Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Balance Writing and Social Media

Lynn Kelley asked, 'How do you balance your writing time with your social media time?' Managing time is something that’s constantly on a writer’s mind. There never seems to be enough time for writing let alone social media, family, friends, exercise, reading, house cleaning and the day job. I’ve written a few posts on this topic. One is called 3 Ways to Manage your Time, which include prioritising, scheduling and making goals. Today I will go through the process in terms of social media:

How to prioritise:
1. Ask yourself why you write and what you hope to get out of it.
2. Ask yourself why you spend your time on social media and what you hope to get out of it.
3. Using these answers, work out which is more important to you.
4. Work out how long it takes to achieve your writing and social media goals.
5. Schedule accordingly.

If you are stuck in revisions and use social media as a distraction, then you may need to reassess your time and spend more of it on your work in progress.

If you’ve found a deep satisfaction making connections with others through social media and don’t mind giving up writing time, then you might want to spend more time in social media.

If you are in the process of writing your first novel, you may want to spend more time writing. Remember, social media won’t help sales if you never finish your book.

If you are just starting to build a platform via social media and worry about not having the huge number of followers, then don’t. It’s not about numbers, it’s about connections. If you start early enough you can trust that followers will grow over time. There’s no need to spend countless hours a day on it unless you have the spare time to enjoy it.

The second part of Lynn’s question was how do you schedule your social media time? I give myself until 9am every weekday morning for social media and I try to take the weekends off to avoid burnout. If I fall behind I’ll spend a little extra time before my hubby comes home from work. How do you schedule your social media time?


DEZMOND said...

he he it's true that social media won't help sales if you never finish your book :)

Suze said...

At the moment, I don't. But I am preparing to be more regimented about it in order to serve personal and vocational aims.

Shelly said...

The two days I have off, I spend an hour in the morning, an hour around noon, and another hour before my evening writings session.

The days I work, I check in for thirty minutes and read logs for another thirty.

Friday evenings I play catch up and I blog two days a week now.

Christine Rains said...

I try to squeeze in a total of an hour a day, but writing will always come first.

Laura Pauling said...

Most of my time is spent in the morning or like right now - when I gave my kids an extra ten minutes before lights off!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since writing isn't my career, I spend more time online. You used a key word - connections. That's how I see it.
In fact my post tomorrow pm connections is something rare for me...

Catherine Johnson said...

My habits have been more erratic than usual since I had family staying with me. I tend to get the same amount of writing/editing done at some point every day and the social media is like the sand going in the glass last. Some days minimum some days overdoing it. I like the SM before 9 am idea. Could you clear your emails, read and write blog posts and go on Twitter before 9? Might test it out in the morning :)

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Excellent comments, especially about focusing on that first book. Thank you!


Jeff King said...

I do blog, but that’s as far as my social media follies extend.

That is great advice… thx.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Lynda,
Work pretty much ensures that I don't spend a lot of time tweeting, etc. and yet I'm seeing an increase in numbers. I'm terrible at pre-scheduling posts, so I get them in as and when I can. For me it's not a very high priority thing to do right now, but it does keep me connected to the friends I've made over the years.

Tweetdeck is great, but is a terrible time stealer, so I've shut it down. That way, I can concentrate on all the other editing/writing I need to complete.

Derek Grant said...

I'm new to this whole social media thing (at least Twitter), so this was an interesting read. It gives me somewhere to start. Thanks for posting.

Ashley Ashbee said...

I'll all for the old adage: content is king.

But like any successful business endeavour, promotion tends to take more time than the fun, creative work. It just has to be a huge part in what you do online. And these days social media has to be a part of it.

I don't really schedule time for social media actually. I just make sure I participate in it often. If I'm tempted to use it too much, it's not because social media is disconnecting me or distracting me; it's that I've LET it do that. I believe you can use it frequently without it ending up taking over your life.

Emily R. King said...

I have social media time a half an hour in the morning and a half an hour in the evening. I learned this from receiving great advice from other bloggers. But this doesn't include posting time, which can be much longer depending on the post.

Carrie Butler said...

Well said! I'm guilty of wandering around social media sites, when I get stuck. It's such an easy distraction. *Sigh* Time to buckle down and devote more attention to my revisions! :) Thanks for the post!

Old Kitty said...

Wise, wise, wise words!!!

I think it all boils down to why you blog and what you hope to get out of it - if any!

Me I just blog cos it's a fun distraction and a whole new different world to be explored!

Take care

Unknown said...

In the past year I have just gotten up earlier to finish everything. Now I'm up by five or six.

Also, instead of always reading my blog roll, I will just respond to blogs that leave comments on my post.

Social media is so important, especially because I have a book coming out, but I also need to get the book out so balance is needed.

Great tips!

Susan Marlene said...

Pacing, pacing, pacing it’s all about pacing! This is all very good to consider thank you for sharing! It is so easy to get off track. :)

Carol Riggs said...

I consider Wednesday morning my blogging day. I post my own weekly post, then visit others' posts, being sure to visit the ones who visit MY blog and comment. Then I spend another hour or two on the weekend again, if I have time (if I'm not in the middle of my own writing deadline).

Michelle Fayard said...

