Please welcome my guest Dale Mayer

The social networking drain

Hi everyone.

I am uniquely suited to the lifestyle of a writer. At least I thought I was. For over a decade I’ve earned my living off sitting down at my computer and writing for clients. Some years were good and some not so good. Which given the economic situation we’ve all gone through for the last several years, is a common story.

Sitting alone, in an empty (yes, I’m dreaming!) or almost empty house and working alone for weeks on end at a computer is not an ideal setup for many people. Too many don’t have the necessary ‘get-to-it’ type of drive and many others don’t have the ‘stick-to-it-ness” required to work independently. Writing fiction is even harder to write on your own. Books require days, weeks and months if not years to write – and that’s just the first draft.

So for anyone who likes their own company, who is happy working alone, writing is a great type of career. But as you become more entrenched in this solitary existence, it can be hard to assimilate into the rest of the world. And when you get thrust into the limelight, it’s like being a deer caught up in the headlights of an oncoming truck!

When I heard that I was a finalist in Brava’s Writing for the Stars contest, I was overwhelmed with joy – quickly followed by confusion and panic and a mad scurrying to catch up with the outside world.

As the contest will be determined by votes, that meant I needed to work at getting my name out there. It means signing onto facebook on a regular basis, twittering everyday and blogging on many sites – just to inform people about the contest and to promote my entry – but it’s hard! I’m not that comfortable with social networking, never really sure of what to say, and am struggling with fitting it all in. I’m a prolific writer, work full time as a freelance writer, and I’m a single mom of four!

The challenge of the contest hasn’t been the writing, the comments, the voting, and the social networking – no, the challenge has been time management! I’m doing it, by focusing on one day at a time and staying steps ahead of my tomorrows, but it’s not easy. At least not yet. If I manage to go the distance through to round five and the finish line – it should be second nature – if I don’t collapse first!

How do you fit in the facebook, Twitter, Myspace or whatever sites you might be linked to, keep a family happy, do your job, if you work, and still find time to write? What tricks do use to keep everything from blowing up in your face?

Dale Mayer
www.dalemayer.com
Writing for the Stars Finalist – Voting starts October 11th at
http://www.rtbookreviews.com/content/writing-stars-vote-first-paragraph-and-last-line

Dale can be found on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/dalemayer or you can follow her on Facebook

29 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // October 16, 2010 at 1:40 AM  

    Hey, Dale! We all face some big decisions, especially shy folks who just want to write.

  2. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 1:40 AM  

    Thanks for inviting to visit for the day. It's such fun to be here!

    Dale

  3. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 1:43 AM  

    Hi Mary,
    I wonder if the shyness sends us to writing as a nice solitary hobby or if the process of becoming a writer, out of necessity, helps makes us more of a hermit and therefore over time more shy??

    Dale

  4. Mary Marvella // October 16, 2010 at 1:59 AM  

    I think a lot of writers choose writing because it is solitary. Several of my writing friends are shy, or so they say. I'm a former language arts teacher and am NOT shy. I could become a writing hermit now, though.

    We're getting an early start! Let everyone else catch up with us.

  5. Donnell // October 16, 2010 at 4:17 AM  

    Oh, gosh, Mary and Dale, the idea of putting myself out there in this forum....I think I'd rather wash windows on a tall building. I hope you get some good advice, Dale, because the social networking allegedly required is my least favorite thing to do. I love to talk writing, but focus it on me? No thanks ;) You have such a terrific background. Further, I think outgoing people can be storytellers also. Mark Twain was such a man, right?

  6. Nancy J. Cohen // October 16, 2010 at 6:26 AM  

    It's very difficult to manage the time requirements of social networking. I do my own blogs and tweets and FB updates but don't often read others. That would be too time consuming, and it already is horribly distracting to keep up with all the listserves I get. That's my real time sink but I learn such useful info from them.

  7. Nightingale // October 16, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

    Boy do I know how feel about the time drain! I work a day job and writing is next then I try to squeeze in promoting and a little social life. Good luck on the contest. I voted. Great opening paragraph.

  8. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM  

    Hi Donnell, Storytellers used to be a honored position in every community and I doubt they were shy back then. Think of bards - they were singers, storytellers and entertainers. To do something like that - me??? Uh uh, no way. I was more outgoing when younger, but I do enjoy my own space more now!

  9. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

    Hi Nancy, I can't imagine trying add in keeping up a blog of my own. I have added an RSS feed of the links I check out daily. That's connected to my Gmail account. It does save time because it tells me at a glance what's been updated and stops me from clicking on every blog and website to see what's new.

    Now if only I could write in the time I save!

  10. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

    Hi Nightingale, thanks so much for the comment on the paragraph and for the vote! It's tough pulling it all together isn't it? It's doable, but does require dedication. Have a great weekend!

  11. Barbara Monajem // October 16, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

    Hi, Dale. (I see you're in B.C. - my birthplace, for which I am always homesick!) To answer your question - I don't fit it all in. When I sold my first book, I pretty much freaked out wondering how to handle promo. After I calmed down, I took it one day a time, and fortunately, it was over a year between first sale and first pub date, so I had plenty of time to adjust. (I would NOT want to be a contest finalist depending on votes!! Sending you many virtual hugs!) Now I blog a few times a month, more when a book is released. Each time I do a blog, I tweet about it and advertise it on Facebook and whichever loops I belong to seem appropriate. I comment fairly regularly on several blogs. All this is way more than I have time for, and I have no idea if it's of any use, but it does keep me in touch with a lot of people, which is fun in and of itself. I was really surprised to find that I like blogging, and I think it's because it comes easily, and blogs don't have to be structured like stories -- they can just meander.

