Constantly Checking Activity? I am done! Well…almost…trying!

Social media

Since publishing my book, I daily–multiple times–check my paperback and ebook sales. I also check my listing on Amazon and Goodreads for reviews and ratings. In addition to that, I have this blog, my Twitter, Tumblr, and 2 Facebook accounts, which I check for activity. I used to be a fanfiction writer. During those days, I would check the number of view and visitors to my stories. There is some checking that is not necessary since push notifications alert me when I receive a “like,” “reblog,” “tag,” etc. But, I still check.

I made a pact with my husband to refrain from the daily checking of book sales a week after the release. Instead I would check once per week. I failed miserably at this effort. Last night I made a new pact to once again temper my checking to twice per month. Why is this self-binding necessary? The result of my checking–whether what I find there is fruitful or not–has too much power over my short term outlook. The most significant data is book sales, reviews, and ratings. The other is less impactful, though abundant responses can outweigh lackluster data from the other. I hate this…just hate this. It’s a gratefulness thief. Instead of appreciating my real time tangible blessings, I sometimes dwell on the lack of a desired data point or become overly excited when I do receive a desired number. As I am enjoying it–I sold some books–I become reserved because I don’t like how a data point can make me happy.

I’ve read articles about how social media and constant connectivity has been found to make people more lonely. Everyone presents their best self–pictures of their perfect families, vacations, adorable pets–so the user gets an unrealistic picture of someone else’s life. All their “friends” are living their lives like it’s golden–all the time. We are all quasi celebrities constantly managing the narrative of our lives. When I’m on my dash, I sometimes wonder what is it all for? These people–my “followers” are folks I’ll never meet. We never ‘talk’ except through, likes, reblogs, and occasional private messages. What is it all for?

I am not to be categorized as one of those maligners of social media. I don’t see technology as the evil of this age. Far from it. My machinations–the incessant checking–has nothing to do with the tools or the actionable data they provide. Additionally, as with anything, you get out what you put in.

I began this post by hemming and hawing over my penchant for constantly checking for activity on my various social media platforms and book sales channels. It can be inferred that I dislike checking because I am (said in a whisper) not getting the results I want. However, that is not the issue that caused me to pen this post. The issue what lies behind the urge to check incessantly and how I orient myself vis a vis the results.

I am happy to report that I have not checked my sales data today. I have checked the others. I won’t check the views and visitors to this post. Perhaps the most important thing is that I am 1500 words into the first draft of my second novel–the checking doesn’t take me away from my writing. The Sisyphus journey continues.

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