Buckle up for this one, bloggers.
How are you balancing your writing with your social-media-ing and promoting of your writing?
Does it ever feel hopelessly out of whack?
For me, the answer is yes. So when my friend Leslie from The Bearded Iris sent me this post and asked whether she’d get kicked off Blogger Island for it, I heartily answered NO WAY.
Blogging can be a major pain in the ass some days. At least for me, and for Leslie, too. Do you face these same challenges?
I can see a stack of 8 colorful books out of the corner of my eye as I write this.
They’re all new releases sent to me by bloggers I’ve come to know and love. Some of them came from publishing houses with formal press releases and clear expectations on how I should promote the author’s book. Others came directly from the writers themselves with signed bookplates and handwritten thank you notes.
It’s a good problem to have.
I love to read, I’m proud of my friends, and every time someone crosses over from “blogger” to “published author” it’s good for all of us.
But if I’m being completely honest, I can’t help but also feel pangs of overwhelming pressure and jealousy.
And then the doubt comes creeping in…
Will I ever write a book?
Do I even want to write a book?
What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said a million times before?
OMG, what’s that smell? And how long has that load been in the washing machine?
I guess I ultimately did start blogging because I believed I had stories to tell and wanted to connect with the world in a way that didn’t involve my nipples.
That was the summer of 2008, way back when I naïvely thought blogging was just about writing.
But five years later, it feels like blogging is much more about quid pro quo than it is about telling my stories.
The art of writing quality blog posts seems to have taken a back seat to connecting via social media. And as if Facebook and Twitter weren’t enough, we must also now harness Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Atomic Reach, Reddit, and more. Every time I log on, I feel compelled to learn and master yet another social medium, lest my blog perish.
Because what difference does it make how great your writing is if nobody sees it?
Maybe it’s always been like this and I’m just slower than most to wake up and smell the Facebook feed, but more and more, “successful” blogging feels like it’s not really about what you know, but who you know.
My newest seemingly mandatory networking time-suck is hanging out in several private Facebook groups with blogging peers.
Are you doing this?
Oy. It’s such a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, private Facebook groups are a great place to build friendships, share best practices, commiserate, and get support.
But on the other hand, the cavalcade of information and constant buzz about blogging memes, tools, and events can be absolutely paralyzing.
And make no mistake, if you don’t form these relationships and support your peers, you WILL be ostracized faster than Tierra and her bitchy eyebrow on that cot in St. Croix.
So you comment, share, link up, vote, review other people’s books, and spend so much time being social, that there is very little time left to do the writing you set out to do.
I don’t know about you, but the more time I spend doing all this social networking and hearing about everyone else’s success, the greater my fear of missing out becomes. Oh yes, that’s a real thing, aka FOMO, not to be confused with MOFO. Although for me, the two kind of go hand in hand because the more anxious I feel about missing out, the more the expletives seem to fly.
Last week I wrote a snarky rant for my weekly column at In The Powder Room called “Xanax makes me a better blogger,” all about the current state of blogging and why I feel so anxious lately.
I was so nervous about publishing it that I tried to mask my true feelings with humor to soften the blow. But once I published it and the comments started to pour in, I knew I had struck a chord.
I just don’t write like I used to. And I can no longer seem to strike a good balance between being social and being creative or productive.
I fear I’ll never get ahead if I’m not social enough, but I devote so much time to social networking that I’m not creating anything worth asking my network to help me promote.
What an anxiety-producing Catch 22!
How did something that began as a fun and nipple-free hobby turn into such a giant pain in the ass? I guess even blogging is not immune to the effects of gravity.
Screw the Xanax. Make it a double dose of Valium with a side of Preparation H.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have eight books to read.
How do you manage your FOMO and strike a balance between being social and prioritizing the rest of your professional and personal goals?
Leslie Marinelli is a writer, wife, mother of three, toilet humor aficionada, and transplanted Pittsburgher trapped in the suburbs of Atlanta. She’s a weekly columnist and the Editor-in-Chief of In The Powder Room, as well as the creative force behind the no-holds-barred blog, The Bearded Iris: A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All. Leslie enjoys writing in the third person as much as she likes finding hair in her food and getting episiotomies. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as @TheBeardedIris.