Spending Less Time on Facebook Has Proven to be a Double Edged Sword

Since the start of the year I have been making a conscious effort to spend less time on Facebook. Straight away, from January 1st, I closed my nearly constant second tab on my internet browser. I no longer open Facebook as soon as I turn on my laptop, nor do I have it open all day long at work.facebook

I open it up maybe three times a day. I check my messages, maybe post something, and then I close it down.

It is freaking awesome!

I never realized just how much time I lost to Facebook every day. I mean, I know I used to use it a lot, but I never understood what a productivity drain it was.

I find myself with so much more time on my hand that I actually have a handle on my writing. By that, I mean I am keeping up with my mind on the fiction front, working on two novels and a short story whenever the mood takes me, without any fear of falling behind. I am keeping up with my self-imposed blogging schedule (a new post every other day – reblogs not included), and am already sorted through to the end of March with one of my regular freelance writing gigs – writing blog posts for two different adult themed sites – and I have even been able to take on a second client.

This has been a huge factor as to why I am at 60,000 words for the month. At work I am getting so much more done also. Which is great as I am settling into my new position and need to figure out how to make myself as indispensable in this placement as I was in my previous one.

HOWEVER….

The lack of Facebook time has come at a price. Or so I am starting to believe.

My platform, the one I have been working to build for the last four years has been shaken. It has taken a battering by my decision to take a step back. This semi-withdrawal has been social media wide, but Facebook was always far above the others in terms of usage.

The first place I can see this is here, on this blog. I still share my posts throughout social media, but I fear that my reduced online presence is nullifying this effort. It would make sense, nobody wants to pay attention to somebody whose social presence is based predominantly around blog post sharing and links. That is so impersonal.

Here comes the twist.

What would anything I write be without a good twist at the end?

While I have cut back on my Facebook time, I am attempting to use the moments I am online more wisely. I am seeking out interaction with others. I am, actually, spending more time interacting with others on their posts and comment feeds than my own. Part of this is because I seem to get better interaction on other people’s posts than my own. I am sure that says something else about the effectiveness of the platform I convince myself I have built, but that is a discussion for another day.

I am enjoying my interaction on Facebook, and I feel better for connecting with people. I have had more interesting conversations on Facebook this month than I had for the majority of last year. But once again, this does not always mean my effort is being seen by those who were not directly involved.

wiseIt would seem that by reducing my Facebook time and using it more wisely, I have damaged what I had built.

I am telling myself that this was because what I had built was fragile, and tower based on a crumbling foundation. This soothes me because it also means that this current lull is nothing to fear. It is me taking a step back to relay my foundation. To come back stronger, and smarter. This is just a period of transition, and that is a much nicer theory than anything else I have come up with this week.

I am enjoying my new approach to life, I feel better, and at the end of the day, that is the name of the game.

I am in this for the long haul, and have not yet begun to define myself.

Thanks for reading.

First Attempt in Learning

This was not the blog post that I had in mind, not was it one of the ones on my backlog of posts to be written. However, it feels as though this is the right time to post it.

The first month of the year is almost over, and so far, my decision to change the way I manage my own life has had very mixed effects.

On a personal level, I have changed my way to thinking, at least, I am trying to. I am trying to clear my mind, accept that some things will not always go as planned. I have changed my work out style and even started doing some yoga and things in the morning. I am feeling better than ever, and the fact that I herniated a disc in my back last week is completely by-the-by. I am off to the chiropractor on Thursday and have enough drugs to keep me happy until then.

Book Sales Surprise and an Unexpected Pattern

On the writing front, I have noticed a very strange circumstance. I am not doing anywhere near as much book promotion as I was last year. I have put maybe a dozen links on Facebook and Google + this year, and send a few a day out on Twitter (although today I hit twitter like a demon). My sales as a result have been surprisingly high. Better than the last several months put together.

The numbers are no great, and not even good, but there was a 14 day run of consecutive sales, multiple sales on several of those days. This was pleasing, especially given how little work I was doing for it.

I know this cannot continue, but I need to rethink my branding and marketing strategy, and it is taking me a long time to get anything effective put together.

All of my books are now enrolled in the KU (Kindle Unlimited) program, and as such are available for free for all of those Amazon Prime members out there. What I have seen is that there is a pretty even split in the number of borrows compared to the number of sales I have had.

A lot of these borrows have come on 99 cent short stories – namely the erotic pieces I have published under my pseudonym. This actually is a double win. My work is getting read, and people are coming back for more, and I am earning more money, because the return on a borrow is more than the royalty on a sale (at 99cents).

