FOUR times in the last week people have mentioned the self-imposed pressure to stay on top of blogs, to read and to comment, to NOT miss any post, to keep up.
“Feel free to skip mine,” I’ve said. If that alone would solve the problem, they would have done it by now. Many have. But the problem is the other 699 or 37 or 15 (not to mention keeping up on Facebook and Twitter, but let’s not get into those two right now).
What begins as a spare time thing quickly becomes all-consuming. It’s cyber-addiction, made worse for young writers by industry experts urging them to build a platform by reading and commenting and networking and getting their names out there as much as possible. 24/7.
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I’ve noticed in some of my young writer-friends that excessive blog-following can really get in the way of the actual writing AND the actual LIVING that is the fodder for writing.
How I wish to gather you all in my arms……
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Now I’m not blogging to grow readership and and I don’t read and comment for that purpose. I write because it helps me process. And I make the rounds because I like to stay in the swirl of good thought, to possibly pick up something that will light a fire in me or help me in my daily living, which includes my writing but also a host of other things.
Despite this, I am not immune to the problem.
I used to be a news junkie until I realized it was a form of escapism
and could easily replace that addiction with blog-reading and writing, if not careful.
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Here’s what works for me:
- I confine my blog reading and commenting to 30 minutes around breakfast – either while I’m eating breakfast or directly after, before I settle into the day’s writing.
- I use Google Reader to bring me posts of the people I follow so I don’t have to go look for them.
- I skim posts to quickly assess whether they are something I need/want to invest focused time on.
- I keep my Google Reader list trimmed down. If I begin following someone who sounds interesting and after a while I find their posts aren’t a good fit for me, I remove them.
- There are some few blogs that I know I want to read with focus – every word – and I will sometimes set them aside – choose NOT to read them immediately – for another time later in the day when I can give them undivided attention, maybe while dinner simmers or in the evening when the house quiets down.
Following too many blogs is the modern version of having too many magazine subscriptions piling up on the coffee table. They may all have good stuff, but there’s just too much clutter in the house! I urge you to take charge and get things under control, for sanity’s sake and for the sake of your writing.