Building an online presence isn’t only for the social aspect. There’s an expectation on writers to have a following—and not only once they have a book deal. No, building a Twitter following is a process writers are expected to start long before they have a book deal and sometimes before they even have an agent. Writers are typically an introverted bunch—after all, writing and revising a novel takes a lot of alone time at the computer—but what happens when social media is no longer simply an imposition but actually anxiety inducing?
Blame it on the comparison game or a looming deadline (or blame it on the triggering effects of the presidential election) but a lot of my writer friends are finding themselves in need of some time away. Taking a break from Twitter can feel counterproductive to a writer’s goals, especially when they’ve worked hard to build a following they worry they’ll lose.
In early 2015, I sacrificed my emotional well being for that very reason. If I had it to do over, I would have taken the time off—I wish I’d committed to self care sooner. Even though I’ve moved past that year and my anxiety has mostly vanished, there are still days where I feel the need to take a step back. When it’s only a short break I need, I take a mini break. Giving myself permission to stay off Twitter for a day or two is usually enough time for me to recharge. If there’s something big coming up (like a friend celebrating some big book news I want to tweet about), I try to take a few minutes to log in. Sometimes I commit to only checking social media for ten or twenty minutes per day. That self-imposed time limit makes a world of difference, in my commitment to self care and even…my word count.
What are some ways you cope with social media? Have you ever taken a prolonged break? Wishing everyone an anxiety-free October!
Jessica Taylor adores atmospheric settings, dangerous girls, and characters who sneak out late at night. Her debut novel, WANDERING WILD, received a starred review from VOYA and is available now. Her next two novels, starting with A MAP FOR LOST GIRLS, will be published in fall of 2017 and 2018 by Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin. She lives in Northern California with a few degrees she’s not using, one dog, and many teetering towers of books. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaTaylorYA and check out her website at http://www.jessicataylorwrites.com