When I first started writing a novel length story, all I did was write, take care of family, work the day job. Then once I realized there was such thing as actual craft, I began intensively researching the markets, publishing, and the physics of putting together a story. I got a submission to Writer's Digest magazine and learned about the online community. Once I joined, I met many writers of whom I still connect with today, and learned I needed to start a blog.
I didn't even know what a blog was. LOL
Now, three years later, I can hardly imagine life without blogging, but with so many writerly duties on the agenda, how do we keep up with it all? In addition to writing a near perfect story, there's conferences, workshops, clever Facebook posts and tweets, blogs to read and posts to entertain, not to mention all the social media I haven't even made a dent in yet--like LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.
Sheesh! When I first discovered the blogosphere I signed up for everything and followed everyone that had to do with writing. After awhile, I was inundated with craft emails and contests and book reviews. I could NOT keep up. I was drowning in information, and trying to comment actively on everyone's blogs?? Forgeddabout it!
It wasn't happening. And trying to make it happen while still maintaining a halfway normal life was as far fetched as Britney Spears winning the Nobel Peace Prize. So prioritizing became a must.
I unsuscribed from all emails except for the top 5 from blogs/newsletters I liked to read. I ignored contests unless I was actively querying. I only commented on blogs of those who commented on mine, unless I stumbled onto a link that caught my attention.
Obviously, this meant I'd lose some interest in my own blog because I couldn't get around to all the ones I used to, but that was the sacrifice I had to make. Heck, I'm a mom and telling my kids to wait so I can visit more blogs just ain't cool. (not to mention impossible)
My priorities in order, I was able to breathe again. Family first, then church, work, writing. Emails and blog posts could be read from my phone, and my actual blogging was limited to downtime during my job. I only use Facebook for group forums, and I hop in and out of Twitter from my phone when it's convenient. Sure, I've missed a lot of stuff, but the reality is, we can't do it all. So why try?
As for the wealth of information the internet offers, I love it, but there comes a point when too much of a good thing becomes contaminating. By understanding my limits and prioritizing, I've put myself in a much happier place. And in terms of blogging and social media, I've found that cultivating meaningful relationships is worth way more than a gazillion followers who never interact.
Ever wonder how your priorities would change if you found out you had a life threatening disease or ailment? It's a lot to consider, and I'm certain many things important to us now, would drastically change. Speaking of which, I have a friend, Nancy, who is new to the blogosphere, and who is chronicling her journey and fight against cancer. It'd be such an encouragement if you'd pop over and tell her hello, and follow her blog. It's a tough road, and wow I just admire her courage so much to put herself out here and share what she's going through. Please click over and welcome her to the blogosphere.
And don't forget the contest I'm holding this month. Collect the clues and send them in with your answer for a chance to win a super cool and hip Out of Print tee shirt or a newly released eBook!
So tell me, how do you prioritize? What comes first for you? What have you sacrificed?