Friday, November 26, 2010

Sometimes you just need to get off the net

I did work on Thanksgiving ... I just didn't accomplish anything other than my modified-NaNo goal.  Which reminds me:

13,843 / 20,000 words

Yep. I'm not going to make it to 50k this month.  But I tried and I like my project and I like the process so I don't want to give up, I want to keep making progress.  Thus the modified goal.  And along with the modified goal, the promise that I'm going to write 75k between December 21 and January 31.  There's just too much that I have to do as a composition instructor and as an overloaded grad student before December 21 for me to sit down and crank out that additional 30k this month.  I knew it was going to be a long shot when I started, but like I said, I like the spirit of the thing.

This makes me 1 for 3 on attempted NaNo's completed.  Then again, next semester I think I might have to do four NaNo-style months in a row all things considered ... but that doesn't bear more discussion at the present moment.

So I spent all this time on Thanksgiving -- between the turkey and the application writing and the writing -- reading about writers using social media. Particularly Kristen Lamb's blog.  And so I changed my twitter account from @SpeakCoffee to @EileenWiedbrauk and I tinkered with a bunch of other stuff.  In general, I spent way too much time thinking and reading about this stuff.  Yes it does feel "too early," but really I'd rather know this stuff too early than too late.  Yes, I chalk all of it up to "professional development and education," but it still can feel like a waste of an evening.

I also consider scouting the bookstore (using my new Odyssey workshop taught bookshop-scouting-skills-for-understanding-the-market) to be a professional development and education activity ... and yet somehow that seems to be more productive than exploring and teaching myself new forms of social media.  Perhaps because learning social media doesn't directly relate to writing and publishing.  Yes, it's a marketing thing.  But I don't think I'm one of the people who grows pale at the mere mention of "marketing."

I'm an okay public speaker.  I get up in front of a score of students and speak for my regular pay check.  I've done public readings of my own work--the largest crowd was probably at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and about 80 people--and I know I can do that.  I, if the need arises, can make twenty minutes of conversation with a complete stranger even if they say almost nothing (this is not a desirable situation, but hey, it's better than complete silence). I blog, I have facebook, I like computers.  ... I think my aversion to writerly-social-media-platform-building activities is based in humility.

Having a facebook "fan" page does not mean that you'll (a) finish a novel, (b) sell a novel, (c) ever have anyone read your novel and "like" your official facebook author page.  Yet there's advice out there that says someone in my position (that is, doesn't have a novel out on submission but is working on one and would like to have it published someday) should have a facebook page already.  As in Page not just Profile.  And that just strikes me as ... hubris.  Or at least vanity.

I completely believe the behave as if you're going to succeed mantra, because of course if you behave as if you're going to fail then success is nigh impossible.  But while I believe in the power of positive thinking, I also believe that while occasionally tempting fate might work, baiting her with a giant ham bone will come to no good.

What are your thoughts and opinions on such things as writer social media personae, platforms and presences?  I understand that "getting the blog" is big in terms of discussion (as is the big discussion about how if you hate to read blogs because you find them uninteresting then you shouldn't write one because you'll only write hateful, uninteresting entries).

For me, if I stopped submitting work for publication tomorrow, I'd still blog.  I like my blog. *hugs blog*  Okay, that was a corny moment.

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