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Is Social Media Draining Your Writing Time?

Perhaps it’s just me and the circles I run in, but social media has recently become a distraction. A distraction to writing, that is. It looks like this: I’m writing — whether a blog post, article, or book, something career related — Battery-drainedand my mind starts to drift. So I open a tab and start skimming through Facebook. Before you know it, I’m embroiled in a controversy or following links to a good article or fuming about some political scandal or puzzling over a weird news story. Whatever. After twenty minutes or so, I get back to what I should be writing and I’ve lost my mojo. I’m staring at the place I left off, trying to massage my brain into creative compliance. Multiply that pattern over the course of a day and you’ve spent far more time on social media than you have actually writing. If you’re worried that you’re losing followers, then just go to Gramblast where you can actually buy new followers and likes for your account.

Does that ever happen to you?

Well, lately it’s been leading me to the conclusion that something has got to change.

So I happened upon Ed Stetzer’s update — yes, on Facebook! — and something clicked.


“I just don’t have the time and energy for the drama.”

Hey, you know me. I’m as into debate and controversy as anyone. That won’t change any time soon. And I’m not leaving Twitter or Facebook. I’m not planning on quitting blogging either. Frankly, I like all these things. But I’m also 55 years-old and I’m just getting going on this writing thing. I’d like to log a few good years and leave some kind of legacy — at least for myself — before I get old folks disease and forget how fun this time really is/was.

Anyway, you know what I did after reading Stetzer’s update? I unFriended someone. Yep. I rarely unFreind people because I disagree with them. But this individual was particularly grating on me. Their stream of snark just drained me, left me in an emotional spiral.

So I zapped them.

No apologies. I just need to write more and the “constantly offended, regularly outraged, and unnecessarily argumentative” aren’t helping me stay focused. It’s bad enough that I allow myself to aimlessly troll Twitter and Facebook when I should be getting something “lasting” into print form. The least I can do is make my stay less draining.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Kevin Lucia November 15, 2013, 7:46 AM

    This is actually why I asked my wife for an AlphaSmart Neo2 for Christmas last year. Lightweight, portable word-processor that runs on AA batteries and connects to my PC and downloads Word compatible documents – writing/typing with no internet connection or email or anything. Just typing. I swear my productivity has doubled.

  • billgncs November 15, 2013, 8:04 AM

    just keeping up a blog is a huge investment of time an energy. Sometimes I wonder if we differ much from couch potatoes watching football or I Love Lucy reruns.

  • Lisa Godfrees November 15, 2013, 8:24 AM

    Now, how many people have gone to Facebook to find out if they were the one you unfriended? I didn’t have to, because I saw this on FB. 🙂

    And yes, I am supposed to be doing something else right now.

  • Teddi Deppner November 15, 2013, 9:59 AM

    Good for you, Mike. I’m glad you shared this, because it helps to have more voices telling us that it’s okay to have boundaries. It’s okay to decide who you let into your house — or your Facebook life.

    And I agree with Kevin. It really helps to have a different piece of equipment to write on. A word processor is probably the ultimate, but I find that even using my little Netbook makes a difference. While it has the ability to connect to the Internet, I have established a habit of sitting somewhere other than my desk with it, opening Scrivener, and writing. It has a smaller screen, which makes browsing less enjoyable and reading online more of a chore. So it’s less of a temptation, and now that I’ve established the habit, it doesn’t take much self-discipline to stay off the Net.

  • Jill November 15, 2013, 5:01 PM

    Uh, oh, I’d better watch myself…..

  • Jill November 15, 2013, 5:04 PM

    ….with the unnecessary argumentativeness (I wanted to clarify that I’m not generally offended; I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with those who are constantly offended.) 🙂

  • Forest (D&D Preacher) Ray November 16, 2013, 3:43 PM

    The nice thing about social media is we can block people. A while ago one of my abusers wanted to “connect” with me on Facebook to pick up where he left off. He made it clear he wished to continue the abuse in no uncertain terms. Not only did I block him but I turned the information over to my lawyer and he turned it over to law enforcement. I have learned to be very careful about who I let into my life virtual or real.

  • HG Ferguson November 16, 2013, 4:55 PM

    Many long years ago — or not so long — the folks behind Pinky and the Brain became most prophetic. Pinky and Brain try to infiltrate the office of “Bill Grates” in Brain’s endless quest to take over the world. While there, “Bill Grates” enters. Our rodent heroes hide. Grates moves over to a table, clicks on his PC and announces “Hi, everybody.” Camera pans back to a room full of people, each one focussed on his or her PC screen like Grates, and they all intone “Hi, Bill!” Incapable of relating to each other apart from their machines, they can look only at the screens in front of them. Personal interaction has gone the way of the dinosaur. They’re not looking at each other’s faces — indeed, they are oblivious to each one’s presence even though they are sitting next to each other. They are consumed by the screen. By the machine. By the computer. This is exactly where we are today, not merely as writers but as persons. Only now it is social media, not the PC per se. Must blog. Must tweet. Must check FB. A popular Christian agent confesses the person’s greatest fear is becoming invisible online. We are ruled by the tyranny of social media, and it is proving a merciless taskmaster. Everything depends upon how much time we spend upon it, not by actually writing, growing, living. We are becoming a world of drones just like the cartoon people at that table in that office incapable of relating to one another apart from the machine of social media. Think about it. And retreat. Soli Deo Gloria!

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