Social Media and Attention

We all know that social media can be a time suck. That we should spend less time on it. That it can ruin our attention spans.
I’m finding that to definitely be the case.

I stopped using Discord because I was wasting a lot of time whenever I logged in. I had been spending hours talking to people, reading messages, etc. Then I stopped. Not even intentionally, but I got so busy with Praxis and everything I was doing I never thought to log in.
I went on yesterday and remembered why I quit.

I stopped using DeviantART sort of accidentally, similar to my unexpected unplanned leave from Discord. I got busier, so I didn’t have time to go on. I wasn’t posting, so I wasn’t wondering if people were commenting or favoriting my posts.
I was on briefly the other day and was surprised by how many comments I had as well as how many people were still interacting with some of my posts.

I’ve been spending more time on social media. Not on purpose. I go on and scroll. I read the posts, look at the pictures, sometimes hit the like button or leave a comment. On Twitter sometimes I’ll read a thread on a controversial post, or something I find fascinating. On Facebook sometimes I’ll look at the comments and it’s either a huge fighting mess or people say some fun things.
Either way it’s wasting my time. And I can tell that it’s making me more prone to distraction.

I’m trying to read through Breaking Smart Season 1 (for Praxis, but I also want to read it). I keep getting distracted. When I got to that piece of content, I wished it was a video series instead of articles. Reading articles felt like it would take so much more time.
That could be because I’ve gotten into the habit of using watch time to also do something else, like knit, color, or draw. I love that I can consume content while doing something else I want to do. In fact, I don’t knit or color unless I’m consuming some kind of content, be it for entertainment or information.

I can see the correlation to social media, because when I’m getting distracted, it’s with a desire to open Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

I’m not going to quit all social media, in part because I use it to promote this blog and connect with people. I am going to cut back. By paying attention to the time I’m spending on social media and being tactful about when I allow myself to go on, I can limit the amount of distraction it gives me.

Life Is What You Make It (5)

I frequently think about my life, what I want to accomplish, what I’ve done so far, and how long I have to do everything I dream of. This is a series featuring things I’ve written about such things, both poetry and prose. The previous parts are here.


It’s my anniversary with my boyfriend. We’ve been together a year. A whole year! I can’t believe it’s been so long.

The past is important in shaping us into who we are today.

We live out each moment, each day, each week, each month, each year… But sometimes we forget where we came from, what shaped us into the people we are now.

Our memories are imperfect, sometimes even fabricated.

We’re able to record our thoughts, our actions, our lives more easily than ever before. People post on Facebook, and the next years, Facebook shows it to them again. They get reminded of their memories because they recorded them.

I’ve always loved journaling. For a while I hoped my journal would matter to others in the future. Now my past journal entries matter to me. I have a window into who I was in years past, a clearer view of how I’ve changed. I wrote about what was happening in my life. I might not remember a lot of that otherwise.

I can clearly see because of my recordings how time has passed, how my life has changed. I can track where I’ve been to see how I got where I am now.

We all need to know where we’ve been to understand where we are.

I journal and blog and date all the creative work I do.

How do you remember?

December Giveaway! CLOSED

Only a few people entered the giveaway last month, but I enjoyed running it, so I decided to do another giveaway.

The details:

Ends December 31.

Entries can be gained on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Prizes are:

  • coupon codes for Inside a Writer’s Head (all)
  • a pdf/epub of the preview and bonus content for Inside a Writer’s Head (1/10)
  • a pdf/epub download of The Diary of Kaashif Sarwan (1/20)
  • a free commission or critique (1/40)
  • a pdf/epub of Inside a Writer’s Head (1/60)

I will use a random number generator to draw the winners. Every entrant will win something. There are no losers.

How to enter:

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

On Facebook and Twitter you have to like and share the giveaway post. I will then message you your entry number as confirmation.

On Instagram, you have to like the post and tag two people in the comments. (I may change this to “share to your story,” but anyone who entered before it changed will not be removed.) I will message you your entry number as confirmation.

On my blog, like and reshare this post, either on WordPress or social media. Comment below with the link to your post and why you want to win.


The winners have been announced!

