The Secret to Social Media

Writers love to rant about the (undignified! soul-sucking!) task of social media promotion. I’m sure at some point I’ve used those very words (blush).

But here’s the thing: when you stop thinking about it as promotion, and give yourself permission to have fun, it’s kind of, well, fun.

Of course, I just started; my Facebook account is four years old, but my Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest accounts (not to mention this blog) are babies.

It’s funny—now that I’ve figured out how to format a blog, scan Flickr for Creative Commons photos and attribute them correctly, and quell the anxiety of hitting “publish” without the validation of an editor, I find that blogging doesn’t take much time. What takes time is researching topics like

  • should fiction writers blog?
  • what should fiction writers blog about?
  • aren’t writers just blogging to other writers?
  • how do I keep my chocolate chip cookies from getting all crunchy around the edges?

Whoops, never mind that last one.

Anyway, if I’d applied those hours toward blogging, I could have started a year ago. And this article from The Write Life by Chuck Sambuchino silences the question of whether fiction authors need a web presence.

You’re supposed to ease into social media, but that’s what they say about gardening, too. And my family was so excited about our first, we bought an abundant, crazy mix of seeds and scattered them wherever we felt like it. That was our most fruitful garden; since then, we’re lucky to grow zucchini (and anyone can grow zucchini).

So I plunged in, and here’s my take so far:

Pinterest

Ah, I get it now. As a writer, I’d forgotten the pure joy of expressing emotions solely through visual imagery. I remember doing it as a child—with stickers on my school binders, magazine pages lining my bedroom walls and dreamy abstracts floating on my computer screen. With Pinterest, you can create boards that reflect the things you care about, and you never have to say a word.

Goodreads

What I love most about this site, so far, is I have one place to list my “to be read” books. Now I can collect all the scraps of paper, sticky notes, and electronic lists buried in my phone, and shelve those titles in Goodreads. Voila! A book lover’s dream.

Twitter

This was supposed to be my favorite, because that’s what everybody says. I do like Twitter—there’s something about the immediacy of it that’s freeing—but it’s confusing. I tried learning it before tweeting, but on Twitter it’s easier to learn by doing. There’s no real fear of judgment; people are just cool. And it moves so fast, no one’s going to hold it against you if you, like I did at first, respond instead of retweet, or whatever. It’s all good.

Facebook

After being on Twitter, Facebook feels like watching life in slow motion. But that has its moments.

Blogging

My personal favorite. This has been a shock—I worried about the time it would take to blog (see above), I worried no one would read my blog . . . now I know it’s about perspective. If you enjoy doing it, the rest is just icing. And since I enjoy writing (and am used to doing it for free), blogging doesn’t feel like wasting time at all.

Still, comments are nice 😉 Got one to share?

Comments

  1. I can see why blogging is your favorite, you have a wonderful blogging voice. I kind of switch around, with blogging being my favorite for such a long time then Twitter now it’s Facebook. I have a Pinterest account but haven’t done anything with it. And congrats on your publishing contract, Elizabeth!

    • Thanks, Karen! Yes, I’m sure on this social media journey I’ll switch favorites more than once. You would probably love Pinterest because that community is passionate about sharing recipes! It’s hard to walk away without feeling hungry, haha.

  2. Megan Russo says:

    Just wanted you to know, I’ve gotten in the habit of reading pretty much anything you write. By the way, are you a fan of Barbara Kingsolver? I would read her grocery lists, I love her writing voice so much.

    • Megan, that is so sweet, thank you! And yes, I love Barbara Kingsolver. You know, I’m not surprised that after all these years you and I are still like sisters 🙂 My two favorite books of hers are actually essay collections: one is called High Tide in Tuscon and the other is Small Wonder. I very much look up to her. What’s your favorite? (If you can possibly choose!)

  3. Saying yes to new things opens up a whole new world. Think of how many things you have said yes to recently and how happy it has made you. I love seeing you like this. 🙂

    • Thanks, Oma! It’s hard for me to take that first step sometimes, but you’re right–it’s been very rewarding. And by the way, I’ll always think of Pinterest as your site. Haha. You are my Pinterest hero.