Tracy Lee Karner photograph
Essay

Thoughts about Social Media for Writers/Authors

Joy! Easter has arrived, we are in the midst of the 8 days of Passover, and my 6-week step-back from social media has passed.

During these past six weeks, a whole season began, happened and ended. Transformations occurred (I’ll blog about those in future posts).

Transformations are always occurring because life is change. I believe that it’s important to sometimes stop doing, to be still enough to notice, appreciate, and respond to what is transpiring. I’ve benefited from this time of solitude. One of the things I recognized is that during this past year, I allowed social media to distract me too much from my central purpose.

Some months ago, while I was doing social media, I received a generous and delightful gift, a touching review on Amazon from someone I deeply respect and admire. I discovered this gift (given in September of 2014) only after I stepped back from social media (5 months later)! Not only did that 5-star review give me a needed dose of encouragement to keep writing, but Shirley Showalter’s careful reading and wisdom-filled response to my memoir helped me clarify, and re-commit to what I’m doing with my memoir, with all my writing, with my very life! (Thank you, Shirley–I’m deeply indebted to you! And please forgive me for not noticing your kindness when it happened.)

I’m not giving up social media but I am changing how I think of it, and I will be spending less time using it. I’m staying with it, however because, although I’ve never met Shirley, and I’ve never met most of you face-to-face, you all have become dear to me (I’m talking about you)!

I found an article about social media by Jane Friedman. I agree with her 5 philosophies of social media for writers, not because she’s an expert, but because her philosophy resonates with my own experience. These five things are true for me.

  1. Social media ought to be about relationships–about respect and trust. If its motivation or focus is sales and marketing, it’s merely blatant self-promotion.
  2. For writers, social media ought to be creative. In other words it should be about the process and practice of writing, about discovery. It shouldn’t be about meeting goals, quotas and deadlines.
  3. If it isn’t fun, don’t bother.
  4. Authenticity matters.
  5. There are no rules for social media success, therefore I’m free to make my own rules, or live by no rules.

An interesting note about freedom. The stories of Easter and Passover are both about liberation. There is bitterness, travail, suffering and death. Then God intervenes and sets people free, not to do their own thing, but rather for a good purpose–to be in right relationship with God.

I feel liberated. I’m letting go of the bondage of social media, the expectations and demands. I’m going to allow myself the freedom of just focusing on the goodness I’ve found in connecting with you all.

And so good readers and cherished friends, I’m back, to relate, to create, to enjoy, and to engage. I’ll post and comment as the Spirit moves me.

How have you been and what are you doing these days? 

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34 thoughts on “Thoughts about Social Media for Writers/Authors”

  1. Welcome back Tracy! Very nice post – I agree that it helps to take a break, even a short one, step back and see what is going on – otherwise, it is easy to lose a “big vision”. And the 5 rules which you mentioned make perfect sense.
    Happy Holidays!

    1. Hey, Anatoli! How have you been.

      It was very helpful for me to take a long break. I might make it a tradition. It’s good to be back.

      And happy holidays to you!

      Where in CT are you again? Ken and I are going to take a day trip over to Hartford and Litchfield. Are you anywhere in the vicinity of those?

      1. I’m a bit further down in CT – Stamford, which is close to the border of New York. It is about another 80 miles down from Hartford. But if you Depending on when you plan to be here, we can meet mid way, let’s say somewhere in New Haven. And, to top it off, we can see if Francesca and Stefano can join us, as they live 20 minutes away from me, in Fairfield. Let me know!

        1. That’s a good idea. New Haven is 1.5 hours from me. I would make a special trip on a Saturday or Sunday to do brunch, in early June, or July. Surely we can all pick a day. My weekends are fairly flexible between now and then (except for Father’s Day weekend).

  2. Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Tracy and welcome back! So glad you are feeling so liberated and empowered. I’m doing well. Have missed you here in the blogisphere, but love what you’ve done while away. ❤
    Diana xo

  3. Welcome back Tracy, I’m glad to hear that your break has re-focussed you on what’s important to you. I agree with all of the ‘rules’ above – I learned very quickly that the most enjoyable and important thing about blogging was relationships and creativity.

    1. It’s good to see you again, Andrea. I learned the “rules” rather early, too. But I think I still put a lot of pressure on myself to perform, to live up to expectations. But, that was about relationships, too. I like people so much, and I tend to think about people even when they’re not in front of me, but I don’t have the stamina to type all day long, to tell everyone I’m thinking of them. That’s the trust part, I think. That in this corner of the blogosphere, we rely on the fact that we’re being genuine with each other, and aren’t just here to try and sell products, or even to sell ourselves.

      It’s really a very special corner of the world, I think! I’m glad to be back.

