Amanda White: On Social Media and Writing

HowTheyBlog.com Interviews Amanda White

Amanda White

Blog:
Ohamanda.com
Social media:
twitterTwitter
facebookFacebook
pinterestPinterest
instagramInstagram

Another Friday, another farewell. What a great week of wisdom, Amanda has shared with us. I love her willingness to try new things, change and adapt to her seasons and her interests. The beauty of blogging is that it is what we make of it. I know we can feel “stuck” sometimes, but Amanda has shown us that it’s never too late to “rebrand.”

Today, Amanda shares her thoughts on Social Media and Writing. Enjoy!

Amanda White on Social Media

1. How do you keep social media from running your life? Is it a struggle for you? Any social media management tips?
The problem with social media is that it never ever ever stops. No matter how caught up I feel, I check Facebook one more time and see someone with a great update, I see one more tweet from someone else that I feel I should have thought of first.

I picture social media (specifically twitter) as a fast-moving river. You can jump in and go along for the ride but when you step out you are going to miss something. You just are!

So, I have to dial down my expectations. There will always be someone ahead of me. There will always be someone with more followers. There will always be a time when my name is not spoken of online and my blog not linked to and my tweets not retweeted. And that’s ok!!

I have to fight that invisible hand of the internet pushing me to be involved. I have to say to myself, “No one is missing you. No one is sitting on Twitter of Facebook or your blog pressing refresh to see what you’re doing. Relax!”

I don’t mean this in a self-depreciating way. For me, it’s a release. I don’t have to be tethered to the internet 24 hours a day. I don’t have to update every single piece of my life.

So, my only actual guidelines (for myself) are:
1) Weekly internet Sabbath. I don’t get on my phone or my computer on Sunday. Period. I don’t even schedule updates.
2) I use http://www.proginosko.com/leechblock.html to lock myself out of social media during homeschool hours. I also use LeechBlock to limit the amount of time I can access certain social media sites each day. And I change these up, too. I used to do 20 minutes per day on Facebook. But I’ve found lately, I actually need a little more time there, so I upped it to 30.
3) I think that’s it.

I’ve also recently hired a VA to help me overcome my email inbox. It’s the one thing I can never seem to get control of and it weighs me down. She works like 15-30 minutes a week. And it’s worth every penny!

On Writing

2. What is your writing process? When do you write? How long does it take you to create a post?
I hate to say that I write only when I feel creative, but more often than not, it’s true. If I don’t have anything to share, I’ve found it’s better if I don’t share it. I like going back to read my blog and LOVING every single post. When I make a post happen when I’m not feeling it, I never LOVE it.That being said, I rarely lack for topics. When I do write, I usually only write one post a time. I couldn’t do 3 or 4 a day like some people. Mainly because I don’t have that block of time available to me.

I’d say an informative post takes me a couple of hours. If it’s a post with lots of Amazon links, photos or some other creative element, it will be longer. I also include my social media updates (to Facebook and Twitter) for those posts part of writing.

If I just wrote how I used to with no pictures, minimal editing, no Pinterest-worthy graphics, no helpful links (either sticky or monetized) or social media legs then I could write a post in 15 minutes. But I think those days of blogging are over. Unless I don’t care about traffic. But then, I’d just get a journal and a nice mechanical pencil, huh?

HowTheyBlog.com Interviews Amanda White

3. Do you have a blogging mentor or accountability group (formal or informal)? How have you created and fostered those relationships?
I have many mentors. They might not know I exist, but I follow them and copy them. Many of them are mentors for a short time. For example, if someone is rocking Pinterest, I’ll follow what they do for awhile and see how they make Pinterest work for them and add their ideas to my repertoire.

I am involved in several groups and I cannot tell you how beneficial this has been to me. I have written a whole post on this before so I’ll try not to do the same here. But there are 2 kinds of groups: 1) groups you make because you can’t help yourself from NOT being a group and 2) strategic groups that will help you advance your brand. I have a group of blogging friends I can’t help but be attached to. We talk on Skype, we have a private Facebook page, we text, email and generally are just long-distance BFFs. We love each other enough to not be jealous of each other’s successes, to help each other through failures, ask dumb questions, get opinions and can tell each other when we should do more/be better/slow down.

