writing

The Introverts Guide to Using Social Media For Business

You know those articles detailing how to grow your business using social media?  They’re great, right?  Only, I almost always come away from reading them feeling super overwhelmed and just plain exhausted.  Like I could crawl back to bed and sleep and it’s only 9am.  I can’t be the only one, but I often feel like I am.  

The internet is an awesome tool for artists, no doubt, but at the same time, for me it can feel like such a chore when I’d rather be making something.  Plus, I’m an introvert, so the idea of expending more energy socializing beyond what I already do with my friends, family, and neighbors, just…again with the crawling into bed.  

So here’s my own introverts guide to social media (it’s short, I promise):

 

  1. Post and respond to comments only as much as feels managable.  I do want people who take the time to engage with me to know that I heard them and I try to make that happen, but if, on a given day I’m just too tired or I miss some comments, I just let it go.  The internet will still be there tomorrow. 
  2. Make sure you try new platforms or tools at a time when you have space for it.  Haven’t yet signed up for instagram but interested in giving it a try?  Don’t try setting up your profile and looking for followers right before you pick your kids up from school or at the end of a long day, or during the witching hour (dinner time).    I try to do this kind of stuff in the morning, when it’s quiet. 
  3. Remember, there’s no rush.  Take your time and do things at your own pace.  Reading some of those guides, I often start to feel like these are the things I need to be doing RIGHT NOW! and I should be doing all of them RIGHT NOW!!  This is when I step back, take a few deep breaths and see if there’s maybe one I can start today and work with for awhile before trying something else.  Again, unless the apocalypse happens, the internet will be there tomorrow.  There’s no rush. 
  4. Having a massive social media platform is not required for success.  Ok, so I don’t have proof of this beyond my own life; it’s just a hunch, but it feels like it might be true.  People have had successful business with social media throughout history and while using it definitely helps your business in this day and age, you don’t have to be a super pro at it to get clients and make money.  This post will at most probably be read by 10 people (and that’s being optimistic), I have less than 500 followers on instagram, and way less of fb, and I have plenty of work to keep my business up and running. So if your online following is not taking off the way you want it to, just take deep breaths, and focus on one client at a time.  

 

The internet is great…and exhausting…and sometimes terrible, but it’s not the be all end all of life, which I know you already know, so fellow introverts or very tired extroverts, a toast to slow social media and being kind to ourselves.  

  

 

On loosing the ability to write...and getting it back again

Growing up, I was told a lot that I had a talent for writing, that I was....a writer.  I heard this from my parents and teachers, primarily.  I became pretty accustomed to praise for the papers I turned in, whether prose, or poetry, or research, or book reports, I was told I had a natural talent.  And writing, unlike math, was always something I understood easily and, even though research papers still weren't enjoyable for me, the effort that came with them was a familiar one, one that I could wrap myself around and had confidence I would eventually reach the end and find myself having completed a comprehensible and intelligent paper.  (Math, on the other hand was and is largely a foreign language that I have no confidence in my ability to understand or put together anything legible around.  I'm speaking of anything that goes beyond simply addition, subtraction, and multiplication.)

I was always a little baffled by the praise I received for my writing since it seemed like nothing extraordinary to me.  I didn't put in large amounts of effort, I didn't pour myself into it; instead, I just sort of dashed something off and proof read it a few times, tinkered with phrases until satisfied and, yes, that will do.  I felt praise should be received only after the utmost effort, sweat, blood, and so on, so I felt somewhat uncomfortable with the praise my essays and prose garnered, like it wasn't something I'd earned, not really.  

Fast forward to now, 13 years after graduating college.  When I turned in my last paper, I breathed a sigh of relief and walked away.  I would become a ceramic artist, I said, and not have to mess around with those god awful school papers anymore.  I've never though of myself as a writer and, despite the praise, it wasn't a career I was drawn too.  But there's a funny relationship between natural abilities and what we end up doing, isn't there? Even as I've worked at becoming a full time ceramic artist, I found myself thinking about how I would write about this, if I were to write it all down.  I've dreamed of having a space to write about my life for, well... years, really.  But I've been both afraid and consumed by other demands like motherhood and it's overwhelming realities as well as recovery from a background that can be, shall we say, crazy making at times. So when I finally did start trying to write again, in fits and starts, I found the words don't flow quite as easily as they used to and that yes, in fact, you can loose an ability if you don't use those muscles once in awhile.  There were those first tremors of Oh Dear God, I don't know how to write anymore! But they passed because, well, absurd.  But still, like my pottery has only ever been improved by practice, same with writing and so here we are.  I'm practicing again, and it's not as easy as before, but it's kind of fun all the same.