  4. Who-hoo, hellooooo Tracy, I’ve missed your posts. I love all your points here and so agree. I steer right away from any blogs which are blatantly self promoting their own writings. I’m pretty happy reading about genuine people and their everyday occurrences, the trials and tribulations of writing and why we do it. I think it shows in an individual’s writing whether they are enjoying it or not and for me, that’s why I do it and that’s what I want to read about elsewhere. So, well said, it’s lovely to have you back. Happy holiday weekend 😄

    1. Hellooooooo to you, too, Jenny. I, too, steer away from the blatant self-promoting spaces. It’s pretty clear to me when people are pushing for a sale, and not in the least bit interested in the relationship.

      I, too, simply like connecting with other writers and sharing experiences. I think blogs are a great way to find one another, because those of us who write are slightly “other” than the main stream. I don’t know how it is in Europe/Britain–but here, only about 25% of the population reads 1 book a year. Of that about 10% are avid readers. And of that, only a minority are also writers. Not easy to find people who understand the compulsion.

      And it’s a joy when we do find kindred spirits! Glad to see you again. Happy holidays!

  5. Welcome back, Tracy. It’s so good to feel your presence again and “hear” your wise words. You’ve posted another excellent, helpful and generous blog, so you’re off and running again. A blessed Easter to you and your family.

  6. So glad to see you’re back Tracy and I fully understand your retreat. These past winter months have been quite dark for me on a soul level. I was restless and feeling stuck. Social media wasn’t helping any much. On the contrary, I’ve found it only more distracting from what I truly aspired. Had enough of procrastination so I took a break as well for about month. Felt really great and liberating! Nothing but good. More self-awareness and the conscious choices you make from that. Brought my writing back in motion. If you’re interested in reading; https://karinvandenbergh.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/lent-coming-clean/

    1. It seems we’re in much the same place.

      Social interaction is good, but too much can be a form of gluttony. I like your post about fasting–very informative!

      Good to hear from you again. Continue to live well! Cheers!

  7. A big smile popped on my face when I saw your name on my news feed Tracy! Welcome back my friend! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed your time away from social media and I can’t wait to hear about the transformations that you spoke of. Truth be told, I haven’t been that busy in the blogging world over the past six weeks! It feels like a blink of an eye 😉

    1. And a smile popped on mine, when I saw you show up here. 🙂

      It was a blink of an eye. I can’t believe 6 weeks passed. It was so refreshing, I might make an annual tradition of it.

      But it’s good to be back. I’ve missed you all!

  8. Welcome back Tracy, so lovely to see you here again, I have missed your inspirational posts! The one word that jumps out at me here is ‘bondage’. Oh what a blessing to be free from that and to be able to blog and join in with social media without feeling so trapped and owned by it. I love Jane Friedman’s points about social media. Interestingly, I found her randomly online a while ago and bookmarked a couple of her articles about writing. I’m so glad you benefited so much from your break 🙂

    1. It’s good to see you, Sherri. You’re right — that freedom from bondage is one we have to believe in and embrace. Sometimes I get tricked into forgetting that I really am free.

      I subscribed to Jane’s newsletter. I don’t always read it, but she had tons of interesting and pertinent information.

    1. Thank you, Stefano. It’s good to be back. I feel happy!

      Anatoli and I were talking about meeting in New Haven sometime this summer for brunch. We’d like to coordinate it with you two. Expect to be hearing from him–I’ll let him handle the details.

  9. I try to unplug from social media every few weeks, and go without it completely until I am no longer checking the screen every 10 seconds, forgetting that I blocked facebook etc. from my computer. It really helps.

  10. Thank you, Tracy, for sharing the 5 philosophies. I do feel that I have spent too much time on social media and have forgotten my purpose. That is something I plan to change and thank you for the nudge in that direction. 😉

    1. It’s easy to do — to spend too much time on any endeavor, meanwhile forgetting our purpose. It’s good to “see” you again!

      I’m going to try to spend less time, but still stay in touch. There is so much in life I want to do! Social media is fun, but time-consuming.

  11. I have been very low-key with social media myself the past three months so I did not really know that you were gone as when I came back, you were there! I agree that social media can distract us from the real world. I am currently spending half my time at my mother’s place and when I am there (in three-week patches) I do not do any blogging. I am much more relaxed because of it.
    Great to ‘see’ you again though, and welcome back. 🙂

  12. Here I am, in catch-up mode once again … can’t believe I missed 4 or 5 of your posts. Well, actually I can believe that because I haven’t been on WordPress for the past month or so. These social media philosophies resonate with me. Truly, it needs to be relationship based. Yes, I would like people to come visit my blog, but that’s not the central purpose. Connection is. So, I block all those people who follow me on Instagram or Twitter with sites that promise likes/follows and feature pictures of bottoms in thongs. It’s not a numbers game!

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