I am not someone who shuns social media. I’ve been on Facebook forever, and I also recently began to use Instagram. While the idea of a relatively text-free interface was a little strange at first, I found that I loved getting to display moments and have a snapshot of my life curated on one page. (And you can follow me here @bawriting.)
I have tried Twitter and heard of Snapchat and Periscope and Google+, and I have a Pinterest and a LinkedIn account, but I am not a regular contributor to any of these platforms for one very simple reason.
I have a limited amount of creative energy.
Writing is a creative enterprise.
It is an endeavor that requires my attention and focus and even the space that I leave empty in the back of my brain just to work on ideas when I’m cooking.
Writing is also generative process.
If I were just a writer who thought about ideas and characters and concepts, but I never generated actual written work, then I would be an ideaer and not a writer. I have to create and produce, and as much as I love it and even in those moments when words flow and the creativity feels great, it is still costly. It takes time and effort and space in my soul.
I found years ago that the energy I expended trying to be clever on Twitter or curate articles and keep my account fresh or the process of engaging with others in those spaces robbed me of creative energy and time to generate writing.
This is not to say that I don’t waste time.
I do. Like a lot of people, I watch too much on Netflix, and I scroll through Facebook and Instagram like a robot when I’m in line at the post office. I take time to grab pics for my Insta, and I try on occasion to share funny happenings on my FB.
My goal with media accounts has been for me to own them, rather than for them to own me.
It’s a difficult balance to strike. I don’t always keep them up to date, and if I need to write, I might go dormant on either platform.
With Twitter, I felt that the pace and expectations were more, the content was harder to create, and the interactions were exhausting. That being said, I do tweet a little bit, just to keep my presence alive.
Most people will tell you as a writer that you need a platform.
I resisted this reality for years. I felt that the processes of creating and feeding the monster that I thought was a platform would rob me.
But I have come around a little.
If you want people to read you, you do need a platform.
You need a place for people to find you.
But that is it.
You do not need to win the internet.
You do not need to run 57 platforms.
You do not need to forget what you are doing while you “media.”
Maybe Twitter is easy for you.
Maybe you don’t enjoy Instagram.
Maybe you dislike them all and you designed a splash page with your name and email and a picture of your book.
You have to find what works for you.
Remember the goal and why you are engaging in media.
Remember that it is not about creating content but creating.
Don’t let creating your content and online self become a bear and replace the time you could spend creating and being yourself.
What media platforms do you use? Do you find some easier and more enjoyable than others? Have you ever spent so much time creating content you didn’t have any time left to create? What advice would you give writers who are developing platforms?