I don't know about you, but I have better intentions than actions. For example, I sign up for a lot of writing-related emails. I have an email account specifically for these emails, and I know that there is a wealth of good, solid information on the craft of writing in that email inbox. But some days, going through it is absolutely exhausting. Most days, I have 100 unread emails in my assorted email accounts, with most of those coming from my writing email. Every few weeks, I sit down and wade through the emails I've received, skimming over all of them and deleting the ones that don't contain useful information, while archiving or bookmarking ones that do. But still, it's a gigantic time-waster to have to go through so many emails.
Lately, I've been increasingly overwhelmed by writing resources at my fingertips. It's time that I take an honest look at myself and how I use these sources. I want to maximize my time and benefits, since social media and emails and the Internet can be such a drain on time. I need to get some good information and then get back to writing. So I've crafted some questions to ask myself before I unsubscribe to some mailing lists.
1. Does the email consistently send me information that applies to me?
This is going to be the main issue. In the information useful? Some emails, like the Writer's Digest email, can be hit or miss for me. Somehow, I'm on several email lists from them, and I'd like to narrow that down to the ones that pertain to me. There are often a lot of great, short articles that speak to an aspect of the craft I need, but there are often ones that don't. As a result, it's one of those emails that I want to keep receiving, but in moderation, and I have to be diligent about determining which ones apply to me.
2. Do I more often than not delete the email without opening it?
I confess. Sliding my finger across the iPhone to delete a message is easier than opening it, going to the link inside, and then returning to delete the email. There are some mailing lists I am on that I usually delete the emails from after only skimming the four-line preview. I think it's safe to say I can delete myself from these email lists.
3. Is it information that I will refer to in the future?
I subscribe to Publisher's Lunch, an email that contains daily information about book deals and agents who represent those authors. I may not always be at a querying place, however these are emails that I will absolutely refer to in the future when looking for an agent. If I were super organized, I would write down the names of agents that seem like a good match for me and books that seem similar to mine, and keep them in a file folder somewhere. If I were super organized. That'll be my next project.
Any of my subscriptions that don't pass these three questions, I will be unsubscribing from. My writing time is too valuable to waste.
And on that note, I return to my WIP!
Wow, how has October arrived already? Time to face up to my insecurities again, I suppose.
This month's insecurity is easy, really. This weekend I'm attending a local Writers' Conference in the greater Seattle area. Cool, huh?
Well, I have to admit, I have a few moments of insecurity about it. Okay, more than a few. In fact, I have shoved the idea of this weekend to the back of my mind. Repeatedly. Just so I don't wimp out.
First of all, I don't know anyone else going. Not one. I don't even recognize the names of some speakers.
Now there's something I have to admit. I am not a joiner. I'm not one of those people who sees a group they'd love to be a part of and immediately joins, figuring I'll meet people as I go. No, I'm one of those quiet, wallflower type girls, watching a group until I feel comfortable enough to not get rejected to try joining.
Groups of people I don't know scare me. Large groups terrify me.
I know, I know. I'm an adult. I should be over this phase in my life. And I've gotten better, trust me. But it still gives me a little tingle thinking about stepping into a room full of writers that are probably better than me, more experienced than me, more published than me, more than I'll ever be, and trying to talk to them. What on earth will we talk about? Small talk? Ugh. Just shoot me now.
Yes. My pessimist really comes out in situations like this. Now I pep talk myself, telling myself that not everyone is better than me, I am probably not the most inexperienced in the room, I could be one of the better ones in the room, I could be...well...that's about where my pep talk falls short. I am not published, I am not truly "experienced." That's not pessimism, that's just honesty. Now, I want to be published, and I've put a lot of work these past few years in feeling up to achieving that goal. I don't think any of my writing and editing over the past few years has been a loss. In fact, it's been a highly valued time of learning the craft of writing and expanding my skills so that when I am ready to query again, I can strike out with confidence in my WIP and pursue publication knowing I have a novel I can be proud of.
So a part of me looks forward to this weekend, to meeting new local writers, both published and unpublished, seasoned and naive, hopeful and bitter. You see, I do believe that every writer can teach another writer something, and I look forward to learning.
So I'm going to stuff my insecurities away and feign confidence. In myself, in my writing, in others' advice. After all, what do I have to lose? If I don't find anyone I like, I'll probably never see them again...