Avoiding the Social Media Time Suck

Writers blog about it–the amount of time they spend on social media: monitoring blogs, writing blog posts, tweeting, facebooking, leaving comments on other blogs. It’s a huge time suck, and yet writers still do it. Guilty on all counts.

I’m still trying to figure out how to spend less time on social media time and more time on my passion–fiction writing. I don’t have the answer yet, but let me share what I’ve learned:

Be selective about the blogs you follow regularly. At first, I was like the proverbial kid in the candy store. Every week I would discover a new writer’s blog and add it to my favorites. I spent hours on social media and my writing output suffered. Now, I follow a few blogs religiously: Writer Unboxed, Rachelle Gardner, Nathan Bransford, Kathryn Magendie, K.M. Weiland, Jody Hedlund, Joanna Penn, Jane Friedman. Well, I guess that’s more than a few, but you get the point.

Set aside time for social media and time for fiction writing. That’s an easy rule to set down and a much tougher one to obey. How many times have you said, “I’m just going to check my stats, respond to a few comments and check a couple of blogs and then I’ll start working on my work-in-progress?” Three hours later, you haven’t put a word on the page. It takes great discipline to treat these as separate activities, but the writer must.

Use technology to manage your blog feeds. There are a number of tools available. Subscribing to your favorite blogs through email is one that I find helpful. Getting your favorite blogs on Twitter is another useful way to keep up, while not impacting your writing time.

Devote large blocks of time to writing and use social media as a reward. I’m a binge writer. If I’m not feeling it, I will produce drivel, but when I’m on fire creatively, I can crank out 3,000 words in one sitting. OK, it might not be riveting prose, but in some cases I’ve done my best work while on such creative rolls. The trick is to tell yourself you are going to write for three hours, four hours, whatever, and stick to it. Then treat yourself to a couple of hours on social media.

Go someplace else to write. This is a sound strategy. Pick a place–your local coffee shop or the library. Find a quiet table. Sit down with your laptop, find some music that inspires you and plug in your ear buds, and write for two or three hours. Try it sometime. Do your social media at home or on a mobile device, but not at your writing place.

Is social media a time suck for you? How do you find the time to write?


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8 responses to “Avoiding the Social Media Time Suck

  1. Yes, still struggling with this myself. I keep trying to limit the number of blogs I follow, but when I weed out a few, I end up adding others again later. I try to carve out exclusive writing time, but so far I haven’t consistently stuck to it.

    • R.E.,
      Thanks for your comment. I can relate. I have to really discipline myself to not get caught up in social media. Going to a specific location to write has really helped. I either go to the local library or Starbucks with my laptop and force myself to just write. No Internet. It’s helping so far. Thanks again.

  2. I follow 4 of the blogs you mention and almost immediately went to the other four to see what I was missing. But, the rest of your article gave me the strength to pause, not do that and plan it into my social media time later. I find all these tips helpful, but will be more diligent about separating my writing area from where I check my social media. I believe that will be a key for me in “socializing” less and writing more!

    • Amy,
      Thanks for your comments. A writer must be disciplined to avoid gettig caught up in social media. It can take up a lot of time. I find that going to a specific place to write is an effective strategy. Thanks again for stopping by.

  3. Using social media for a reward is a good one. But I find it takes less concentration to blog, comment than write, so I can blog while my baby’s awake–writing not so much. LOL

  4. I set aside time for social media and time for writing but sometimes I run over. Usually though, I am spending the time on social media promoting my work. So I guess it’s not too bad.

    Like Beth, I leave the social media segment of other time of day when I am less able to concentrate for a solid block of time. So, if I know that I will only have 20 minutes and then I will need to get up again, that’s not time for writing, that’s time for scheduling tweets or something like that.

    • Gloria,
      Thanks for your comments. Sounds like you have the right idea: setting aside time for writing and time for social media. I have a difficult time finding the right balance and I know I need to spend more time on my writing. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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