The curse of social media

27 Aug

I have been a bit off the webosphere radar lately. And ironically, it’s because I’ve been busy organizing the various outlets I am using to increase my internet presence. Website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads…. You know, I know I’m not the first person to say this–it’s one of the blogging topics du jour–but the demands of social media to promote yourself as a writer (or artist, or any other creative type) interfere Big Time with the actual creative process.

Yesterday, my plan was to spend the day working on the second-to-last chapter of the current draft of my new novel. I want it done by the end of the month. Instead, I found myself on my WordPress mirror blog (yes, I have a mirror blog) playing with themes and features. I’m trying to find the best design and layout for my public writer’s blog, in order to get the most out of having one.

But jeez, there is such a thing as too many options. And chipper support page explanations that miss the point of your question could make you pop a blood vessel. I ended up spinning my wheels trying something out, not being able to get it to work properly, and then struggling for an hour searching for documentation to help me out. Then lather, rinse, repeat for many of the other widgets and themes I wanted to try.

FYI, this is not my first day on the internet, or my first year, or my first blog. And I am a computer programmer for a living. This should not be this hard, or this time-consuming.

I suppose I could hire someone to redo my WordPress design for me, but since I am still working out my “concept” for it, I hesitate to do so. I stumbled into that quandary with my new website. I hired a professional designer/web hosting service precisely so they could design it and program it rather than me. But since I haven’t quite nailed down the exact way in which I want to market myself and my books, I fear that fuzziness will reflect itself in the design.

But it’s catch-22, because you want the website up, now, and you want to be updating Facebook and Twitter, now, and you want to be doing all the things that enable social media to help you, now. You can’t wait until your marketing concept has finally, completely gelled. You can’t wait until you’ve figured out the most effective way to use Facebook, or Twitter. You can’t wait until you’ve learned all the tricks that could help you design a snazzy, effective blog.

Everything has to evolve over time. Because that’s the only way you can also find time to write fiction. And that’s really hard for obsessive-compulsive perfectionists like myself to wrap their over-firing neurons around.

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