Burn out – I have it. I have it bad.
After releasing The Path to You back on June 16th, I went on a whirlwind tour so to speak. I hosted my very first Facebook event – which went VERY well! thanks to the authors who helped – and participated in several others all within a two week period. Add to the that the weeks prior spent working on edits, formatting, final cover revisions, and making all of the promo graphics for the scheduled FB and Twitter posts, not to mention those made on the fly right before the events themselves.
By the end of June, I didn’t want to look at my computer or at Facebook. Then add all of the political decisions and repercussions that have happened recently and I was loathe to go anywhere near an electronic device with internet access. This past weekend was warm, sunny, and I kept busy with other things around the house. The weather also helped keep me offline. Our building has older lines running through the walls to the connector box (hubby explained it to me but I don’t remember all the technical terms). Guess which wall the blazing afternoon sun directly hits? You guessed it! The one where the cable runs. Basically, don’t watch any important TV shows or expect ‘blazing fast’ internet speeds from 3pm to 8pm any day during the summer. I have to do my surfing first thing in the morning or late at night.
Being a self-published author entirely responsible for my own promotion leaves me in a quandary. Stay connected during waking hours and catch everything or take a few hours off and risk missing out on a possible career-making opportunity? Any day of the week, I’ll choose the “few hours off” option. The first month I had a smart phone, friends told me “oh, you need this notification, and this one. You don’t want to miss this one.” After a week of constant dings, notices, and tweet noises I damn near threw the phone against the wall. That’s when I started rethinking just how much I want to be online. (I know, crazy considering I’m sitting at a computer, writing a blog post that will be shared to my various social media sites – trust me, the irony has not been lost on me). Very rarely do I have any sort of notifications turned on. FB messenger is about it because of the Street Team I’m a part of. Other than that? Just text messaging is turned on.
Why talk about burn out? Because it’s beginning to affect my peace of mind. I’m continually baffled, angered, and worried by the vitriol, lies, and attacks going on. Yes, we live in a country that gives us the right of free speech, but I’ve read some things that were better left unsaid. From the Twitter bullying of E.L. James (if you don’t like her books, don’t buy them, don’t keep posting article after article about her, and certainly don’t participate in an all-out free for all attacking the woman) to the various responses to the same-sex marriage decisions, to the Confederate flag debate. All of these things have made me question the need for so many social sites. I’ve been tempted several times over the last week to delete most of my accounts, but as an independent author, I must pet the dog that guards the gate.
Even though people make me want to quit, it’s people that make me stay. I’ve made quite a few friends – many of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person – and I have the unique opportunity to talk with people from around the world. Leave a message before work? Have it answered by someone in Australia by the time I leave work. Lunch time here means dinner time for a buddy in London. I wake up to pictures of a beautiful sunrise in Scotland as the actors and production team bring one of my favorite book series to life. I go to bed glancing through pictures of sunsets around the world.
I’m taking the next week off (if at all possible – we’ll see if I can hold out!) in order to recharge, get back into my exercise routine and to write without the internet distractions. I’m still reading the news, but I’ve switched to BBC.com and thankfully, it’s just the news. There’s no commenting allowed on the articles. For now, I can read the news and just the news.
What positives have you experienced from using social media? When have you had to take a step back from it?
Have a great week everyone.