(Update: I have since joined twitter @katielcarroll and while it certainly does add to my Infinite Loop, well it’s proving to be entertaining and a good networking tool.)
So there’s this thing that sometimes happens to me when I get on the Internet…on those days when I just can’t focus on my WIP or my editorial work. When I log on (okay, really I just click on b/c my whole house is set up for wireless connection and I don’t have to really ‘log on’ anymore…and my smartphone is always tapped into the Internet), I find myself what I like to refer to as ‘quagmired’ in the Internet.
The first thing I generally do is check my personal email: read all my new messages, delete most of them, respond to a few, and file a few for future reference. Then I often check Facebook…just for a few minutes to see what people have posted since the last time I was on or to maybe jot down an update of my own.
Then I check my second email account. This one is more of an authorial/editorial account where I correspond with many of my author friends (some of this is done on the personal account as well), get my update feeds for several Yahoo groups I’m in, and for all my general editorial stuff with the Muse. Usually a quick Facebook check happens here, and perhaps an update on Goodreads.
My third email account is strictly for edits/correspondence with authors whose books I’m editing. (Oh, and this is the one that’s linked into my blogger account, so when I subscribe to receive comment notifications from a blog feed, it gets sent here.) At any point along here stick in a stats check on my book on Amazon rankings.
If I have a blog post up for the day, I will usually go in and check out my stats and then reply to any comments. Or I’ll work on a post for the next day. Then I might peruse some of the blogs I follow. Then I’m likely to head over to Verla Kay’s—soon to be in conjunction with SCBWI—blueboards (if you’re a kidlit writer, you should totally be on these). Of course, then I check Facebook.
And forget about productivity if I have anything out on submission; whatever email account is the contact will incessantly get checked all day like I have some sort of nervous tic.
But that’s not where it stops. No, because by now so much time has passed that I need to start the whole cycle over. Personal email account: check. Facebook: check. Authorial/editorial email account: check. Editing email account: check. Facebook: check. Website: check. Amazon: check. Blueboards: check. And then I’m back at the beginning and I do it all again. If eyes could get whiplash, well, I’d have to go see a specialist at this point.
I call this getting stuck in the Infinite Loop.
So I try to imagine if I was more involved in other social media sites, like Twitter and Pinterest. Sites that maybe would help me market my writing platform if I used them. But then I panic about the thought of adding more into the Infinite Loop. What if the Loop got so big it didn’t just suck me in on the occasional day? What if it starting eking into a second day? What if the loop snatched up a whole week? What if I never wrote another word because I couldn’t get out of the Loop, days disappearing in a haze of 140-character snippets?
Then I take a deep breath and remind myself that I control the Infinite Loop. With just one click (or maybe a few, depending on how many windows I’m rotating through), I can vanquish the Loop from my day and stick to being on the Internet a reasonable amount of time. I am only a slave to the Loop if I allow myself to be. The emails, the Facebook feed, the discussion board will all be there when I have time to get to it. And it’s not likely that I’ll miss anything really important.
Sometimes I just have to realize I don’t need to do everything. Stick to the things that reward me either personally or professionally and forget the rest (Twitter be damned).
I’d ask you what sucks up your precious time, but, umm, I’m getting little twitchy and have to go check my email…