Is Social Media Evil for Writers?
by Mari Wells
Social Media, is it good or evil? In my life, the life of a writer, it’s both. Every agent I’ve considered says my platform is important. I should have a large platform before trying to pitch my novel to them. Websites tell me that a publisher will look at my platform before accepting my novel. They tell me that my social media following is a deal breaker. What is a writer to do? Get on the social media bandwagon, that’s what.
My social network consists of Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. I am new to all of it, and that is all my mind can wrap around still. When I wake up in the morning I start turning on the computer and simultaneously turn on tabs for my Email, Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I spend the good part of the morning giving my network attention.
I reply to any comments I’ve received on my blog, and go off to like and comment on the blogs I follow. I check those of my closest friends first. Then I check emails and reply to any if needed or send new emails. I browse through Twitter replying, retweeting or favoriting any that need attention. I check Facebook and again reply or Like my friend’s pages or posts. By this time, someone has sent a new reply or comments that need my response or attention, and it keeps going.
Sounds fine, right? An hour or two, or maybe even three to building your network, that’s sounds reasonable. Well no, it isn’t. Why? My writing doesn’t start until early noon. As soon as I start writing, something happens that needs my attention, immediately. I then have all of my daily tasks that also need to be cared for. Other writers have out of the house jobs. What seems to suffer? My writing and I’m sure their writing too. I need to make a daily plan to make sure my writing gets done, but my media network is also cared for.
I was nervous when I started to use social media. I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I didn’t know how to use Facebook or Twitter. I thought I needed to know special codes for writing a blog. I silently cursed the whole idea. I tried as long as I could not to do it. I also knew it would take time from my writing. I understood how it would take large amounts of time, to be successful. I have been happily surprised. Facebook and Twitter aren’t as hard as a social media newbie thinks they are.
What I think is most important though, I have made deep friendships with some of my followers. They have encouraged me when I needed it and help me in my writing. We share tips and knowledge with each other. They have encouraged me to write in genres I wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Without taking a risk and the time to use social media, I wouldn’t have this. I cringe to think about how much I have missed. This was something I didn’t expect, but it makes it all worth it in the end.
Mari Wells is a wife and homeschooling mom of four children. She steals moments in the chaos of being a stay-at-homeschooling mom to write or love the social media monster. She wakes before dawn to write her short stories or work on one of her many novels. She’s still awake late into the night researching or working on blog posts. Find her at www.mariwells.wordpress.com, on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/YPQ50R, or on Twitter @Mari_Wells4.
A note from the Muses: Thank you so much Mari for stopping by our site and contributing such a thorough article! You’re right. Social media can be pretty crazy to keep up with, but we too are thankful for it. Otherwise, we never would have met you!
What do you guys think? Is social media a good or bad thing? Has it helped you more as a writer or does it hinder you and run into writing time? What tips can you offer others just embarking on this social media journey?