They wanted to focus on creating content, but they felt compelled to continuously check their notifications on their favorite social channels.
As a result, they were struggling to actually make time for writing, because they were spending so much time online.
But as I pointed out, social media addiction isn't 100% a bad thing. I have the opposite problem: if left to my natural tendencies, I'll sink into content creation mode and forget to check my social media for weeks.
If it isn't in my calendar, it probably just isn't happening!
I have to schedule dedicated social media times into my calendar several times a week, to make sure my messages and replies don't end up sitting neglected.
Obviously, writing is important. But if you don't put your work out there and engage with your audience, then all that content creation is nothing more than a secret hobby.
How can writing hermits and social media addicts find balance?
Obviously, this isn't a question with a one-size-fits-all answer. Different audiences hang out in different places and want different levels of engagement, and different authors have different strengths, styles and challenges.
In this section, I'm going to give you some guidelines you can use to create a social media management schedule that works for you.
1. First, get clear on your goals and needs.
All the planning in the world is worthless unless you know result that plan is supposed to create.
That being the case, your first step is to get clear on what you want to accomplish through your online interactions.
Do you want to build a highly engaged audience that eagerly snaps up each new story you put out, and that readily shares your content with their friends?
Give people a way to contact you and to stay informed about your latest projects?
Learn about your industry and hone your craft?
Just have fun?
Once you're clear on what you want to accomplish, you can work from there to create a plan to accomplish it.
2. Determine what you're good at and what your writing career needs.
As noted above, different authors have different strengths and styles, and different people have different needs.
So in this step, you need to look at what you need and what you're equipped to provide.
If you're self-published and doing most of your book marketing yourself, being a social media addict can work in your favor, as long as you focus your social time mostly on interacting with current and potential readers or with people who can give you exposure to more readers.
If you're more of a hermit, like me, then you should probably still spend some time on social media, but you may need to deliberately set aside time for it.
Put it in your calendar to check your social media channels every day or two, answer any messages or replies you have, and post helpful comments and questions in groups that are relevant to your genre.
But what if you're traditionally published, your career doesn't need that level of social media interaction, it DOES need you to spend more time on writing, and yet you still can't pull away from the siren song of your notification icons?
3. Set boundaries.
If your social media addiction has reached the point where it's preventing you from writing, there will be times when you need to draw the line.
If you can't have your social media page open without constantly checking it, then log out, close the tab, and mute any notifications that you can get even when you're logged out, if that's what it takes.
You don't necessarily have to do this all day, but if you can't focus on your writing for any length of time unless you do this, set aside a chunk of time and commit to working until that time is over.
How long this time increment is will depend on your attention span. If you can work for an hour straight, awesome! If not, try scheduling four different chunks of fifteen minutes into your day.
One method I use is to find an hour-long song compilation or a fifteen-minute song extension on YouTube, set it going, and keep working until the music stops.
This makes writing more enjoyable, and it's a constant audio reminder to stay focused. It also gives me a clear indication of when the assigned time increment is over, without the threat of a jarring, startling alarm hanging over my head and tugging the edges of my concentration.
But what if closing out your social media windows feels like too big a commitment, and your reluctance to finish your social session and close the tabs actually makes you spend MORE time on the sites?
In that case, I recommend putting all your social media tabs in one window and minimizing that window, so you aren't constantly seeing the tempting tabs while looking at your other tasks.
4. Use scheduling software to avoid temptation.
If part of your social media strategy involves posting on your page or profile once a day, and you can't do that without getting sucked into the inexorable whirlpool of your notifications or timeline feed, it's best to find a way to post content without even seeing that temptation.
If this is an ongoing challenge for you, a social media scheduler that can post content to your channels without you actually logging into those channels can be invaluable.
Personally, I use Hootsuite, but there are other options available if you don't like that one.
Do you have any tips to help writing hermits engage with their readers, or to help social media addicts to focus on their writing?
I'd love to hear from you in the comments!