Time Suckers

FB-f-Logo__blue_512This morning I stumbled onto a blog post at Online Writing Simplified about Facebook and how it could be killing your writing career. Jaipi Sixbear did mention that Facebook can be a good place to promote your writing, but her post focused mostly on how Facebook can distract you from actually writing. I agree that Facebook can be a huge time suck, and I’ve fallen victim to it more times than I want to admit. But it’s not the only way to procrastinate, as most writers know.

It’s hard work to write. Most people, especially those who’ve never tried to write a book well, don’t realize just what hard work it is. While it’s important to get the butt in the chair and do the work, we writers, much like cats, like to take a circuitous route to that chair….

My Time Suckers (in addition to Facebook)

  • E-mail: second only to Facebook in time spent on it. I have business e-mail accounts as well as personal, and I’ve learned that if I don’t want to make myself crazy, I need to keep up with my e-mail on a daily basis as much as possible.  If I do, the time spent on it decreases.
  • Reading blogs: As I’m cleaning out e-mail, I’ve received e-mails of blog posts. They beckon me with their interesting topics.  I often read them, comment on them, and return to cleaning out e-mail. This activity takes time, true, but it also builds relationships across the internet.  Sometimes I even find ideas for my own blogs.
  • Research: I think I finish the necessary research for a piece in the first third of the time I work on it.  The rest of the research is purely me satisfying my curiosity and having fun.  But it can be a major time suck if I’m supposed to be writing.
  • Computer issues: I recently spent a week cleaning my hard drive, updating drivers, and giving my computer a tune-up.  I hadn’t done all that since I’d bought it two years ago and it truly needed the attention.  But it was time-consuming and often left me in a bad mood, certainly not a place for writing.  Computer issues can really suck the time and life out of a day, though.
  • Home projects: I work at home (as well as part-time in an office) and I have projects all around me that scream for my time: filing, possessions sale project (photography, documentation, advertising on the internet, contacting experts for appraisals, etc.), filing, and of course, cleaning, which is never done. At the moment, I’m up to my ears in home projects because I haven’t had the time (or energy because of my health) to work on them with the part-time job demanding my time, too.

I remember a time (she noted wistfully) before personal computers when I seemed to have unlimited time for everything in my life, even socializing with friends.  Electronics have not necessarily freed up time for other things in our lives.  They certainly haven’t freed up time for my writing!

What are your time suckers?

My "Office"

My “Office”


7 responses to “Time Suckers

  1. I think this subject will be ringing a huge bell for most of us. I look at the clock and try to spend a maximum of one hour on email accounts (three); WordPress; Twitter, and Facebook. For me, Twitter is the least engaging/constructive pursuit and I mostly just share beautiful photos/comic cartoons on Facebook.
    I work as a gardener (self-employed, part-time) in the week and, being naturally focused on eating – even in winter – have to involve myself in advertising/flyer distribution. And then there’s the weekend care work (limited hours, zero hours contract) I do . . .
    But writing is currently at a near-standstill due to the attempt to format an e-book using the Smashwords style guide. I actually find this fascinating and my capacity to use Word is on an exponential soar. Hopefully it will be a skill I can use to make money, as not everyone is going to want to pore over a hundred pages of instructions!

    • Thanks for your comment, Evangeline! I think you’re right about this subject. Most writers I know are procrastination masters. It’s uncomfortable to sit at the desk and stare at a blank screen with an empty mind! (laughing) I wish writing blog posts were a great warm-up for other writing but not for me. Although I’m also on Twitter, Facebook is a far more effective time consumer for me. Twitter doesn’t do it for me either. Interesting that your formatting your e-book yourself. I just couldn’t handle it so I hired a group that a writer friend had recommended to me. They were great. I still learned a great deal about Word!

  2. I try and fix times for social media– and stick with those. Some days, I use them as reward if I finish a certain amount of writing.

    Turning off the internet when sprint editing or writing is the only way for me to get any work done!

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