Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Playing Catch-Up - From WordSmything

Did you experience A-Z or other blogging/writing burnout? Did all the colds/flus/evil curses that have been pursuing you for months finally overtake you and send you into a tailspin?

Well, that happened to me.  And since D.B. Smyth at WordSmything already blogged a fabulous post on How To Play Social Networking Catch-Up, I'm going to borrow steal hers and share.

You've been sick or away or lost in the Bermuda Triangle of life. Whatever the reason it's been awhile since you Blogged, Tweeted, or Facebooked. One missed day in the writerly world can feel like a lost year. A week? Well, you might as well change your name to Rip Van Winkle. That's it. You're done, right? How can you possibly catch up on the endless tweets you missed, the several hundred blogs in Google Reader and the countless entries in Facebook?

You ready...

You can't! Did you see that one coming? Probably. But maybe I should say you can't catch up AND write. You don't have enough hours in the day. So what do you do? Here are some thoughts...

1. Organize Reader, Twitter and Facebook.
This is a pre-crisis step. But it makes everything a whole lot easier!) Mine are organized into "Awesomeness", "Peeps I know", "Authors, Agents and Such", and then by genre. Do whatever works for you. This will make finding the "best" (read: most important to you) posts/tweets/updates an easier task.

Side note: If you're not currently using some type of reader to follow your favorite blogs, I'd highly recommend it!
Crap.  Reader is organized, FaceBook and Twitter... not so much.  I do have Tweetdeck installed on Twitter, and was thinking, someday soon, on learning how to use it.

2. Read only the current blog posts.
Your Reader is organized. You know which blogs continually give you the best info (they are in "Awesomeness" after all). But you show that you're 804 blog posts behind. Give it up. There is no way you can read all that and still be sane. (Believe you me, I've tried). So I go to my Awesome folder and Peeps I know and read only the-current-as-in-today posts. If I happen to catch a title from an earlier post that resonates with me, yes, I'll read it. Otherwise, once I've read today's info, I click "Mark all as read." Let it go.
Except that I stumbled on this post in skimming the old blog titles, and I'm so glad I did!

3. Check your Twitter direct messages and @mentions.
Respond as necessary (read: always). Twitter makes this easy. TweetDeck makes it easier. I actually have these sent to my phone so even if I'm missing the rest of Twitterland, I can make sure to respond to people talking directly to me.

4. Scroll through your Twitter lists.
(What? You haven't made lists yet? Run do that... I'll wait). This is not a "check every tweet one by one" type scroll. I seriously mean scroll. Scan the tweets listed for today and, if you've signed on at 6:30am and no one has tweeted yet, yesterday. Then let it go.

Side note: For an awesome post on Twitter Lists, check out Liza Kane's post here.
Double Crap.  I'm so not up to speed on understanding Twitter.  I feel like the seagull who always gets there after the chips are gone and only gets the empty bag.

5. Scroll through today's Facebook messages.
I'm really not an expert here. So far I only use Facebook for personal use. But when I'm playing catch up, it's easy to get sucked in for hours checking every ones' status updates, new pics, etc. So I limit myself to status updates only and they must be within 24 hours of today. Again, we're talking scrolling, not line by line checking. And again, let the rest go.

Within a few hours (hopefully less if you're better at this than I am), you'll again have your fingers on the pulse of social networking. I know you're agonizing over all the other things you didn't read or didn't comment on. Did you miss my mini-theme?
I'm not too bad on FaceBook as a time-suck.  Now I feel marginally better.

6. Let the rest go.
Radical, I know. But really, if you don't you'll drive yourself mad. As much as it feels like Twitterland has moved on without you and you'll never get published now that you've missed so many conversations, the truth is that the world is still turning. And publishers are still looking for awesome manuscripts to publish. I'm pretty sure none of them are checking your social network attendance (at least not day by day... missing a year of social networking is a little more noticeable).

So instead of panicking and allowing that panic to shut you down, check the most recent entries (ONLY A FEW!) and then clear your Google Reader, stop scrolling through Twitter and Facebook, and choose to start over today. Set a more doable social networking schedule and then focus on your writing because your book won't write itself and Twitter can't write it for you.

Happy writing!
 But, but but... let it go?  <squealing>  OMG, she is so right.  I'm the type who's got "eyes too big for the clock" when it comes to scheduling.  Saturday, I was planning to work on the novel, write 2-3 blog posts, do some housework, and read about 20 blogs.  Instead, I wrote one blog post, read about 5 blogs, and... took three naps.  Obviously, that's what I needed to do, and... it's okay.

<shaking out my SuperWoman Cape, hanging it in the closet behind my Renfaire wench dress and my Mexican poncho.>

How good are you at letting it go when you've fallen behind?
Or have you, too driven yourself crazy trying to play catch-up?  
Please share, below.