Module 2 Project Wrap-up

This post will be updated on the 30th with any new information about my project.

It’s the last week of my portfolio project marketing my poetry collection.

I got my copies of Inside a Writer’s Head in the mail before expected, and I’ve sold three copies. I set up my sale page to direct people to last Wednesday, but haven’t gotten any sales through it yet.

I sold a copy to my boyfriend, my local library, and some long-time friends of mine. I’m sending a copy to Jacob Beman as a thank you for designing the cover.

I’m expecting more sales after I announce the giveaway winners, because every entrant is getting a coupon code for my sale page. If you haven’t entered and want a chance to get the ebook for free, check out the giveaway page. It explains how to get four different entries to maximize your chances of winning.

The main video this week is a reading of some poems from the collection. I’m editing the two short videos I made reading related poems today. They will be up by the end of the month for sure, but I’ll be working on getting them out today.

I started my Instagram at the beginning of the month. In that time I’ve gained 47 followers. I’ve posted once a day every day.

On Twitter:

Twitter Followers.png

On Facebook:

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I posted every day on Facebook and Twitter as well. I shared the images from Instagram and most days I also shared my blog post for the day. This week that was poems from Inside a Writer’s Head.

At the end of this month I will have created 6 Youtube videos, hit 61 straight days of blogging, run a giveaway, increased my social media presence, and sold 3+ copies of Inside a Writer’s Head.

I structured my week fairly loosely. I created the blog post(s) for the week first, as they would serve as a base for the video(s). For most of the month, I didn’t plan my Instagram posts, and read through my poems to choose lines for the images every morning. This last week I had already selected which poems were going on my blog, so I shared those on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to tie everything together.

I typically spent 2-3 days shooting and editing video. It could have taken less time, but devoting time around my job it took that time. Some of the videos took less time, because I had less video to edit before it was done, but one week the video was 17 minutes to start, and one of my videos reading poetry was initially around 20 minutes.

I really learned how to make a single, coherent, focused product through video making and through the daily blogging exercises I’ve been doing. I have to keep a video focused on the topic of that video. I have to keep a blog post focused on the topic for that blog post. To do that, I have to center myself and my thoughts on that topic and focus myself on it so I produce content that stays with my chosen theme.

Next month is the writing month in Praxis, so I will continue my daily blogging. I also plan on running another giveaway, this time with more possible prizes including the Inside a Writer’s Head ebook, a pdf of my novella The Diary of Kaashif Sarwan, coupon codes for the poetry collection, the bonus content, and maybe another mystery prize. I’ll also continue making at least one video/week.

Module 2, Week 3 Project Update

This week has been the most problem-free so far, but still had its challenges.

I mentioned in my first project update that I had problems with my proofs from BookBaby. I actually found a new problem in the new proofs they sent me.

I had written the acknowledgements before I knew who was designing the cover for Inside a Writer’s Head. I thought I’d be working with Alexandra Wagner, so I wrote her name in. I ended up working with Jacob Beman, as I’ve mentioned. That was great and I shared that information. But I forgot to update the acknowledgements.

I noticed that it was wrong and had to message the BookBaby support team to figure out how to resolve it. I submitted a new book file, and they agreed to fix that one mistake in the ebook for me. They have a fee for additional changes or for submitting a new file, but they made an exception because it was just one mistake.

I got my new design proofs back, and I should get the books I ordered by the end of the month. I’m still not entirely sure when the ebook will be available for sale, though.

Last week I had the idea of running a giveaway of the collection. I acted on that the day after having the idea and posted about it on Instagram. I made it possible for any person to have three changes to win, one from each social media platform I’m on — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To enter people have to like and share the post and follow my account on that platform. Then I send them their entry number(s) as a direct message.

Right now I’m tracking entries in a spreadsheet recording the person’s username, the platform(s) entered on, and their entry number(s). I also expanded the possible entries to my blog and pinned the post with the explanation of how to enter each way. So far only four people have entered. I’m trying to keep talking about it so people will be more likely to see it and enter. I mention it in my photo posts with poetry quotes on them.

