If You Give a Writer an Interesting Link…

Before I considered what I wanted to accomplish in 2014, I took a look back to assess 2013, to see what I’d accomplished. And friends, I had a moment.

It was not a good moment. What, I said (probably “screamed” would be a more accurate word choice), happened here? Because not a whole lot, in fact, did happen in my own little writing world. There had to be a reason, I figured, and it wasn’t long before I figured it out.

Facebook. I shouted to the heavens, with my arm upraised, gripping blank pages. FACEBOOK!! (It was an Oscar worthy moment.)

Facebook itself is not a bad thing. I rather like keeping up with friends and seeing pics of the family. I enjoy a little social networking as much as the next guy. But I’m a writer and I have this ridiculously overdeveloped curiosity. So if a friend posts a link to “The Six Worst Crimes in History That Happened in January”…well, I have to stop and read that juicy tidbit. It’ll only take a few minutes.

But at the end of that article, I find a link to “Serial Killers of the Renaissance–Who Knew?” and I click on that link, too, because come on, people, it’s the Renaissance. And I gobble up a few more minutes of my writing time.

Many of my writer friends are on Facebook, too, and they share the most interesting links about writing (click!) or something in their field of interest (click!) or just the most absolutely fascinating random subject ever (click! click! click!). Well, you can see where this is going.

Unfortunately, I did not until the end of the year. That’s when I realized I’d spent a ton of time clicking and not so much on writing. And though I now know an awful lot about Famous Horror Movie Scenes that Landed on the Cutting Room Floor not to mention Famous Duels and How They Backfired, I do not, as far as actual words-on-paper, have much to show for the year.

So for the first week of 2014, I limited myself to a daily seven minutes on Facebook. Seven minutes to quickly scan, to check on messages. And by January 5th, I’d submitted two pieces of writing.

I love you, interesting, fascinating, glorious links. But this little writer has learned her lesson.

(How about you? How do you tame Facebook? Inquiring and curious writers want to know!)

21 thoughts on “If You Give a Writer an Interesting Link…

  1. I know I’m as guilty as the next guy! It’s that magical little tone I hear while writing that has me scurrying back to see what’s happening. I’m also limiting myself to fb time…. but seriously, 7 minutes! I’m looking at an hour a day to get caught up (morning and evening).

    • There’s always something, isn’t there, Sioux? But I’m beyond impressed with writers like you who work full-time AND get in plenty of submissions. You’re like a Writing Wonder Woman. πŸ™‚

  2. Even though I get your posts in my email, I linked to this one from . . . say it with me . . . Facebook! I’m really not on FB very often, though, and when I do get on it is for a quick scroll and to check for messages, or to make sure my blog posted. The big online time suck for me is reading about writing. I get started and just keep hunting stuff down, or I’m checking my pals’ blogs and linking from there to writing places. And email! I check my email and then take forever writing replies to stuff that, really, shouldn’t take me more than a few minutes. I just need to stay OFF the internet.

    • But you’re so productive, Madeline! And where would you get all those great motivational quotes? So it’s settled–you’ll stay on the Internet and keep doing what you do so well! πŸ™‚

  3. I don’t like FB, but the internet is definitely a time-waster for me. I tame my insatiable curiosity by immediately bookmarking interesting links into a detailed filing system. I tag sites to blog about, interviews to read, articles on craft, story-starters, etc. I have more bookmarks than I’ll ever read, but it keeps me focused. When I do have time to study, say, how to query, I have a list of recommended sites at my fingertips. Now if I could just get my Pinterest mania under control . . .

  4. Hahahahaaa! Ahem…sorry, I need a minute to compose myself. You know my long and sordid history with facebook. I’m going for no more than ten minutes every other day. I don’t know why, but I focus so much better on the days I don’t get on. Plus, I tend to click on horrible, disturbing stories that just get me upset…and then I follow those to other disturbing links and before I know it, I’m depressed. I just get too curious and can’t stop myself. So I try not to start. πŸ™‚ Anyhoo, Congrats on submitting two things already!!! That’s awesome!

  5. Today, FB has not been tamed as I’ve been welcoming 12x members and working with an online class. Happy 2014 and cheers to your seven minutes.

  6. In 2013 I made a conscious effort to limit my social media time. I found that Facebook wasn’t as much of a time suck for me as posting on my blog and visiting others. So, I cut back to my posts and don’t visit others as much as I’d like, but I always enjoy visiting your blog, Miss Cathy, because it is always informative and entertaining. In fact, I’m sharing the link to the planner/calendar you posted a few days ago with some of my writing pals.

    • Aw, thanks, Donna! I know what you mean, about blog visiting. There are blogs I visit for the info and blogs I visit for fun. I get both at yours, too. πŸ™‚ (I tend to do a once-a-week blog dash-and-comment while I’m watching a game. Thank goodness, there’s always a game!)

  7. FB is a life sucker! I wake in the morning prepared to write and wham! FB diverts me and then it’s time to leave for school, BUT I am informed. If only I could remember half of what I read…lots of cute puppies.

    Five submissions, two acceptances this year. In between eating everything in sight, these snow days are paying off.

  8. Oh so true. The time-sucking quality of Facebook. The other day I spent a half hour or more looking at a site someone posted about the Victorian era trend of photographing deceased people. It was rather horrifying, yet there I was fascinated by it all. Sigh– can’t get that time back. So yes, taking more responsibility and control of my time– good focus for the new year.

    • I’ve seen those pics, Julie–and yes, they are FASCINATING (in a grisly way). But if we somehow find a way to incorporate that trend in our latest work, it’ll all be justified, right? πŸ™‚

      (Oh my gosh, I SO want to research that topic further. Must. Resist. Temptation. Arghhhh…)

  9. Pingback: Don’t Mourn the Missing Cat | Cathy C. Hall

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