I’m also in several groups where someone approached me (or I approached them) and said, “Hey. We could help each other. Let’s make a group and promote ourselves.” For example: a local blogger Facebook group (we share PR contacts, ask questions and promote posts), a Pinterest board with other homeschool moms (we pin our appropriate posts and it is shared to our collective followers), and an email group of like-minded bloggers (we ask for Pins, Stumbles and RTs of our recent and most-likely-to-be-viral posts).

4. What is the best blogging advice you’ve received? (OR) What is the best blogging advice you could give?
I know I mentioned this before, but remembering that the internet (specifically social media) is a bottomless pit is key. Instead of trying to fill that bottomless pit with more tweets! more updates! more posts! more pinnable images! focus on what you do best. Get your passions down to one razor-sharp focus.

When you can sum up what you do or what you want to do into a sentence or a phrase, it will guide you in how you blog. (The perfect example is Kat’s blog, Inspired to Action. Her byline: “Incredibly Practical Tips for Moms” is spot on and she never deviates from it.) This may take time (it took me almost 7 years!) and it’s ok to flounder and experiment. Having a razor-sharp focus doesn’t mean you’re a niche blog. It’s ok to be a lifestyle, no-niche, memoir blog. But if that’s your razor-sharp focus, don’t go outside of that. You will be more relaxed and more fulfilled in what you do.

Q & A with Amanda

What are some key takeaways you’ve learned from Amanda this week? What questions do you have for her today? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!

Read All The Interviews with Amanda

1. How They Blog: Amanda White
2. Amanda White: Gadget and App Recommendations
3. Amanda White: On Social Media and Writing

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Comments

  1. Amanda, this was super helpful. Thanks for sharing, especially the fact that you have a stand-off with the social media pit and keep away from it all on Sundays. I’ve been doing that and it helps stay focused and keeping me from burning out!

  2. Amen, Amanda, AMEN! Social media is indeed like a river, and it’s very easy to drown in it. I’ve found that having a blog means that I NEED to be connected to social media (as much as it gives me a mild case of hives), but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t just chase the numbers and add the same followers everywhere. The point of it–for me, anyway–is to build different audiences. Otherwise, you’re basically just repeating yourself to the same circle of friends–and your blog can’t survive or thrive on just your personal social circle. That’s why Twitter was the biggest surprise for me–I really had no clue about it before joining it (pretty recently), but it’s such an easy way to go outside of your friendship circle and reach like-minded people you’d probably never meet in real life (for me, that was green-minded people). I wrote about this and my own love/hate relationship with social media here: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2013/04/my-love-hate-relationship-with-social-media.html.

    Anyway, thanks so much for mentoring us newbies this week!

    P.S. I just joined Pinterest and I have NO IDEA what I’m doing! Yikes…

    • There are definitely different groups of people on each social media site. Michael Hyatt says that all those social media outlets should be like outposts or embassies that represent your blog (or country). So, even though I have a different “audience” on twitter than Facebook, my point is to bring them to my blog where the REAL me and the REAL info and the REAL platform is. Those social media sites bring MORE people into your friendship circle!

      Thanks for your great words! Off to read your post…
      a

  3. Whoa. So needed the conviction about timing myself on posting and not using social media as often… one post kept me up until 4 am this week. I kept changing it, looking at my 4yo daughter’s baby pictures and checking facebook to distract myself from tears – lol! I don’t use Firefox so I found “Stay Focused” that will work on google chrome to help manage my time on social media and other sites. Good changes today. My husband thanks you!

    Here’s the link for anyone that uses google chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stayfocusd/laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji/details?hl=en

  4. Setting limits on internet/social media time, blogging encouragement groups, narrowing to a “razor-sharp focus…” such great stuff! Super helpful, thanks, Kat & Amanda.

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