I’m not sure if my audience is currently too small to run a successful giveaway or if people don’t care or both. That’s something I’ve noticed about my project. Because I’m just starting out building my platform and interacting with people on social media and sharing my work more, I have a small audience and very little incoming interaction. 26 people like my Facebook page, 27 people follow me on Twitter, and 41 people follow me on Instagram. I get the most interaction on Instagram, but I feel more limited by the necessity of images. I need to practice creating photos for my blog posts in order to promote them on Instagram as well.

I’ve realized during this project and from the Praxis Wednesday last week that I’m really building my creative brand. I initially wanted to sell my poetry collection, but it’s not available yet. Yes, I’ll be selling a product, but to interest people in that product, I have to sell them on me and my work more generally.

Because of that obstacle, this has morphed a bit in my mind into building creative habits, connecting with people on social media to sell myself and my blog. That will take time. It aligns with my longer-term goals of being a freelance writer or making money doing creative work.

For the video and blog content directly tied to my project, I talked about how I completed my poetry manuscript in two weeks. I made a video on the same topic, which is embedded in that blog post.

Next week, which starts Thursday, I plan to post some of the poems in Inside a Writer’s Head to this blog, so stay tuned! I want my video to be me reading those poems.

I’m thinking about posting recordings of me reading my work, from Inside a Writer’s Head, other poems, and short stories to SoundCloud, but I’m not sure if it would be worth the time. I also found out that there is a 3 hour upload limit for free accounts, which may be a problem if I do pursue this.

Module 2 Project Outline

For my portfolio project, I am going to employ a variety of methods to market my poetry collection Inside a Writer’s Head. In my project ideas post, I had three ideas related to this. I want to combine these as best as possible to market my poetry collection in the most effective manner.

By the end of the month I want 500 people to have viewed a page where they can purchase the book or ebook and have sold at least 30 copies.

Week 1:

Write about choosing an organization method and formatting a poetry collection. 2 blog posts. Make a video discussing these two topics. Share the posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Create daily posts featuring short exerpts of poems in the collection or about the same topic. Have a link for the ebook and a link to pre-order a physical copy. Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m thinking aesthetic text over a nature image or a plain colored background. Interact with anyone who interacts with the posts.

Week 2:

Write about choosing a self-publishing method/tool/service. Make a video to go with it. Share the posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Adjust my approach based on which posts get the most engagement and replicating that.

Continue the daily posts. Get creative based on engagement with posts on the different platforms.

Week 3:

Write a guide to self-publishing ebooks with BookBaby and make a video. Share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Further adjust based on which posts get the most engagement.

Repeat the daily posts.

Week 4:

Write a guide to self-publishing physical books with BookBaby and make a video. Share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Final adjustments based on the most engaging posts.

Repeat the daily posts.

5 30-Day Project Ideas

Next month in Praxis, we’re focusing on portfolio projects. This week we are thinking about and preparing for that. For that reason, here are five ideas for potential projects.

  1. Market my poetry collection Inside a Writer’s Head by producing blog posts about writing poetry, creating a collection, and self-publishing through BookBaby. Bring people who are interested in writing to me and my collection by teaching them about making their own. I would also share posts on Facebook and Twitter, and I might “boost” some posts. This would include planning and scheduling content, interacting with people on social media, and clearly articulating what I learned while making the collection.
  2. Make Facebook and/or Twitter ads for my poetry collection, targeting people who are interested in writing, poetry, and self-publishing. Make posts compelling to peak interest in the collection so interest turns into sales.
  3. Make a blog post series on making and editing a poetry collection followed by a guide to self-publishing with BookBaby. Supplemental videos that go along with and expand upon the blog posts. Post ideas: choosing an organization method, formatting the collection, choosing a self-publishing method/tool/service, a guide to self-publishing ebooks with BookBaby, a guide to self-publishing physical books with BookBaby.
  4. Starting a consistent YouTube channel. Discussions of projects, short stories I’ve written, video supplementation to Recap posts, conversations with Justine about topics we cover on Over the Invisible Wall, etc.
  5. Complete a second poetry collection, taking it from nothing to published in 30 days. I have a poetry collection that only has a title and a cover image that could work for this. It might not be the best time for this project, though, since I just did this for Inside a Writer’s Head.