The Little Things

“Can I have $.50?” the tot asks.

“For what?” I reply.

“We can buy popscicles now.”

“Afterschool? I already give you money for ice cream afterschool?”

“No. At lunch. ”

It seems that we’re just a few weeks into school and the little things are adding up – milk money, hot lunch, popcorn day, pizza day, ice cream money. It might be $1 here and a few quarters there, but when you add it up for the week, the total can be surprising. I had to sit down, figure it out and set aside a pool for all those little extras so they didn’t wreck havoc on the budget (also, no one *needs* ice cream twice a day, every day, no matter what they might think).

Little things can add up and it’s the same with writing. “I’ll just check my email” or “I’ll just pop over really quickly and see what’s happening on twitter” can easily stretch from the intended couple of minutes into 20 or 30. Even if we're only spending 5 minutes, how many times a day do we do that on every site we belong to?

Social networking it a great thing. It’s an easy way to reach readers, peers, and people you admire. We can squee over good news, discover obscure facts, or poll people on the name of our MC. It can be a way to de-stress and take a little break from the task at hand.

As writers we need to do a fair amount of networking and self promotion. We’re all guilty of using social networking to procrastinate sometimes. That is okay. But like with the quarters, all those minuites can add up if we're not careful.

Many of us not only write, we’re moms, wives, we have jobs. Writing time is at a premium.

If you add up all the time you spend checking twitter, facebook and the like today, even if it’s just for a moment, what does it come to?

What happens when you compare it to how much time you spent writing today?

The number may surprise you. Certainly, it surprised me.

A certain amount of social networking is healthy and necessary. Maybe you’re really disciplined and set aside an amount of time for social networking. But maybe, like me, you're aren’t truly aware of exactly how much time social networking chips away at your writing time.

Like setting aside money for those extra little treats, it may help to set aside a certain amount of time just for social networking and keeping it separate from your writing time so you’re not cutting short your precious writing moments.

It can be hard to break that habit of “just popping over.” You might try an egg timer, or setting “office hours” where you do those little “business” things like replying on twitter and facebook. Some people use alpha smarts or unplug their wireless so there’s no temptation.

Maybe you don’t need any of that and popping over helps make you more creative. It’s all about what works for us as writers—and what helps us to be more productive. Everyone has their own style.

What it comes down to in the end is being productive and writing a good story. We can’t write if all ourtime is being chipped away (tots and hubbies is a whole separate blog post, lol).

In order to have a story to promote, we need time to write. Also, well, some say that writing a really great book is the best promotion of all.

Happy writing.

WHat do you do to keep the little things from eating away your writing time?


Lisa Kessler said...

I'm usually social networking during the day job... I can do it between phone calls and other things. It's tougher for me to do it at night.

Writing and family stuff usually keeps me away til a little later and being on the west coast, lots of my east coast buds are sleeping by then...

Great blog Suzie!

Lisa :)

Maeve said...

You are SO right! Twitter and Facebook can be MAJOR time-sucks if you don't actively notice just how much time you spend on them. Personally, I have to use a timer at the end of the day. If not, I've frittered about hours of precious writing time before I know it.

Raven Corinn Carluk said...

I'm like Lisa; I do it mostly from work.

Of course, I do the majority of my writing at work. Writing while on calls, waiting for a pc to reboot, etc, is a great way to manage my time.

But I know exactly what you're talking about. And am now following you.