Saturday, April 11, 2015

Declaring Digital Independence: Advice for Writers

Marketing guru and writer Seth Godin is a master when it comes to offering straight forward advice on how to be creative and at the same time, avoid distraction. It dawned on me recently that I have been spending way too much time looking at emails (which these days are overstuffed with SPAM), Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest of it.

When it comes to my Dumbphone, texts have been killing me. WhatsAp is fun (and free) especially when I'm overseas, but just hearing the short vibrating buzz that accompanies an incoming message while I'm writing makes me go ballistic. I'm guessing Mr. Godin feels the same way which is why he's offered up five quick and easy steps in reducing the digital virus in your life:

  1. Turn off mail and social media alerts on your phone.
  2. Don't read the comments. Not on your posts or on the posts of other people. Not the reviews and not the trolls.
  3. De-escalate the anger in every email exchange.
  4. Put your phone in the glove compartment while driving.
  5. Spend the most creative hour of your day creating, not responding.
To add to this, turn off your social media while you're writing. In fact, perhaps check it in the morning, and then check in again in the evening. Use the rest of the time for creativity. Think about it, in the old days, you didn't check your snailmail box at the end of the driveway fifteen times a day. If you had, the neighbors would have chalked you up as either schizo or suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. At the very least, you'd be taking meds for ADD.

I particularly like Godin's suggestion No. 2. Don't read the reviews and don't pay attention to the trolls. Good advice for fiction writers like me who make a living off of their words. Many of the said "trolls" are wannabe writers who find it impossible to make a living without cheating or engaging in social media assassination.  

But wait, not being close to your phone and/or email and texts makes you anxious?
Remember, if there's an emergency, someone will get in touch with you one way or another. But do you really need to view a text about what color sweater someone is wearing today? Or what song is playing on the radio? Is it worth interrupting your work for absolute nonsense?

Enjoy your social media gadgetry and your digital Dumphone. Just don't let it take control of your life.

 _ _ _

"Most people wouldn’t think that pyromania and parenting would go together, but hey, every family is different. For me to lose myself in a thriller, I need characters (fire starters or not) I can care deeply about—action scenes alone won’t do it. Everything Burns took me on a psychological roller-coaster ride through action and emotion that I can’t forget."--Kjersti Egerdahl, T&M Editor

EVERYTHING BURNS ... the Amazon Number 1 Bestselling Psychological Suspense Thriller.

1 comment:

  1. when i am deep into my work, everything is switched to vibrate. a quick glance lets me know if it's an emergency or not.

    i save responding or checking the newsfeeds for breaks but consider daily postings to social media part of "the work" and do that as i ramp up with coffee or wind-down at the close. a virtual cracking of the knuckles, if you will.

    it's too "noisy" to have it all going at once.

    over and out...