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8 Reasons Not to Quit Social Media When You're Burned Out


Every so often I’m tempted to pull myself out of the social media game and sit on the sidelines. I especially feel this way when I’m focused on finishing a WIP or exhausted from my real life. At those times, I usually feel like I don’t have much to say on my social media sites. So why bother? It’s not like the world needs me in order to keep revolving.

But over the years, I’ve pushed through those times when I’m burned out and tempted to quit. And in hindsight, I’m glad I kept going.

The truth is, if we want to win the game, we have to keep playing. Sure we may strike out from time to time, or have a bad inning, or even have a losing streak (rejection from an agent, turned down by a publisher, or negative review from a reader). But we won’t give ourselves the chance to succeed if we plop onto the bench and simply watch from the sidelines.

Don’t get me wrong. We all need vacations from social media on occasion. I usually take a couple breaks during the year. It’s good for us and our families for us to unplug. And sometimes we have to evaluate our schedules and cut back the time we’re spending on social media—especially if it becomes more consuming than our actual writing.

But we can’t give up altogether, even though there will be plenty of times when we’re tempted to—especially for those who are still in the pre-publication struggles. The BEST time to lay a solid foundation for social media is BEFORE publication, not after. 

Over time, the benefits of social media begin to accumulate like money in the bank. And later, when a writer needs to cash in, then those benefits are waiting. But in order to accrue a tidy sum, writers have to keep maximizing social media, join in the writing community, develop genuine friendships, engage in conversations, and give, give, give. Did I mention give?

If we stay in the game even when we feel like dropping out, here are the numerous benefits we might reap:

1. Endorsements. Many traditional publishers require debut authors to get endorsements from established authors. When we build friendships with other writers, they’re more likely to agree to endorse us when we need it. Obviously, established authors don’t have the time for every endorsement request. But I’m more likely to read and endorse a book from friends I’ve made versus someone I don’t know.

2. Agent referrals. We never know which of our friends will get agents before us and perhaps be able to help us get a foot in the door as a result. I’ve occasionally been able to put in a good word for a writer friend when they get ready to query my agent. But that’s only because we’ve already established a relationship and I want to help them out.

3. Feedback. Often newer writers wonder how to find critique partners or get feedback on their writing. I’ve found the best way to develop trusted critique partnerships is out of evolving friendships with like-minded writers. But finding those like-minded friends takes time and effort getting to know others.

4. Influencers. During the release of our books, those early friends we make become some of our biggest supporters. They’re the ones who get genuinely excited for us, shout out the news, and help spread the buzz about our books. I’m most likely to go above and beyond spreading buzz for those friends I’ve had through thick and thin. Many of those are friends I made before publication.

5. Readers. Yes, our early writer friends often become our readers. Not only do they influence for us, but they enjoy reading our books and help pass around the book love to their families and friends.

6. Encouragement. Other writers “get” the pain, frustrations, and disappointments of the writing life in ways that non-writers can’t. In the changing writing industry, agents and editors don’t have the time to pamper and hold the hands of each of their clients. Our writing friends can fill the gap and encourage us when we most need it.

7. Resources. I have found the writing community to be a wealth of information. Because of all the connections I’ve made over the years, I’m constantly surrounded by the best and most recent happenings in the publishing industry that I couldn’t possibly have found on my own.

8. Mentors. I’ve been mentored by countless other writers—through blogs and writing books—many I wouldn’t have known about if not for the friends I’ve made online. I’ve found other writers to be some of the most generous people, willing to share all they’re learning with others.

Summary: If you’re ever tempted to pull yourself out of the social media game, think long and hard before you do. Those early relationships are foundational for success in the modern writer’s career.

Have you ever grown exhausted by social media and been tempted to pull out of the game? What are some of the benefits that have kept you on the playing field?

41 comments:

  1. After the A - Z blog challenge, I've made new friends but haven't yet given enough of myself to reap any of the benefits you so aptly describe. Excellent line of reasoning. I'll continue with my blogging in conjunction with writing.

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  2. I was just talking about this with a writer friend of mine. I'm going through one of those periods of burn out. I definitely haven't given up on social media, but I've taken a step back for a little while. I need a chance to catch my breath and finish my WIP. But I'll jump back in soon.

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  3. You are soooo right Jody:-) Lately I've been feeling burned out too with social media. I have met so many great writer friends...like you Jody and others! Whenever I think 'it's all too much' I think of people like you who are steady and willing to give of your time and resources even though you are very busy in your 'real life.' Thank you so much for sharing these points...and thankyou too for being a giver, Jody :-)

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  4. I get so busy sometime running errands and seeing to medical tests lately that I've felt burned out when it comes to social media, but I just keep trying to do a little here and there, and that usually pushes me through.

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  5. I've been slightly tempted at times, but I'm still at the place where I'm enjoying social media and blogging. I'm enjoying getting to know other authors, and you're right...all of that has led to incredible support so far. No one else knows what I'm going through better than my writing friends who have been there! And I'm enjoying gleaning wisdom from each of them.

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  6. Fantastic tips, Jody. So true. There are times I have to step back from the social media realm, just take a break. This usually gives me a fresh look and I usually find something new and exciting.

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  7. I sooo agree with you on this, Jody. I remember the post you did a while back about how social media/blogging is a job. And we can't decide to play hooky just because we feel like it. I try to take short breaks once in a while, but it probably ends up being two or three times a year.

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  8. Staying in the game. How true!

