And ta da! :) New theme, courtesy of Automattic, which appears to be the closest I’ll ever come to using the Scherzo theme by Leon Paternoster. Boy, I loved Scherzo when I self-hosted my blog. It was just too bad that there were issues involving older versions of IE that couldn’t be fixed, but with this current theme, I don’t have to worry about it. And thank God for that custom design upgrade. I’ve always been fond of larger text in a minimalist design, and this is great. I mean, you know, I’m not getting any younger, and I tend to avoid blogs whose text I can’t read even with my glasses on.
Note to designers: Quit using light gray text against a white background!
“Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.” – Linda Breen Pierce
With my break from writing finally coming to an end (unexpectedly sooner than anticipated, but I’m not complaining), I’ve been able to do a little more reassessing with regard to my online presence and how it’s been affecting other aspects of my life. I know it sounds rather grandiose, linking the internet with my personal – especially creative – life, but there is quite a bit of cause-and-effect goings on behind the scenes.
I’ve blogged before about the ineffectiveness of social media as far as I’m concerned. I never was a social person, and for quite some time, I was very, very happy keeping nothing more than a blog. In the beginning, I was also very, very happy simply putting out two novels a year.
For better or for worse, I started reading a bunch of publishing blogs whose owners or guest bloggers talked highly of social media, especially when it comes to reaching out to potential readers. So I decided to create Goodreads and Twitter accounts, which I tried to maintain for a while. It was a struggle for someone who’s never been fond of social media, and to be honest, 90% of the time, I’m perfectly content reading other people’s updates without posting comments or engaging people in dialogue. Which, in turn, pretty much undermines the purpose of creating those accounts to begin with.
The biggest downside to this is the fact that these sites are a complete drain on my energy reserves, which aren’t a lot to begin with. I find myself neglecting this blog because I’m plain exhausted catching up on stuff elsewhere that I’ve got nothing to say here. Social media sites are also a really unwanted distraction from my writing in addition to being a mental drain. So my experiences being on Goodreads and Twitter really did nothing more than emphasize the fact that I’m not cut out for social media and that I should go back to basics.
There’s way too much pressure in the publishing world – especially with the e-book revolution and the saturation of every market – to “go out and mingle” in order to create buzz or rub elbows with potential readers as well as other writers, which, hopefully, would mean bigger sales. To some extent, that’s true, but my experience shows that the results are very limited and, in the end, not worth the grief when it comes to drained energy reserves that leave me with nothing left for my actual writing.
I do need to cut back on my online presence bit by bit. I miss the simplicity of using this blog and nothing else, of having more time to focus on my writing, and of aiming for two or three books released per year. And the first thing to go will be Goodreads, which I rarely ever visit. I only go there to update the database with my books or to post new release alerts at my author blog. I used to post reviews of books that I’ve read, but as of late, I frankly have no motivation to do it. I prefer to read and enjoy privately and, if the writer got under my skin in a good way, contact the author and thank him/her for the lovely experience. Twitter, I’ll admit, is barely hanging on, but I’ll hold on to it for a bit longer. I’ll be dropping it eventually, but I can’t say when for now.
Letting go of unnecessary clutter is a good thing. It’s always a good thing. For someone like me who’s never been good at this (or even comfortable doing it), minimalism is practically a matter of survival.