Content Overload

Blog29I’ve been fighting content overload.

My gen used to find information in newspapers and books, and occasionally on TV. Often, for a particular subject, there wasn’t a lot. Like many others, I embraced the online world and, more or less, got used to a wealth of new sources.

However, after I got interested in writing a few years ago, I found a bunch of websites and blogs for newbie writers. I also started following a group tweeting for the same audience, usually linking to other sites and blogs. And I haven’t really touched Facebook, Tumblr or Instagram.

The overload came from trying to wrap my head around all this content when I’m also trying to write and promote. I’m guessing you know the feeling.

So here’s what I did with blogs.

Followed consistently useful blogs. Some blogs almost always give useful information. Many, however well-intentioned, are less consistent. And some pretty much recycle information. I narrowed the blogs I follow to the first group.

Followed blogs with short, easy-to-read posts. I chose blogs with posts that get to the point fast, and use helpful titles and subtitles as well as short paragraphs.

Followed blogs on certain topics. The more I get into writing and self-publishing, the more I’m interested in promotion and technology. I preferred blogs on those topics. At the same time, I culled blogs that post about grammar or writing tips. For those topics, I put more faith in practice, my style guide, and my editor(s) and beta readers. I also dip into Stephen King’s On Writing from time to time. I’ll monitor if I have the right approach.

Understood that most blogs offer suggestions, not rules. I used to read blogs on writing and feel pressure to implement all the points immediately. So, not only was I spending time reading a blog, I was reworking a chapter or my schedule or something else afterwards, and burning up more time.

Now I tell myself that blogs generally offer suggestions to apply to my circumstances if they’re useful. There are exceptions, of course. Getting spelling and grammar right is essential. But a blog that tells me to write mornings, or end every chapter leaving the reader guessing, is offering guidance I can quickly choose to take or leave.

Promised myself to use the same approach with other social media.

I’m feeling more relaxed already.

Copyright © 2014 Peter Fritze

Buy The Case for Killing here (Canada) or here (U.S.).

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