    Social media is fun, but it IS necessary and it IS work. Keeping a healthy perspective and remembering the tips you just shared, Jody, are key.

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  9. I wouldn't say I'm going through burnout, but I've definitely had to prioritize. The impending summer means less time to write, so I've got to buckle down and get this first draft finished. I'm going to have to start promotion for my November release, and I want to be ahead on this book. That meant cutting blogging down to once a week, and I'm okay with that. It's my feature post that ties into my brand.

    THanks for the great tips, Jody.

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  10. Sometimes a short break will do the trick, rather than closing down shop. Walking away means a lot of lost opportunities, like you say. I've found that online friendships have also helped me find markets for short work like flash fiction and poetry.

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  11. I notice my stats go down sharply when I fail to post regularly, and it's disheartening because it's like shooting myself in the foot after I've worked so hard. However, I wonder what people mean when they say good bloggers "give" to others. It seems a disingenuous term used to distract from the fact that we're all attempting public images. Give what? Good content? Compliments? Packages sent in the mail? I don't get that one at all, but I have made some very good friends through blogging/facebook. And for that, it's all worth while.

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  12. Loved this post, Jody. It was very timely for me. I am so crammed with things to do, and writing to get done. I was getting the social media burnout. Thanks for sharing your tips. It rekindled my fire.

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  13. I haven't been tempted to pull out, but occasionally I get tired. You make excellent points! :)

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  14. Hey everyone! Thanks for all of your input today! I think we all get tired and tempted to pull out from time to time. That's probably a good indication that we need a break (versus quitting!).

    And Jill, as far as giving, I think there are numerous ways writers give to one another: encouragement is tops! But here are just a few ways writers have given back to me: helping out with blog tours, posting reviews on my books, passing along my books to others, retweeting my blog posts, supporting me on Facebook, linking to my blog, giving me feedback on my writing, etc.

    I think the more we have the attitude of being a blessing to others, of saying "what can I do for others to uplift and encourage them" the more we're blessed in return. Not that we should do things expecting anything in return. But nevertheless, when we give of ourselves, we're usually blessed back in some way, right?

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  15. "The truth is, if we want to win the game, we have to keep playing."

    I think I'll write this on my white board. Thanks, Jody!

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  16. My kitchen is calling, I`m on laundry load numero 3, I don`t know what I`m making for dinner and I`ve already spent too much time going through the social media part of my day. Everything you`ve said makes total sense, especially points 1 though 8. And speaking of points, do you take bribes for 1,2,3 and 8? I'm not kidding. I was in the foodie section of the paper for my chocolate paté. Or cheesecake. Those babies mail just fine. ;)

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  17. Great post, Jody. You're right, we do all get burned out. Social media seems like an endless time sink, but to me the whole value is the relationships. I have met wonderful people, discovered great authors, books and blogs. I really appreciate that odd snippet of support and advice from others online, and try to pass it on daily. No more is being a writer a lonely profession.

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  18. Great post, Jody, and timely for so many of us. I love the idea that we have to build that platform BEFORE we're published. Hard to do, with nothing to offer but blogposts or snippets of writing, but it's great to get that enthusiastic support base, like you said.

    Personally, I'm dying to have a REAL BOOK to put in my followers' hands! But blogging & twittering keeps me connected w/them in the meantime. And I can learn while I'm waiting!

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  19. Whew, this is very timely for me, my burn-out being high at the moment. Those are definitely good reasons to keep going and giving!

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  20. Jody, this is very timely for me! I am feeling very burnt out after a book release, blog tour, promo, etc. I have been fighting the urge to just "disappear" with total relief. And you made me realize all I have accomplished this past year has been in large part due to social media. Particularly, through the friends I have connected with online - and met up on the side privately and in person. These new writer and reader friends have helped drive me to where I am today. Thank you for this post! I will look at staying in the game, but limiting myself so I don't get burned out again. Its all about finding a balance - and re-working it when the scales are tipped too far to one side.

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  21. Great post. Sometimes I feel too burnt out with work and writing that I think I'd give up social media, but know I won't. I've made so many great friends and even found a couple of excellent beta readers in the process.

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  22. Great advice Jody. I've suffered from burn out a few times, but only once in my earlier days of social media did I consider throwing it all in. I've found that by easing off every once in a while can give me new ideas and the will to keep going. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  23. JennyM, your comment cracked me up! Thanks for the smile! :-)

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  24. As an (as yet) unagented writer, social media is all about encouragement for me. It feels just as good to encourage others as it does to receive a much-needed pat on the back. I have met some critique partners as well who are like gold.

    It's really true - you sow what you reap in social media!

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  25. Very well said, Jody. I agree that social media is crucial to creating a following and making friends who actually understand where your aches and joys are. The best way to do that is through open communication and constant presence, without poking people in the eye.

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  26. Sunday is my day of rest from social media. I take a one-day break each week and come back refreshed on Mondays. Luckily, I haven’t burned out yet!

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  27. Real wisdom here. These are excellent incentives to get writers to use social media for the first time, as well.

    I think the secret is to keep your social media commitments under control. Don't join every forum and reader site or start 10 blogs and 25 Facebook groups. I'm a big fan of the "slow" once-a-week blog. And I'm careful of guest blog/bloghop commitments, because when you spread yourself too thin, none of the important relationships you mention can happen. You become somebody who just breezes through and never engages.

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  28. Hi Anne! Thanks for adding to the discussion! Wise, wise words! I think it's so true about breezing through social media and not engaging. I find myself having to resist that temptation and to keep it real!

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