Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's Here!

I'm so excited to show you the cover of my upcoming book on the history of POW camps in Nebraska during World War II.

Here it is!

To say I'm excited is an understatement. The graphic designer at The History Press did an absolutely incredible job. They nailed it.

We're looking at a release date of mid-April.

So excited!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Social Media Cleanse

Last Thursday, I'd had it with social media. I just wanted to escape, to not be constantly "in touch" with everyone. To be honest, I feel addicted to checking Twitter and Facebook statuses, and that scares me.

Plus, I have a novel to write, and social media and mindless Internet surfing is a huge time suck.

If I want to be serious about this writing career, that means I have to take a good, hard look at how I spend my time.

So on Friday, I announced that I was taking a social media break for the weekend.

When Saturday morning dawned, I resisted the impulse to check Facebook and Twitter. It wasn't easy. I use both networks to communicate with a lot of different people - my family, co-workers, fellow World War II historians, and other writers. But I also knew that if they needed to get in touch with me and it was urgent, they either had my phone number or email address.

All day yesterday, I worked on my novel. During the times when it was difficult, I wanted to click onto Facebook or Twitter, but I refused to allow myself to slip. This was novel time, not social media time. Isn't my creative process worth more than endless hours spent on social media? Absolutely.

Today was easier. Yes, I still wanted to check my Facebook and Twitter, but I didn't. Instead, I opened the Word document of my novel and got back to work.

Of course, I didn't just write this weekend. I spent time with my husband and my daughter, too. I also took a nap!

It's 6:20 on Sunday evening, and here's what I've learned:

1) I rely on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on what's happening in the world and with family and friends.

2) At first, I felt like I was letting people down by not being "available", but then I realized I was not beholden to anyone but myself. It's okay not to be available 24/7. It's okay to not know what everyone else is doing via FB or Twitter. There's a certain liberation about it.

3) I felt disconnected at first, like I was missing out. We've become so conditioned now to know everything that's going on all the time that not being plugged into our social media network is almost like falling off the grid. And frankly, that's a little sad, isn't it? But it's also the reality of our world. This isn't the days of the telegraph or the Pony Express. We're far, far from it.

4) Forbidding myself from social media freed me up to focus on my fiction. Before, when I hit a particular rough spot, I would click on my FB or Twitter and browse for awhile. Then I'd go back to my story. I'd do this several times in an hour. I realized that this is an avoidance issue. I'm avoiding working on something difficult in my story by clicking on FB or Twitter. Instead, it's better to face it and deal with it. With no social media to fall back on, I became much more focused on my novel.

5) I'm on the computer all day at work. Social media is a small part of my job, too, so I can't abandon it during the week days. BUT, I can abandon it on the weekends and survive.

My fiction is too important for me to relegate it to the sidelines like I've been doing. I've put social media before my first love - writing fiction. No more! I hope to make my weekends as free of social media as possible because my writing is worth it.

Have you ever taken
a break from social media?

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance! www.melissamarsh.net