If you're anything like me, you're easily distracted by cute kitten videos and posts by your momma's co-worker's friend you met once 3 years ago. We all enjoy the sweet, beautiful, and sometimes humorous moments of those we follow on social media. But the whole social media thing can quickly become a time-suck for creatives. When we only have 30 minutes a day to work on our art, book, blog, or business, all these apps can become huge distractions that take us further from our dreams.
For the past few weeks, I've been experimenting with different ways to fix my squirrel mentality. (If you don't get this reference, go watch the movie UP, then report back. Tell me how much you love Dug and relate to him every time you're on Facebook.) I've been at this author thing for quite some time, and only now do I think I finally have a balance (ever so fragile that may be) on my social media presence. Below you'll find my strategy for saving time and money managing your social media while still maintaining the relationships that matter most.
Quick tip: NETWORk with Purpose
I love people, and one of my professional missions is to build up other authors and creatives by sharing their content, commenting, and liking their work whenever possible. I've shared, posted, liked, and commented for almost every author I've come into paths with. I've written reviews, shared cover reveals, and read advanced reader copies of books. I've edited books, helped writer friends with their queries, synopsis, and first chapters. I've given loads of advice, and I've tried my best to respond to every email and comment. When this is mutual, it's encouraging and makes the world a better place. When it isn't, however, it's time to reevaluate.
And can I tell you a secret? I'm tired.
Don't get me wrong, I love helping people. But the time has come when I have to guard what little extra moments I have to work on my own dreams. I've felt spent, used, and overwhelmed in the past. People have befriended me just to get what they could from me, and at the time, I thought we were friends. I wanted relationship, but they wanted free help. I've learned with time and prayer that I simply cannot help everyone, and I'll only be available to genuine people who I am in authentic relationship with.
If you've been at this for any amount of time, you've probably experienced something similar. Seriously... Every. Single. Person. I've ever met has said they wanted to write a book.
Share, comment, like, and encourage those who you're in mutual relationship with. If you have spare time to reach out and help others, great. If not, give yourself enough grace and respect to kindly say "no."
Keep this in mind as we move forward.
Identify Your Weakness
Facebook is where my time goes to die. I know a lot of people have shifted away from the Book, but I like the intimacy of it. I like flipping through the travel photos of the girl who sat three seats down from me in marching band and haven't "seen" all those years since. Yep. That's me. Weird photo-obsessed lady. So when I decide to browse Facebook, my allotted 10 minutes can turn into 30. And if I do this a couple of times a day, I'M IN TROUBLE!
What's your social media addiction? Okay, now hold that thought.
Apps you'll need
Facebook Pages and Groups
Kick the Guilt
"But," you're thinking, "I don't want to miss someone's birthday, baby announcement, or....."
This is the toughest part. I know I've been missing A LOT of cool stuff not checking my personal Facebook much anymore. But the real, dirty truth is... O well. I really only need to know about things going on with the people I interact with on a regular basis. In fact, now that I'm not inundated with other people's highlight reels, I feel a bit lighter and freer. I don't feel as much pressure to measure up.
The best thing about it all is that I'm more present. No more whipping out my phone every time I sit down at a restaurant. No more taking it out to browse between chatting with my husband. I finally feel like I'm in control over not only what I put into the world but what it feeds back to me. My eyes only see things from those I care about and from those who care about me. My relationship with social media is shifting from "Gah, I hate this. Why do I keep wasting my time? Who even cares? I wish I could publish another book, look thinner, get a new job, or [fill in the blank] like they did." Give it a rest, sweet friends. You can do this.
Yes, you'll miss some announcements and some cute photos, but in the end, you'll survive. And in time, you'll thrive. All that free time will help you focus on what's really important. In our last days, no one will say they wished they spent more time on social media. So don't.
What are your social media tips?
The Faithful Creative is a blog, community, and magazine for believers who create. Our hope is to bring you encouraging and inspirational articles that enrich your life, art, and faith.