Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Keeping up with the Tweets and Posts by Lara M. Van Hulzen

Lara M. Van Hulzen

The New Year's here and we're going to finish our novels, query every editor and agent we know and then cover every social network like there's no tomorrow!

Maybe not ...

So how do we prioritize (and re-prioritize)? Here's some thoughts from Lara M. Van Hulzen. ~ Angie

I’ll be honest, I’ve been discouraged lately. Writing is a tough business. And when I say business, I mean truly the business side of it. I read a lot of advice about writing and there’s quite a bit said about writing because you love it, because you’re called by God to do so, because you’d wilt and die if you didn’t – and don’t think about publication or an audience per se all the time. Write because it’s what’s in your heart, in your soul. But that’s not as easy as it sounds. When you are trying to get published, sitting down and working on a manuscript can come from the heart, but to push your head out of the way feels close to impossible. How can you not think of whether an editor or reader will like it or not? Especially when you’ve had rejections and the negative voices swirl around in your mind as you work.

I’ve noticed a trend lately. I love being on Facebook and Twitter. I really do. But I’ve discovered that I can’t read them on days when I am not hammering away at my computer on a manuscript. If I do so, it seems as if the entire world is out there working and writing 24/7. Truly. I read tweets and posts at crazy hours of the night and think, “Is it really something we have to do ALL THE TIME to get published?” I feel like I’m in a race and I am always behind. As I read tweets and posts, it’s like I can see these people at their desks, their fingers tapping away at all hours and they never leave. Is it really all they do? Does no one ever take a break to read or journal or go for a walk or paint? I have to do those things or I lose touch with my creativity. Am I the only one?

I’m a wife and a mom and I love being both. I’m one of those that wanted to grow up and get married and have a family. I love all that it brings to my life and all that I get to give because of it. And being a wife and a mom takes time, effort and energy. I love writing too. But I fear that if I try to keep up with the tweets and posts, I’ll miss out on the hugs, the laughs, the tears, the events and the life. I’m not saying I can’t do both, but I don’t like feeling that I won’t make it as a writer because I want those things too.

So here’s my current stance. I am a writer who would love to have a book published. I will put my behind in the chair and do what it takes to get words on the page and get the job done. I will do it with heart and soul and I will wait on God’s timing. But I won’t do it at the expense of missing out on living life. If I did, I wouldn’t have a single thing to write about anyway.

What's your stance on social networking? How much time do you devote to the Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus? Which gives you the most "bang for the buck?"


Lara M. Van Hulzen received her BA in Journalism from Point Loma Nazarene Universtity in 1994. Her first published article was when she was a senior in high school. She has worked as a book reviewer for the past 18 years with various organizations such as Crossings Doubleday, YouthWorker Journal, and www.radiantlit.com. She is represented by Diana Flegal at Hartline Literary Agency. She lives with her husband and three children in Northern California. Connect with Lara on her website: http://www.laramvanhulzen.com/.

13 comments:

  1. I'm with you, Lara. Social networking, or just being constantly tied to email, can be exhausting and a person misses out on personal connections. Those few days I take a break are liberating. Thanks for the encouragement today. :-)

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  2. LOVE THIS POST! Isn't it the truth? So much effort and sometimes it feels like we're just reaping frustration. I think you're right. We can't let social networking skew our priorities. Such a great reminder. Must share this now.

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  3. The only thing I can add to your post is "Amen"! Thanks for sharing what I'm sure many of us feel.

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  4. I was a long time coming to social media for this very reason. If I've carved out precious time to write, I want to use it CREATING NEW WORK. It's sort of like videotaping your child's big moments: we can watch the event through a lens as we preserve it for later enjoyment, or we can BE IN THE MOMENT as it's happening. I know platform is important, but surely productivity is a better goal. Points to be argued on both sides, though.

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  5. Lara, I've definitely noticed that I feel cheerier when I don't read as many updates by writer friends. Don't get me wrong--I LOVE my writer friends and pray for nothing but the best for them. But I have to work at my own pace and not compare myself, and it's hard to do when you're checking FB author posts and blogposts all the time!

    My sis-in-law had some great advice that I still want to integrate--mark off a certain time each day for writing/checking emails, etc. Hard to do when you're trying to pound out a book--I tend to work every waking free minute then. BUT now that my book is written, I can set aside a certain time for editing and blogging.

    I homeschool, too, so I'm WITH YOU on the family coming first. It HAS to. Definitely something we have to strive for in this writing biz.

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  6. I agree, Lara. It's easy to compare ourselves with others and think we have do to it "all." Publishers and agents keep telling us we need to be constantly "out there," but our involvement with social media can suck up a lot of time. I enjoy Facebook and Pinterest, so I keep active on those. But I'm still avoiding Twitter.

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  7. Lara, great topic and great article. I struggle with the same things. I'm a counselor, have a book being published this year and do a podcast show in addition to all my family stuff. It is hard. I did an article on is the drive for success stealing your joy and one on internet technology becoming an idol in our lives. It's something we have to bring before God daily. Like you said, at the end of the day what really matters is not missing out on the people we love.

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  8. Great post, Lara. I Facebook and email, do a little twitter and LinkedIn, but I'm not sure I do those last two correctly because I don't pay much attention to them. Don't have time! Seems like there's a big catch-22 in all this!

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  9. Thank you - feeling freer than ever to just "work." I took two years off from writing so I could figure out some marketing techniques, then got caught up in the spin. I don't tweet, or I'll give up Facebook. I don't join any new group any more where I see the same people I'm already in groups with. We just have to branch out and meet our friends and readers whereever they are.

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  10. Great comments, everyone, and thanks for bringing the subject up, Lara!

    IMHO, I think there are so many different types of social networking that we can literally pick-and-choose the ones that work for us. There are some timesaving apps out there, like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, that allow you to post to more than one social site at a time. But, I also count some of my Facebook friends as one of my support groups.

    You're all so right, there is a delicate balance between the too much and too little. And I have a feeling that the balance tips ever so slightly, depending on where you are in your writing journey.

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  11. Hi Lara,
    When I'm writing I turn my wireless off so I can't be distracted by any emails or tweets. It really helps me focus. Then I take breaks when I can work on the social part. But I have to work on it. The hardest part for me is keeping all the people I meet straight online. I've met so many, but I can't see their faces. I never forget a face but I always forget names. I've decided I need to keep a list of people's names and a not about how we met, and where. so I can remember them. I don't want them to feel like they're not important, because they are. Do you have trouble remembering who's who? Or maybe this is my disability. Ha!
    Great post,
    Michelle

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  12. Thanks so much for all the great comments!

    I realize that social media is just part of the deal now with marketing our writing. However, my prayer is that we will work to encourage one another in our posts and tweets. I'll be honest, I don't post or tweet how many words I wrote that day or how much I've been working because I know that only discourages me when another author does so. Not that it's bad to say what you accomplished in a day, but I'm pretty sure when I do it it's to validate something in myself rather than motivate another person.

    And a lot of our media is supposed to be for our readers as well. As an author, I try to think of putting the things on my social media that I as a reader want to hear from the authors I enjoy.

    This is a great discussion! Loving everyone's input.

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