The Trouble with Being a Try-Hard
I try too hard. I think that's always been my problem, from as far back as I can remember. As an adult, you learn to compensate for your shortcomings—mostly—but sometimes you can't actually get rid of them.
My folks got divorced when I was 4, and I rarely saw my dad after that. Mom had to go back to work and was always tired. I don't really remember life before the divorce, but afterwards I felt like I was constantly competing with...something...for every little bit of attention from Mom. I don't know how I was before that point, but I wouldn't blame my little girl self for trying hard to get Mom's attention.
Nowadays, I see that shortcoming more often in my work and the "awesome" things I try to do that really don't hit the mark and are exhausting to keep up with.
I'm mostly talking about social media. I know that sounds weird, but stay with me here...
I want to sell more books. Everyone's on social media, so of course I should be on there pimping books and if I'm not? What's wrong with me?
Nevermind that I honestly don't like social media too much. When I have down time, I don't surf Twitter or Instagram, I either listen to a book while I play a game, or scroll through Facebook or Pinterest.
But stop! Facebook is for old people, not my market! Hurry, Ali—go post something where your "market" is!
Several times throughout my career, I've carefully planned my brand and run consistent social media posts, etc. YES, my impressions go way up, people see my stuff more, and more people comment. I love the comments, but because media isn't particularly enjoyable to me, I fall behind on them, which leaves me feeling guilty.
But you know what has never happened in response to increased and conscientious media posting? Sales. People don't buy my books because of what I post. They don't share what I post (usually). They're not telling their friends to buy my books.
So I tryyyyyyy so hard to show my best self on social media, only to take a lot of my time, effort, and stress for nothing.
One time, I really wanted my mom to listen to me. I think I was maybe nine or so. I was probably bouncing around, trying to get her attention, when Ed, her boyfriend at the time, picked me up and hung me on the top corner of the basement door by my shirt. He said, "You are precocious and should learn to be quiet. In my country, children were to be seen and not heard."
I distinctly remember hanging from the door while is slowly swung closed, while Mom sat on the couch, watching. She didn't tell him to stop, or not to do what he did—even though really, he was criticizing her parenting style too, because she couldn't "control" me.
Anyway, that's kind of how I feel every time I try hard with social media, only to discover that yup, just like last time, nobody cares.
Yes, authors can sell books through social media. I don't doubt it. But I'm not one of them. Those authors are probably people who love social media and are there all the time. Yay for them!
I think being a "try-hard" is when you feel like you need to be more than you are because you, and the way you do things, isn't good enough. I'm over trying hard. I'm over trying to get people to hear me, to care about me, to see me. That doesn't mean I don't want those things, but I think when I'm myself I attract the right people. When I try too hard, it's inauthentic, and nobody likes that.
So I may or may not be on social media. Don't count on it, but hey, if you see me? Cool! I hope you say hi! I'd much rather spend time blogging, working on my newsletter, and interacting with my awesome readers in my Facebook group. I'm still working on the newsletter and blogging part, but in the group? Those people like me as I am. I think I need to trust that more people would, if I let them see me and not the girl saying, "Look at me, look at me!"
I mean, nobody wants to be hung on a door by their shirt.
Did you ever see the MADtv skit with Stuart? I can so relate. Except, I'm not a psychopath and I think Stuart probably was!
Be real, my friends.
Until next time...namaste!