    By what I've heard, readers like to hear about an author's personal life, so now and then I'll post something on FB, but to tell the truth, I don't want to talk about myself. I'd much rather spend my available time writing -- as would most writers. The best I can think of is to spend my most productive time writing -- which for me is the morning -- and do the blogs and social networking in the evenings. And just do the best I can, and leave it at that. :)

    Good luck with the contest!

  12. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

    Hi Barbara, I love your last line - just do the best I can! Good advice. I'm such an overachiever I need to cut myself some slack and realize I'm not superwoman and that I don't have to be either.

    I think you're right about readers liking to hear personal information about us writers. It just seems weird in that I think my life is boring - so who'd care!

    Have a great weekend!

  13. Amy Atwell // October 16, 2010 at 2:30 PM  

    Hi Dale,
    I feel for your dilemma. I think it's hard for us to realize that a lot of people are genuinely impressed by our ability to write. We're much more impressed with our characters, so it can be hard to talk about ourselves. Best wishes in the contest!

  14. Scarlet Pumpernickel // October 16, 2010 at 4:19 PM  

    Oh my goodness! don't get me started about the listserves and loops! FB is a challenge for me also. Don't have a website yet, so that is something I'll have to do down the road. It is a little daunting to think of all the changes in the lives of authors as the world shifts to e-publishing. Good luck on the contest. I'll toddle off to see if I can vote for you. Welcome to the pink fuzzies, we're tickled pink to have you.

  15. Scarlet Pumpernickel // October 16, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

    I went, I read, I voted! Like the opening paragraph! Good luck!

  16. Mona Risk // October 16, 2010 at 5:29 PM  

    Dale welcome to the PFS. Managing time is always a challenge. I hate doing promotion so it becomes even more difficult, but there is no choice when you want to sell a book. I am on Facebook, not regularly. On Myspace, where I never show up, and on blogs where I struggle to comment often, and I've neglected my poor blog for so long.

  17. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 6:22 PM  

    Thanks Amy,
    I know someone said they were fascinated by the little things in my life, I looked at them sideways wondering, why? You're right, I'd much rather talk about my characters! Thanks for the good wishes and for stopping by!

  18. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 6:25 PM  

    Scarlet Pumpernickel - thanks for the welcome! This is a great place to visit. Thanks for going and voting too. It will be interesting to see how who is the last woman standing in the contest. I do advise a website though. I had a generic one before then did a major overhaul with the contest, but everyday I have new people stopping by to visit!

  19. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 6:29 PM  

    Hi Mona, thanks for stopping by. I hear you about the various social networking. I hate to commit to too many as I then feel I have to honor them - then I hate it and it becomes a chore. Like who needs more of those!

    When I redesigned my website, there was a blog, but I chose to set it as a news listing instead of blogging and 'having' to update it and failing. Lol.

    Have a great weekend!

  20. Autumn Jordon // October 16, 2010 at 9:06 PM  

    Oh, Dale, I'm there with you. I don't think it getting on FB, Twitter, Blogs is the question. It's how do you get off. Atleast it is for me.

    An hour can go by so quickly while checking or posting on this and that. So I try to write a quota before I allow myself to surf. My problem days are when I'm scheduled to blog. I feel I need to be there before any guests.

    Good luck in the contest. I'll certainly stop by. AJ

  21. Dale Mayer // October 16, 2010 at 9:28 PM  

    Hi AJ,
    I'm trying to get in a couple thousand words before going online, but can't say that's working out so well yet. I can't believe how time disappears while I'm online. An hour is five minutes as go about my emails/blogs/feeds etc. Need to work on setting a timer to shut down on time.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Dale

  22. Mary Marvella // October 17, 2010 at 1:03 AM  

    Good job, Dale. I think we all feel challenged with the PROMO stuff! Building a web presence takes a lot of work.


    I played on a ghost tour this evening and my feet ache!

  23. Dale Mayer // October 17, 2010 at 1:38 AM  

    Hi Mary,
    Sounds like time to sit back and put your feet up! Thanks for having me here today. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Dale

  24. Edie Ramer // October 17, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

    Dale, when you find the time management answer, let me know, please. It's not working for me. I think maybe if we could somehow stretch the day time hours...

    The person who invents that will be an instant trillionaire.

  25. Beth Trissel // October 17, 2010 at 9:38 AM  

    Welcome to the Fuzzies Dale. Thank you for sharing such an informative and entertaining post. And a big high five to you!

  26. Joanne // October 19, 2010 at 5:58 PM  

    Dale,
    Thanks for visiting The Pink Fuzzies. What an exciting time for you! Sounds like you're doing everything right-including time management.

  27. Dale Mayer // October 19, 2010 at 6:03 PM  

    Hi Edie,

    I'd love to solve the problem, at least for myself. I do well, two of three days, then it seems the next three days go by in a whoosh! And I've lost the ground I'd gained!

  28. Dale Mayer // October 19, 2010 at 6:05 PM  

    Hi Beth,

    Thanks for the high five! Yes, it's definitely an exciting time. I'm hoping for a long experience here. We'll see!

    Thanks for commenting!

  29. Dale Mayer // October 19, 2010 at 6:07 PM  

    Thanks for the welcome Joanne. Don't know about doing everything right - but trying to do everything right - definitely. It's been fun. Thanks for having me here!