're overwhelmingly about books, selling said books, writing, and of course, selling said writing. It's not the books and the writing that are the problem, it's the selling, and the anxiety that comes with it, that's got me a bit down. It's gotten to the point where I find myself scrolling down my Facebook feed thinking "shut up, shut up, shut up."
I know! It's terrible, isn't it? I feel bad even writing that last sentence. I mean no offense. It's not you, it's me. I'm sick of myself, I'm sick of selling my book, and I'm sick of worrying about the writing of my next book and then having to sell that.
That doesn't mean I'm taking a break from writing that next book, of course. It just means that I feel the need to step back from all the noise and write in relative solitude for awhile. Does that make sense?
Ironically, my last reason for taking a social media break comes from the need for me to explore other options for selling my books. With the second in the series coming out in the Fall, I know there are some things I missed when the first came out. Though I've amassed a nice following via social media, they are mostly personal friends and family. My wider circle is the crime fiction community and other writers. I recently realized that I haven't made a big enough effort to find other readers outside of these circles. For example, my series is historical fiction and yet I have no platform whatsoever in the historical fiction community. This needs to be remedied (even if I'm unsure, exactly, how to do it). Social media will, of course, become a big part of this expansion, but for now I'm going to explore some online forums, participate in listserv and that sort of thing.
So yeah. I'm taking a social media break because I'm sick of selling my book but ultimately, I need some time to explore other avenues to sell my book and my addiction to social media prevents me from taking that time.
But as always, the writing is the thing. If something is taking me away from it, whether mentally or physically, then I need to take steps to get back to it. No excuses, no whining. I'm working on that last part.
By the way, if any of you reading this could share it on Twitter or Facebook, I'd appreciate it. KTHX.