My view currently
One of the best ways to promote anything--your books, your business, your brand--is through content marketing. And I genuinely love to create and share content. Especially content that's going to help or inspire other artists and creative people. I've created a lot of content ever since I pretty much started using the internet, but for the past year or so, I've gotten especially ridiculous with the amount of content I create.
I've participated in Instagram challenges. I started a new creativity blog and creativity tips mailing list--which I updated Monday through Friday most weeks. I've had a YouTube channel--posting two to five videos a month typically. I started a holospace on Holonis. I joined the mobile reading app, Radish, and started a vampire novel there. I've tried to keep up my Twitter and Facebook--personal page and author page. I've written guest posts for blogs like The Creative Penn and The Digital Reader. I made quote pictures and book trailers and promotional photos for my books.
And let's not forget this was on top of the freelance writing and marketing work I actually got paid to do. And teaching a creative writing graduate class for Southern New Hampshire University online. And trying to finish You and the Night--book 3 of The Muse Chronicles--which I've literally been working on all year. So needless to say, I've been putting way too much pressure on myself and working way too much.
I'm lucky in that my husband, Peter, and I both work from home. He does some of the same freelance marketing work I do, and he's also super ambitious with his social media and content creation. And he's always working hard and hustling like me. So a lot of this year has been the two of us working in our offices from 9 to 5 and then sitting next to each other on the couch with our laptops from 5 to 10. And sometimes, it has been a lot of fun. And I am blessed to have him in this with me. But I have also burnt myself out completely with all the work. I can't tell you how many work-induced breakdowns I've had this year.
A little over a week ago (10/19), I was forced to put all of this work on pause as Peter and I drove to Lake Oconee for my brother's wedding. With the rehearsal and dinner on Friday night, the professional hair and makeup appointment my mother was nice enough to gift me on Saturday morning, practicing my ceremony a few times (I got to officiate the wedding), and then the actual wedding on Saturday, I didn't have much time to work.
It was a beautiful wedding. I had a blast with my family. And watching my father do the prayer before we ate, watching my mother dance with my brother, watching my younger brother give a hilarious toast, dancing with my husband who looked so cute in his groomsman suit, and having the opportunity to join my older brother and the love of his life in marriage, I had never been happier for my family.
The Sunday after the wedding, Peter and I drove up to Oak Island in North Carolina. My parents have been renting a house on the quiet Caswell Beach in the off-season every year since 2014. Sometimes it's just been the two of them, and sometimes it's been the whole family. This is the third year I've gotten to tag along and the second year Peter has joined me. (The first time he came, though, he was sick for most of it and didn't really get to enjoy it.) I was excited to get to see my "new" aunt, uncle, and cousin--my mother's half-brother, half-sister, and her daughter who I've only just gotten to know over the past four or five years. I was looking forward to hanging out with my parents, my husband, and my other uncle (who I've known all my life -- we even share the same birthday). I am blessed to have such a great family. Even though we're all different, we all love each other and accept each other for who we are.
The first day I was here sitting out on the beach watching the waves, I felt called to take what I'm calling a "content detox." This is similar to social media detoxes I've done before except I did still read Twitter and Facebook occasionally. But with the exception of a couple of re-tweets and a post I shared about Frankenstein on Facebook and this picture I shared of my view, I didn't post anything. I didn't post on my blog. I didn't post on Holonis. I didn't post any videos or make quote pics. I didn't post any vampire chapters to Radish. I did have to work a few hours; there were some deadlines I couldn't escape. But for the most part, I sat on the beach, I watched TV with Peter, I took naps, I played with my parents' dog, I played card games and board games, I hung out with my family, and I ate a lot of delicious food. I've had a total reset, and it has been glorious.
I'm still here at the beach for most of this week. Peter and I drive home on Thursday. And I might have to do a little more work this week. And as I'm starting out the week with a blog post, I'd say my content detox is over. But from now on, things are going to be different.
I'm sure I will still work more than 40 hours a week. I'm sure I will still put out a lot of content. But after my husband, my family, and my work that pays the bills, my main priority will be my actual books. (Or plays or screenplays if I get back to writing those.) Any other content will be a bonus. I'll still do blog posts and videos and social media posts, but only because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. It won't be "every Friday, I have to post this, and every Tuesday, I have to post that."
And speaking of writing and books, I have some exciting things planned for 2018 and 2019. I've actually finished up my vampire story, but I'll be pulling it off of Radish, having it edited, and putting it up on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited in 2019. I'm using National Novel Writing Month next month to achieve my goal of finally finishing You and the Night with plans to publish that in early 2019. Because I'm scaling back the creativity mailing list, I'm going to put together 52 tips--most of which I've already written--and publish another non-fiction book in 2019 (on all retailers--Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc.) I also will probably re-launch The 30-Day Writing Challenge with a new cover and make it available on all retailers. I'm planning to pull all three of The Muse Chronicles books out of Kindle Unlimited and make them available on all retailers in the second half of 2019. And I have an 80s time travel YA book called Time After Time which will be published in either 2019 or 2020 (whether that will be an indie release or a traditionally published release is still to be determined.)
That might all sound like a lot of work, and maybe it is. I've always been someone who's not afraid to work hard. And Peter still has a lot of things going on, too. I'm sure there will be a lot of evenings of sitting on the couch together with our laptops. But this reset has taught me that while it's good to have goals and ambitions, if I don't achieve them, it's not the end of the world. And I need to be a lot better about self-care and put a lot less pressure on myself. Working evenings is okay as long as I take one night a week to have a date night with my husband or I take Sundays off or I remember to eat healthy and take little ten-minute walks throughout the day. And I have to find time to sing, play guitar, read, crochet, watch TV, hang out with my family, etc.
So my content detox is mostly over. But I still have a few days left here. So if you need me, I'll be sitting in my chair on the sand, drinking peach tea and eating chocolate, watching the waves crash against the shore.