Completing projects for publication, even on my own website, was overwhelming when I first started my official writing career.
I wasn’t sure where to begin, where to find resources, or which advice to follow. I started a Twitter account for my writing and was selective in who I followed. It was encouraging, and still is, being found and followed by various people and agencies in the writing field.
I was previously on Facebook and grew weary of reading details of daily life that didn’t pertain to my purpose for being there. I found myself scrubbing my Friends List every month or so until I finally decided to delete it altogether in 2012. It was a freeing feeling.
I began attending writers’ groups in 2015 through meetup.com. It was a great way to network as well as being informational, encouraging, and motivating. Attendees ranged from the established traditionally published and self-published novelists to flash fiction writers with a mix of genres.
One thing bothered me, though, and it was how I felt about social media. Eventually, each writer would ask, “Do you have Facebook?” Or say, “Look me up on Facebook.” Or I’d be told, “Group information can be found on Facebook. My thought or response was always, “I’m no longer on Facebook.” I’d sigh often wondering if being on Twitter and having a blog was enough.
What was it about Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? What about asking me if I had a website: a platform for people to find me, share my work, and leave comments about my writings. It was a tad discouraging to feel like what I had and what I was doing wasn’t enough. I finally gave in and sat down to create a Facebook author page. It was to be the core of where my writings, or information about my writings, could be found. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t create an Author Profile Page without first having a Personal Profile Page.
I thought, “Oh boy, here I go again.” I made it clear on my Personal Profile Page that my posts will be under my Author Profile. I went through my Friends List and invited them all to “Like” my Author Page some did, many didn’t. Once again, I was discouraged. I wanted to be involved and not disengaged on Facebook, but I didn’t know how to do that while maintaining the focus of my purpose for being back on there.
I did receive views, though very few comments. I struggled with deleting my profile and thought about other social media outlets. I already had a LinkedIn account from when I was working in the counseling field. Since I wasn’t active on LinkedIn, I made a decision to rewrite my resume with a focus on my writing skills. I asked friends and co-workers for recommendations and for them to highlight my writing skills. It seemed they didn’t read my solicitation thoroughly because they left recommendations for my counseling and clinical skills. I felt the discouragement was never ending.
I felt it shouldn’t have been that difficult to have people I knew visit my website. I realized I was still the common denominator. I didn’t want to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades [social media] and a master-of-none.’ So, I decided to do what I felt was realistic for me. I deleted Facebook and LinkedIn, after leaving posts that I was about to do so in a couple weeks. I asked them to subscribe to my website to stay posted on my writing journey and updated on my writings.
I focused on Twitter. I researched hashtags and found several that were useful in finding more writers. #WritersCommunity, #WritingCommunity, #AmWriting, and #FollowFriday encouraged me and helped me find peers. It felt good to be involved in the writing community on Twitter because writing can be so isolating.
Another change I made was not having two websites. One I called, ‘nice’; the other ‘naughty.’ I felt that I should write what I enjoy writing, regardless of where that joy came from in my life. Everything I write is a part of who I am, so it stopped making sense to keep parts of myself separated between two websites. I know everyone will not like everything I write or even care about certain things in my life, though I hope they will visit my site and enjoy what they will and glaze over what they don’t. I felt at ease and encouraged to simply be me.
I realized that instead of focusing on who was or wasn’t supporting me, it was more beneficial to stay true to myself and be the best I can be each day. My goal became to maintain my Twitter account and post on my website at least three times per week. I discovered I needed to stop being hard on myself and recognize all that happened as a learning tool; part of the growing process. It was time for me to continue learning, networking, socializing, and engaging with fellow freelance writers and authors.
If you’re struggling to find your place, or to find what works best for you … stay encouraged and don’t give up. Acknowledge your feelings of discouragement and know that encouragement is coming your way. If you need to take a step back to regain focus on your goals, by all means do so. Then step back up, refocus, take a deep breath, pull out that chair, in front of your desktop, sit down with your laptop or tablet, or pull out that notepad and pen, and write.
You can do it. And, you will succeed. Let’s encourage and motivate each other.
I’d love to read your experiences of when you first began your writing career, something you learned, how social media has been helpful, and what encouraged you to continue moving forward to help you accomplish your goals.
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This article was been revised as a cross-post from deborahldixon.com.