This past week has been puzzling for James and me (I’m his Old English Sheepdog in case this is the first time you’re reading my – his – blog). In-between taking feeding me and taking me out, James started a personal Facebook page and an author page for his writing. He also started tweeting again, having substantially slowed down over the past couple of years. I have to admit that the week started out pretty rough for both of us.
James never wanted to be on Facebook. People kept telling him he should be on it if for no other reason than to promote his writing. But the other day he looked down at me and said, “Well, this Oct Challenge from Writer’s Digest says it’s a great way to network, as well as making it easy for people in the publishing business to find me. So I think I have to at least give it a try.” And he has, to both our detriments.
He started to spend more time on Facebook than with me, forgetting when to feed me and take me out to play, and laughing and crying at odd times and not telling me why. Even when I put my face in his lap, or on his arm to stop him from scrolling through Facebook, he would simply pat me on the top of my head without even looking at me. And the same happened when he was on Twitter – it was as if nothing else existed.
So I barked, “Get a grip, dude!” Which apparently woke him up out of his social media stupor. He looked me in my china-blue eyes and said, “You’re right. I’ve got to stop this obsession.”
And it came at the right time (I’ve often heard James say, “Timing is everything”). The task from the Oct Challenge on that day was to create a time management plan. James already had his editorial calendar in place. It helps him manage which day he will focus on certain aspects of his writing. But he wasn’t using it as he should have. So he thought he’d use his editorial calendar as his paw-print and create a daily timeline of things he would do, such as out how long he would spend on Twitter and Facebook, and when. It would need to be flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected (like while we’re outside if I were to roll in some wonderfully odoriferous scat that James finds otherwise, and he then thinks I need a bath, which I don’t, but I’m evidently arguing with myself here so I’ll let that be).
As Robert Lee Brewer said (and I paraphrase), writing is not a sprint, but a life-long investment. James was happy he had learned to pace himself when he was competing in triathlons. It was key to finishing the race, and vital to finishing a story/poem/novel/play.
Now he only goes on either site, Facebook or Twitter, twice a day (okay, sometimes he’s sneaking peek, but withdrawal can be painful). His time management plan, in conjunction with his editorial calendar, guides him as to when to post or tweet, and about which broad topics. He no longer lets the social media vortex sweep him into its dark, deep hole. He even has on it time when he’ll take my dictation for this blog (I love that he does this for me).
He told me he isn’t going to follow people on Twitter who aren’t tweeting about his interests. Nor is he going to accept friends on Facebook who are rabid posters about everything that has nothing to do with things he wants to know – like cats (I think cats are funny so I hope he doesn’t stop looking at them altogether). And he is going to make sure he checks people out he doesn’t know who request to be his friend. I simply nodded when he told me this last one (I didn’t say, “I told you so”).
I hope you like my blog. If you do, and if anything I’ve said is helpful, let me know in the comments section below. Also, if there’s anything you’d like to know, you can tell me there as well. I’ll check back, and James will read them to me so I can reply. He’s good that way, and in others, like fetch, and treats, and belly rubs, and that kind of stuff.
Until next week,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)
Photo © 2015 James Stack
Paw Prints courtesy of pawsitivelyloved.com