Self Torture Is As Self Torture Does

Whew! Let me just ask: how many times a day do you check your email? Your Twitter? Your blog stats? Your Linked In? Your Amazon rankings? Don’t have Amazon rankings? Thank goodness. Because it’s just another thing to be obsessed about checking.

I didn’t think I would circle around my internet activity nearly as much as I do. It is compulsive. Even if I manage to pry myself from my work chair (read: couch) every once in awhile, when I happen to sweep the rug close to the computer I just have to pop through the sites and see… Or if I am doing lunges on the yoga mat within a few feet of my work desk (read: TV tray), I just have to press the little buttons across my browser that let me know within moments where I stand with today’s social networks. Almost all the time, there’s nothing awesome to report.

It’s like when cell phones became real, usable gadgets. Whereas just months before I might walk into the mall with my family and say something like “I’ll meet you in front of Yankee Candle at 3:00,” now none of us could figure out how to problem solve when Charlie had left his celly at home. So it is with social media. It’s so easy, and quick, and addictive, it is getting harder and harder to imagine a world before I knew–up to the hour–what my friends were having for lunch and how my book is selling. Yikes.

And I chalk a little of it up to my husband. He loves the real-time aspect of the internet. I try to forget about Kindle and the library and awards competitions for days at a time, but Kevin just keeps asking about it. Any sales today? Hear back about that award? I noticed someone put your book on hold in Durham. Really, I believe I would be a lot happier if sometimes I didn’t know. Just like I feel I would be a lot happier if sometimes we still had a meet time and place at the mall. Wouldn’t we all?

I have made a decision. This coming fall, when my son goes off to school with his big sister, I am going to work outside of the home, as a writer (read: at Starbucks or the library study room). I can’t think of any other way to get us all in the rhythm of our new life. (Kevin is also completely changing his work schedule.) Sure, I really want everyone to get the clue that I will not be the daytime maid, anymore. But I’m also doing this for me. From 9am-3pm, Monday-Friday, I will not be the laundress, dish-washer, or home accountant. I will be a writer, and a bit of a publisher. Do you know how hard it will be for me at home to focus on that, after all these years of balancing all the mess of life in one big glob? Likewise, from 3pm on each day, and on most weekends, I will be Wife and Mom (and sometimes cook and sweeper and dishwasher). I want very little double-timing.

Recently I attended a creative entrepreneur conference (which I will be blogging about later, see “Solopreneur or Smoffice, Anyone?”), and the best advice I kept hearing again and again was this: market and publicity is a once-a-week thing. The art is the rest-of-the-week thing. Writing is the heart of my business, and there is only so much I can do to sell myself and my book. So my aim is to tidy up the slop that has evolved from my writing-momming-wifeing-publishing-marketing-selling life. From the fall on, I will have business hours. And I will have Owl and Zebra Press business hours. (I’m thinking Mondays.) And I will have Devon Trevarrow Flaherty business hours (Tuesday-Friday). And when I go home, I am that other woman.

Huge sigh of relief.

And while we are on the subject… I know that my appearance on someone’s website doesn’t mean too much to them, at this point. However, I have managed to just nudge myself into the loop lately, with a few lauded guest blogs on a couple pretty popular sites (and a natural increase of Twitter and blog followers). Then, I went on another site and generated almost no traffic for the lady. I mean, the giveaways had not one entry (as of today). So, do a sister a favor and like or share or comment on the article at My Memories of a Future Life. And while you are at it, enter the She & Him CD giveaway or the book giveaway. I mean, those CDs are selling like hot cakes! Your chances of winning are pretty spectacular.

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