Writing Tip: How to be Creative, Maintain an Online Presence—and Stay Sane

THE GOOD

Yesterday was blog writing day. The day I pick a topic and do my first draft for my weekly blog post. I usually breeze right through this task and it’s fun creative writing time.

THE BAD

And yet, yesterday the hours ticked by…vague ideas came and went…all were dismissed. The page sat empty staring back at me.

I’m also in the midst of editing my book. My agent is emailing me, “when will you have the manuscript to me?” So of course every minute spent trying to write my next blog stressed me out to no end because I wasn’t getting any editing done…and the writing wasn’t happening either!

I turned to my favorite place for inspiration, Pinterest. An hour later I had many pins waiting in the Buffer queue to be posted, but alas nothing spoke to me.

I scanned through Facebook and Twitter. I Liked, Commented, Tweeted and Followed. But no blog ideas.

I read other people’s blogs. Surely that would help. Hours flowed onward. Nada.

It was late. And I had nothing. My chest began to tighten with anxiety. Not good.

I normally enjoy writing my weekly blogs. So why the torture and stress this week?

THE UGLY

That’s when it struck me. I’d inadvertently put this heavy burden of stress upon myself by dwelling on the fact that instead of writing my blog, I really wanted to be editing my book. In my mind, my online obligations of posting a weekly blog were getting in the way of me being creative. I was resentful.

But that was a lie to myself. Coming up with a topic and writing a blog every week takes some serious creative energy. I know this from experience. Writing my weekly blog has given me the opportunity to write outside my novels and find my own voice. But it’s hard work. So what this ultimately boiled down to was, I didn’t want to do the hard work. I wanted to play in my fictionalized make-believe world with my characters.

So, what did I do? I frittered away hours of time on Social Media as an excuse, instead of facing the blank page and just freakin’ writing something!

The Hero’s Journey

Once I sat myself in the chair and simply started writing…this blog came about. I could’ve done that many, many hours sooner. As a writer, I know this simple truth and yet I still avoided facing it, and Social Media gave me a handy excuse.

Don’t get me wrong, having an online presence in today’s market is imperative if we wish to share our writing, art, music—whatever our passion may be—with the rest of the world. And it’s been a wonderful resource for me as I expand my knowledge base and grow as a person and writer.

Which brings us (in a long round-about way) to my point of this blog. How do we keep up our online presence and balance it with time to write (insert your creative passion here) keep moving forward and meet deadlines?

Balanced StonesMost days I maintain a balance by implementing tips I’ve learned over the years:

• I focus on writing the first thing in the morning, for a 3-4 hour stretch.
• During writing time I stay off email.
• Before bed, I make a list of online tasks for the next day and highlight the priorities. Once writing time is over, I start the list. Once the priorities are done, other tasks can move to the next day, if necessary.
• I routinely take time out for physical activity away from sitting at the desk, a walk outside, or at the least some yoga and exercise.

But it’s easy to have our day get knocked out of balance by a multitude of outside influences…many of them online. Even the tone of the posts we read, whether they are positive or negative can greatly change our attitude for the moment, or the rest of the day. So how do we better manage our online time to better enhance our creative time?

A blog posted back in January of this year, from Jane Friedman inspired me – and I do attempt to adhere to the points made most days. Yesterday was one of those days when I should’ve reread it the moment I found myself stymied, instead of hours later and in panic mode. You may already know a lot of this stuff, but I’m sharing the link with you today to jog our memories. It helped me get back into my groove yesterday and I hope the timing works for you as well.

I encourage you to check out her blog: 10 Resolutions for a Saner Online Internet—and Life

In what ways do you maintain a balance in your life?

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Leslie Johansen Nack

    Bravo Indy! Thanks for sharing this. We all struggle but if we keep pushing we succeed. I love the fact that we are all on our own hero’s journey. I am writing about that very thing now. Keep going and get back to that book. Can’t wait to read it!

    Reply
    • indy

      Thank you Leslie! Your comment just made my day and made all the stress worth it! :0)

      Reply
  2. Mike Sirota

    Social media can be a serious distraction to a writer, just as “research” used to be for me back in the day. The key is discipline. Designate your writing hours, and let nothing intrude. I learned that quickly back then.

    Reply
    • indy

      Thanks, Mike. I keep setting my writing times, but I keep letting ‘work’ sneak its way in. I think it comes from my years in customer service and sales. I keep putting my clients’ needs before my own. A tough habit to break. Thanks for the encouragement – I need it!

      Reply
  3. Judy Reeves

    What a great post, Indy. Exactly what I needed. I’ve been in “marketing” mode for several months now, and more on the horizon. But I also have made a commitment to bring the novel to top of the pile again. A commitment I’ve found difficult to honor. And then there’s the just getting up out of the chair! You’re so right, Mike Sirota is right, and Jane Friedman (a personal hero) is right. So thanks for this. I’m paying attention.

    Reply
    • indy

      Thanks, Judy. I’m so glad you found it helpful. I love the fact the writing community is so good about sharing, so we can all learn from each other. Makes us all stronger and helps us remember we are not alone in our struggles. Write on, Judy!

      Reply

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