The newest craze around the internet seems to be Pinterest. Everywhere I turn, I see posts lauding the benefits of the site and telling us how to make the most of it.
I’m not nay-saying Pinterest. In fact, I joined some time ago and am having a blast with it. I love using it not only to share more about myself and my books (via pictures), but I also love the capabilities Pinterest has to inspire, encourage, and brighten the lives of all those my pins touch.
However, the thing about any social networking site is that as good as they can be, they have the potential to detract us from our limited writing time. Add Pinterest to Twitter, personal and author Facebook accounts, Goodreads, and blogging, and we could literally spend hours a day drifting from one place to the next.
Sure, we can and should enjoy social media. I’d likely spend time on social media sites even if I wasn’t an author. But . . . let’s face it. Writers who are serious about publication have the added pressure of building an online presence. So, many of us are likely doing more online than we would do otherwise.
But as I always say: Writing HAS to stay the priority. Or what’s the point?
We’ll only waste a LOT of time building an online presence if we don’t have a well-written book that can really WOW our readers. Because honestly, readers aren’t going to care a whole lot about what we have to say on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest if they think our books are garbage.
So how do we keep the MAIN THING the main thing?
With my dive into Pinterest, I’ve realized that I need to keep a grip on my writing productivity. I have to be the master of my time, rather than letting Pinterest or other social media take control of me.
Here are three things I’ve been doing lately to make sure my productivity doesn’t bend the knee to social media:
1. Turn off the temptation during writing time.
When I have writing time, especially uninterrupted writing time, I try not to let anything else tempt me away from opening my WIP, putting my fingers on the keyboard, and plunking out my daily word count.
The internet can tempt even the most self-disciplined of us. When I’m writing, I’m usually most distracted by my emails as they come in (and lately also with Pinterest). So, what do I make myself do before I start writing? I completely shut off those two things so that they aren’t an easy click away when I get stuck on a hard sentence or scene.
Know your temptations. If you can’t turn the internet off completely (which doesn’t work for me because I listen to Pandora while I write), at least turn off the sites that the biggest distractions.
Author Media also put together a list of inexpensive apps that can help writers quit wasting time. If you’re really struggling with turning off tempting sites, then you might consider downloading an app that can help you gain self-control.
2. Set tangible writing goals within specified amounts of time.
I usually give myself the goal of writing a certain number of words within a 30-minute time span. I post the time and the amount of words I hope to write on a sticky note on my screen. Then every 30 minutes I add a new goal.
I don’t let myself switch on my social media temptations until I reach several consecutive goals. Then I take a quick break to answer a couple emails, tweet, or respond to a blog comment. I use the social media break as a reward for reaching several working goals.
3. Designate time to focus on social media.
As I said, I don’t believe our social media time should overshadow our writing time (except perhaps around the time of a book launch when the marketing responsibilities are at an all time high). Writing should stay THE number one priority.
However, I’ve found it’s somewhat freeing during my writing time, if I know that later I’ll have time to write those blog posts, or follow back my new twitter followers, or respond to emails. I’ve had to build social media time into my schedule, which ultimately allows me to focus better on my writing while I’m in writing mode.
What about you? Do you ever have trouble with social media taking over your writing time? What are some ways you keep social media in its place?