Thank you for posting just the type of information I needed to read right now, Lynda. If No. 1 is to write a book that is powerful enough people will remember it after they've closed the cover and if No. 2 is to make sure readers know about this book, it might seem as if you can't make two big goals like this happen without collapsing.

But No. 1 will always have to come first, because without it, No. 2 won't matter; I'd just have a bunch of friends agreeing I don't have a very good book. :)

Mark said...

Very apropos:) I struggle with the same thing, and heard at a writer's conference that you shouldn't spend more than an hour to an hour and a half per day on your blog otherwise it's taking away from your writing too much. Food for thought:)

Golden Eagle said...

Thanks for the advice!

I'm not on Twitter or Facebook, but I do put time into blogging; I usually break it up so I write in the mornings and blog in the afternoon.

M Pax said...

I sandwich it in between workout and shower. That's for blogs alone. I tend to Twitter at different times during the day, but it doesn't take long. Give a few minutes to FB & email in the am.

I need to get better at scheduling chores. It's tough juggling everything.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Running a tad behind on comments and visits. I'll catch up as soon as I can.

Dezzy,and such a shame too ;)

Suze, you'll see a big difference

Shelly, yep, looks like you are organised

Christine, I thoroughly encourage that attitude.

Laura, yeah, mornings work best for me too.

Alex, yes, connections are what keeps me going.

Catherine, I will admit some days I'm not as focused and I will fall behind a little. I do eventually catch up though.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Debbie, hope it helps

Jeff, nothing wrong with that.

J L Campbell, yep, I don't do a lot of tweeting either. I'm there enough to maintain a slow growth but that's all the time I can afford on it. I refer to spend the time on blogging at the moment.

Derek, so glad it helped

Ashley, absolutely. I, on the other hand, let it distract me because I do enjoy it so much. Because of that I have to be a bit more strict with myself.

E R King, yes, sometimes posting takes a whole lot longer. I will often think up posts at the local coffee shop on Sunday mornings.

Carrie, hehe I think many of us can relate to that.

Old Kitty, it is fun isn't and yes, I've learnt so much from reading blogs and making connections.

Clarissa, yes, I've had to do that as well...along with a few favourites.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Susan, so, so easy! :)

Carol, yes, I like your system. You are still able to make real connections with people which is important.

Michelle, well said. And exactly right.

Mark, aah, interesting.

Golden, yep, I really don't think we have to cover ALL the social media forms.

M Pax, that's one good thing about twitter--it doesn't take long. Meh, chores can be last on the list (unless you expect visitors lol).

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of scheduling social media.. but I tend to just pop on when i'm in the middle of other stuff ... I'm going to give the scheduling a try ;)

LynNerdKelley said...

Wow, Lynda, you sure answered my questions perfectly! Thank you so much. It turns out that I love blogging, making so many wonderful connections, learning sooooooo much, and just recently learned about and tried community writing! What a plus side to social media. It really works for me. No, it's not about numbers. I can only get to know so many people at a time and so I'm taking it slow, but am still overwhelmed. Blogging is my favorite social media, and I've committed to writing one post a week, for now, and concentrate on reading and commenting on others' posts. I'm finally getting the hang of twitter and enjoy that, too, and have done a couple writing challenges on it. Don't have as much time for Facebook, but I never spent that much time on it anyway. Social media is pulling me out of the funk I've been in since learning new technology that has caused me so many meltdowns and much frustration. And I'm writing more, too. Thanks again for this post. It's so insightful and helpful.

Anonymous said...

You are right I know you are right. I have been procrastinating. I must get back to my non-social media writing. :O0

Laila Knight said...

Hi Lynda, I'm still working on balancing social media with my writing. I have a feeling eventually I'll cut down to three days a week or it'll get overwhelming. :) I don't know how you do it.

Samantha Sotto said...

I NEEDED to read this post. Thank you :)

LTM said...

oh, man. This balance is SO hard for me... like right now, I've got to get off the computer. I use SM for networking but also for checking in with friends/family for getting information about stuff, and of course procrastination... But I try to limit it to a few hours in the a.m. and p.m.

it's not an ideal system... :D <3

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have cut down my social media time drastically. I realized it was eating into my writing time. I need to work out a schedule for my time on the internet.

Arlee Bird said...

You make great points here. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but sometime we just have to do it. I probably spend way too much time with social media.

Tossing It Out

Maeve Frazier said...

Great posts and comments. I try to balance it out. I have great success on some days, less on others. It is a W.I.P. :) I have been talking to someone who is new to the writing/blogging, I told her that your blog is a must, must read. She will get so many tips and advice from your blog. I haven't been disappointed!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Michelle, hope scheduling helps you.

Lynne, yes, it's easy to get overwhelmed with social media. I think what you are doing is really great. You are definitely giving yourself enough time to make those connections. Good connections.

Madeleine, hehe, I've been procrastinating too.

Laila, I only post 3 days a week. I used to post everyday. That was too much to maintain.

Samantha, you're welcome.

LTM, yep, it is important to limit ourselves.

Rachna, hope it helps

Lee, definitely easier said than done. In fact, I should be writing right now ;)

Maeve, oh! Thank you so very much. That means a great deal to me.

L.A Speedwing said...