Blogging is Where the Problems seem to Dwell

The biggest failure I seem to have had is on this blog. I have been posting regularly, trying to post every 2 days, and am promoting each post across the social media platforms, but my visits are way down, and most of my posts are struggling to even hit double figures. This surprises me, as I am trying to make them more structure, and also to cover topics that are at success-is-not-final-failure-is-not-fatal-winston-churchillleast readable, and not always all about me – barring a little link to my books at the end of the posts.

I finished 2014 on a high with my blog, and with the new approach, I was seriously expecting to see good returns. I am reading all of the blog posts that I subscribe to – although with my bad back I am about a week behind, but I have them all to read – and am commenting on each one. I have had some great engagement on other people’s blogs, but there is zero evidence of anything coming through my way. Even new subscribers is down.

This is a troubling trend and something I need to rectify. I fear that it may have something do to with the next blog post I have scheduled – which talks about how I am using Facebook differently now. If that is the case, then it presents a troubling proposition, but I shall cross that bridge once we get to it.

Failure is a Learning Opportunity, Not a Reason to Stop

Whatever the cause it, there is a remedy to it, and I will find it. I will not let a small issue such as this derail me. I am a firm believer that failing is important. If we never fail, we can never achieve anything in life. Sure, my attempts at change this year, on the blogging side of things may be a failure, they may also just be slow to take effect. In any case, I will monitor the situation, make adjustments and keep tinkering until I find the winning formula.

Every time we fail, we learn, and in essence, that means we never truly fail. The only way that is possible is to quit, and that is something I will never do, and neither should you.

Thanks for reading!

Reading Material?

Do you fancy giving one of my books a try? Come on over to my author page on Amazon and take your pick. I have novels such as Highway to Hell and Blood of the Tainted, through my chapter book zombie series, Diaries of the Damned.

The majority of my books are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program, so if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can read them for free!

Blood of the Tainted ebook cover

Weekly Writing Wrap-up: 25-1-2015

I want to start my post today by saying goodbye. This week a friend of mine passed away. Keith Milstead was an author at a publishing house I used to be involved with. Things did not end well between me and that agency, but Keith was always a friendly face. He and I had a great many conversations about writing, and autism, something we had in common in our lives. He proved to be a great help for me on that front. I was shocked by how long it was since we last spoke. Keith, sleep soft my friend. You will be missed by a great many.

A Good Start Scuppered by Injury

I started this week with all the intentions of pushing close to the 60,000 word mark for the month. However, Tuesday morning, while trying to be healthy and doing some yoga first thing in the morning, my back decided to revolt. The rest of the week was spent in agony and it is only today that I have been able to sit (since Wednesday) and write anything that qualifies as words.

I did manage to finish two new guest posts that are lined up for February, which I am really excited about.

It was annoying, but it will teach me. I’m getting old, as much as I don’t want to admit it, and after years and bad posture, and canning it in the gym, I need to start doing things properly and that includes beginner phases for things.

Enough with the excuses, what did you actually get done?

Well, my current word total for January, as of the time of this post is: 55,143.

I am unbelievably happy with this, and it means I am still averaging 2,205.72 words per day. If I can really keep this going, I will achieve some great things this year.

writing 6I am splitting most of my fiction writing time between two different novels. The second of which started as a short story last week. I want to write a new post next week about how this story just grew from nothing.

As I didn’t write anything Thursday or Friday, and only a few hundred words yesterday, I am not going to say anything over the lower total this week. I am just happy that the pain in my back is starting to fade and I can get back to real writing and working out (sensibly) again.

What are the plans for the week ahead?

Providing I don’t re-damage myself, this week is going to be focused on the two novels I am currently working on, but I have also got a plan in my head for another erotica short story. I kind of like writing the erotic stuff. It is a nice change of pace, and oddly enough seems to come quite naturally to me.

I really want to his the big milestones on both novels, which for me is the 20k mark. If I can hit twenty thousand words and still have enough story to tell, I know it will be a novel and not a drawn out short story.

Having two vastly different novels on the go at once is very nice because it means I can keep switching from one to the other whenever I find myself running short on words, or inspiration.

I have a little bit of freelance work in for the week also, and a couple of blog posts I need to write so that should also keep the words flowing.

What are your plans for the coming week? How did you do this week just gone?

Thanks for reading,

Do you fancy giving one of my books a try? Come on over to my author page on Amazon and take your pick. I have novels such as Highway to Hell and Blood of the Tainted, through my chapter book zombie series, Diaries of the Damned.

The majority of my books are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program, so if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can read them for free!

Blood of the Tainted ebook coverDiaries of the Damned blog tour - Alex Laybourne