10 February 2011

Balancing Writing and Networking – How Do You Do It?

This week for me has been all about interacting with people on blogs, twitter and email. The main realisation I’ve come to is that this networking stuff all takes a lot of time.

I have a full time job, and it’s pretty demanding. I generally have 2-3 hours a day which I can spend on non-working, -eating, -cooking or -cleaning duties. Most of the time I could get in at least an hour of writing. A lot of the rest of it is spent catching up with writing and non-writing stuff online, reading, exercising, a bit of TV and hanging out with the people/pets in my life. This week however, I’ve only managed an hour total of half-hearted editing.

The first thing is Twitter. I don’t know how everyone does it. It’s not hard to send out the odd tweet about what you’re up to, or cool links you’ve seen. But the advice is to actually ‘network’; to join conversations and build relationships. The amount of time it takes to do this baffles me. Just trying to read everyone’s tweets is a huge time-sucker. Because of time zones, by the time I catch up I’m usually about six hours behind, so I’d look stupid replying to stuff, especially in the rapid-fire conversations a lot of writers seem to have with their groups of friends on Twitter. A lot of the time the subject matter is specific to local things, which I know nothing about, and it seems like I’d be butting in anyway. Even once I find more local people to connect with, I still wonder how on earth I’ll keep up with it all. I’ve download TweetDeck and I’ve started making lists, but there’s still the same volume of stuff. It’s different from when I used to use Twitter just to catch up with official news sources and special interest sites. Trying to actual communicate back in the other direction seems to take a whole lot longer. The thing is, if I had more time it would be very enjoyable.

Then there’s blogs – both trying to update mine and reading/commenting on other people’s. I’ve used Google’s RSS reader for a long time and I love it. My mission at the moment is trying to read things in a timely manner, so any comments I make are posted in a reasonable timeframe. I’m also subscribing to lots of new feeds which isn’t helping this goal.

So I’m keen to find out how other people are staying on top of all this stuff. Your occupation is a job, writing is a job, managing a house is a job, and now social networking is a job too. How do you handle it all? How much time do you spend doing these things each day? Any tips for how to network effectively without it sucking your life into a virtual vortex?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Charlotte,

    I think everyone struggles with this issue. Personally, I limit my networking time to about 1 hour a day. I spend 30-40 min skimming google reader (skimming only!) and comment on only a few posts. Then I update twitter, respond to msg's and do any retweets in the rest of the time. Sometimes I try to time my twitter/blog time around a live event or twitter chat. That's what works for me, but everyone finds balance in their own way. Hope that helps.

    P.S. I saw that you posted your info on Natalie Whipple's site and was wondering if you would be interested in a possible crit partner? =) If you want to check out my stuff my blog is sgardn.blogspot.com.