Encouragement, Writing Advice

6 tips on using social media for writers who don’t like using social media.

If you’re anything like me, you loathe the time-wasting medium of social media. But as authors (especially independent authors), it is a necessary evil you must dabble with if you hope to market your books and your brand.

One of the things I dislike about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et al, is their addicting nature. Like a mermaid, social media sings its irresistible songs to seduce writers to waste their time scrolling through YouTube videos, poorly spelled memes, personal relationship drama, and an endless supply of images of pets and meals.

imageSo how do you employ social media to benefit your writing career without it luring you into the rocks of distraction and shipwrecking your free time?

Well, have no fear, I am here to help.

The biggest obstacle you have to overcome is resisting the mermaid’s siren, and the biggest solution to that obstacle is to make social media harder to access.

And here are six ways to do just that:

1). Don’t download social media apps. Instead, force yourself to go through a browser which will take you a little longer to do.

2). After visiting a social media site, be sure to log out. By having to log back in every time to view them (through a browser), you’ve effectively removed the ease by which you can cavalierly access them.

3). Disable all notifications. If you’re not being alerted about a new post or message on social media, you won’t know if you’re missing anything. Keeping notifications on is like entering a bakery when you’re on a diet. Don’t enter the bakery, and don’t enable notifications.

4). Determine to visit social media only once a day (or two days). Pick mornings or evenings (or whatever time is good for you) and stick to it. This way you won’t feel the draw of checking social media every free moment you have because you’ve agreed that you’re only going to check them at predetermined times.

image5). Have an accountability partner to help you limit your social media time and keep you focused on your writing.

6). For every 12 hours (or 24 hours) that you don’t check your social media, reward yourself with something nice . . . like a donut.

I hope these are a help to you. If you have any other suggestions, please share them in the comments section.


Straws and Sinatra: A lesson on table manners. 

Sometimes when I’m at a restaurant I allow my kids to blow the straw wrappers off their straws. It’s usually harmless and there are fewer things they find more delightful than firing off straw wrappers, especially when they strike their intended target (one of their siblings).
imageAnd like any other responsible parent, I recognize that there are some dining establishments you simply do not allow this behavior to occur in. But how do you get your kids to understand the difference between a Burger King and a Fogo de Chão? Children can’t always distinguish between the cashier with a name tag and paper hat, and the gentlemen in a suit who confirms your reservation before collecting your coat and hat.

(For the sake of transparency, we never eat at restaurants where they collect your coat and hat. And since having kids, I’ve forgotten what the inside of even moderately fancy restaurants look like, but I trust you still get my point.)

The other night I was able to enjoy a rare occasion with my family as we were blessed with the opportunity to dine at a nice restaurant. But much to my chagrin, no sooner did we sit down, did the first salvos of slender straw wrappers become airborne.

How did my kids not know this was one of those restaurants where straw wrapper projectiles are frowned upon?

It was in that moment it suddenly dawned on me how I can teach my kids to know the difference, and now I will share that epiphany with you as well. If your kids cannot differentiate between the two types of restaurants, then give them the same advice I gave my kids:
If the restaurant we’re at plays Frank Sinatra, it is not the kind of restaurant where it is acceptable to blow your paper missiles at one another.

Yes, folks, sometimes parenting is that easy. Now get out there and enjoy your kids!