To be honest, I don’t know.
Why am I thinking about it now? I’ve been without my desktop since 6th October. It had been freezing on and off for a couple of weeks, and Gordon helped me do a ‘system refresh’ to see if that would sort it out. It did. Except my pc ditched British in favour of Czech! Everything was in Czech. The language setting gave us the option of ‘English UK’ but remained Czech. Even the clock was an hour ahead as it is in Europe.
Not for the first time, I was thankful I subscribe to the ‘KnowHow’ care plan offered by PC World, which is where we’d bought the pc. The tech-guy on the other end of the line was at a loss, so passed us on to his colleague who was equally baffled. But, credit to the guy, he did his best to talk Gordon through trying to fix it. In the end, we decided the best thing would be to send it in for their guys to have a proper look at it.
Almost a week later, I got an update – ‘Great news! We’re sending you a voucher for a replacement pc.’ When I read the ‘great news’, I thought the pc was on its way home! Long story short, we went to our local PC World store and were pleasantly surprised on two fronts – the voucher was for £429! And the young man who helped us was brilliant, making the whole process wonderfully straightforward.
I’m typing this on the new pc, and I have to say, so far so good. The setup was easy-peasy, and I got my usual stuff back on here with no problems at all. First time that’s ever happened. It definitely helped that we back up our documents and photos on an external hard drive.
Even though we didn’t have the desktop, we still had Gordon’s laptop, so it wasn’t as if I couldn’t access the internet and social media. But I took the opportunity to focus on my editing. I still dipped into social media every now and again but not that much.
Just to be clear – apart from my blog, the only social media I’m on is Twitter.
Writers are told that our online presence is what publishers look at, and if you don’t have one, or its abysmally small, they won’t even consider signing you. I get it – the more followers you have, the better the potential book sales. Does that matter more when you’re self-published? Again, I do not know.
One thing I do know – when I’m on social media, I’m not writing. And I’m not reading. I’ve tried limiting my time on Twitter; I’ve set up TweetDeck and lists; maybe it’s me, but I still struggle with not getting sucked in. Some days are better than others. I guess it depends on my mood.
This past week without the pc – even though I can easily get on Twitter via my phone and the tablet – I’ve found it easier to resist the urge to have a quick check.
I’ve found it so much easier to immerse myself in the story I’m writing/editing. I can really get a feel for my characters. The whole editing/redrafting process is going much smoother this time around.
Reading is the other thing that’s benefitted from the time I’d otherwise be spending on social media.
I’m not saying social media is a ‘bad’ thing, but it certainly is a ‘time-suck’ and very distracting. I realised, a while ago, I’m not bothered by the number of followers I have, which is ever so tiny, only a smidge over 400. But it really, really bothers me that I can’t remember who I’m following. The idea of having followers in the thousands freaks me out!
I know I’m supportive on Twitter. I retweet, comment and cheer people on. Being a very private person, I don’t tend to share much in the way of personal stuff. I’m more likely to do that here, on the blog. I don’t know if that counts against me, but when I’ve reached out a couple of times on Twitter with my writer hat on, the only response I’ve had is silence. Which makes me wonder, why bother?
I know I’m very much in the minority when I say I’d rather not be on social media. The only ‘social media’ I enjoy is my blog. I’d much rather visit people’s blogs than jump on Twitter. The constant demand for attention wears me down. I feel mentally drained when I spend too much time on it. Which means I’m then not in the mood to write and, sometimes, I can’t ‘hear’ my characters.
And that is what makes me wonder how good social media really is for writers. No doubt, it’s great for connecting with other writers, to find out what’s happening in the publishing world, pick up hints and tips… But once all that is done, there’s still the writing. No matter how brilliant the online presence, surely what matters most at the end of the day is, a finished, polished manuscript. And the only way that’s going to happen is to step away from distractions, from resistance (you can read Stephen Pressfield’s description of ‘resistance’ in this post) and write the book.
Unlike Facebook, I won’t be deleting my Twitter account – I’ve met some lovely people on it – but I will be curtailing my time on it.
Who knows? I may finish this WiP in record time and even make a considerable dent in my pile of books waiting to be read.