I’m new to the internet game, at least insofar as it comes to writing. Several months ago, I read that an author needs to build a platform if he wants to be taken seriously – so I set about doing just that. It’s been a great ride, and I’ve met some wonderful people along the way, but there are some things about this game that concern me. Participating in blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums, NaNoWriMo, or any of the gamut of writing outlets, despite the benefits, comes with some serious risks. Here are four of them:
1. Time Management
Stephen King once said that you should spend two hours reading and two hours writing everyday. I disagree. I think you should spend somewhere in the vicinity of four hours writing at least five days a week. By no means a hard limit (my sessions have ranged from 20 minutes to twelve plus hours), it’s an excellent point of reference. You have to be writing, a lot, if you want to be a writer. Spend all your time blogging, tweeting, etc, and you just might find yourself in novelist-to-be purgatory.
2. Mismanaged Social Networking
Too often I’ve had people I’ve never met before trying to friend me on Facebook, family asking me about my day on my blog, and tweets devolve into non-topical conversations. Each network has its own niche carved in the social stratosphere. Familiarize yourself with them and execute accordingly.
3. Unwanted Solicitation
I don’t like dating websites. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but shopping for someone seems like the wrong way to go about finding a partner. Focus on yourself however, and you will naturally gravitate towards like minded people. Same applies to books. If you’re craving an audience, beta-readers or paying consumers, don’t force your book on them. Get to know people. Not only will they be drawn to you, but you stand to make many friends in the process.
4. Word Counts
The worst offender. I spent three years waiting tables while I wrote my book. Word count was is a tool that works for me, not the other way around. Rely on quotas to reach a goal, and before you know it you’ve lost sight of your goal. I strive to achieve an emotion, to complete an arc, to introduce new conflict. And I don’t stop until that goal is achieved.