Monday, December 14, 2009

Maybe I Should Use a Timer

During Thanksgiving week, I took some time off from social networking (a "blogiday"). No blogging, no reading blogs, no tweeting. What were the results of my little experiment?

stopwatchUpside: I had more time to do other things. I knew I'd been spending a significant amount of time surfing and reading and commenting on blogs (as well as writing my own), but I wasn't aware of how much. I didn't put a stopwatch on it or anything, but I bet I saved at least an hour a day.


Downside: I felt more isolated than usual. Let's face it, writing is a solitary sport. I go into my office, sit down at the keyboard, and make stuff up for hours at a time. No talking with other people, no interactions with humanity. Me, keyboard, imagination, that's it (I don't even have a dog to talk to). Reading other's blogs and tweets makes me feel connected to the writing community, no matter how illusory. As much as I hate to admit it, I found I suffered from a mild case of blog withdrawal during that week.

As is the case with many of my little "experiments," there was no earth-shattering result--I simply have too much I want to do and too little time. So what else is new?

I guess I just need to keep working to find the right balance.



Elspeth Futcher said...

It's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, blogging, facebook, twitter, etc. can eat up a great deal of time. On the other hand, between blogs and links on twitter you can learn a few things and connect to other writers. Not a bad thing in my view.

Also a few laughs along the way helps lighten the load.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Just use a timer. :) And check in 3 times a day. Or something.

Honestly, the exercise of blogging and tweeting helps me with my writing. I think it must be just the discipline of it. But too much is...too much.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh, Jody Hedlund has an interesting article on her blog today regarding social media time, etc:

Nice take on it, I think. I didn't think about that sort of an approach.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

When you find the secret to finding the right balance, I hope you'll share it. I keep trying to find a way to do all the blog hopping I'd like to do while still having time to write and have a life. If only I could sacrifice sleep!

Alan Orloff said...

Elspeth - Yes, the funny is always good.

Elizabeth - Speed blogging! A new sport. Count me in. (Who needs grace when you've got electronic timers?)

Alan Orloff said...

Jane - When I discover the secret, I won't be giving it away. I'll be selling it so I can retire in the style my wife is accustomed to. (Don't worry, all my faithful blog readers will get a substantial discount!)

jdsanc said...

Just found your blog, and I am so with you about this social media time suck thing. I can sit down at the computer, supposed to be writing and travel all over the blog for a good hour when my plan was 15 minutes. Now, I blog only in the morning, for as long as it takes me to finish my coffee.
Good luck on reining your travels and getting more writing time.

Lorel Clayton said...

I think what I've gained from blogging and visiting other blogs (a sense of community, helpful advice, writing practice) outweighs the time commitment. Of course, my tweets can be counted on one hand and 'what facebook page?'. I guess, we all have to choose where best to invest our energy at any given time.
No use trying the timer, though. My husband uses one whenever I'm writing and say 'I'll be two hours, swear'...I'm really practiced at ignoring beeping timers.

Alan Orloff said...

jd - the more I think about it, the more I think you're on to something. I need a time limit. Maybe I'll start with four hours :)

Lorel - Yes, blogging and reading blogs is definitely beneficial. Hmmm, maybe I'll write a post about that. Thanks for the idea!

whitewitch said...

Blogging, tweeting, commenting, or just simply reading other people's blogs help broaden a writers' perspective and help them brush up on their writing skills(I think). However, since it is so easy to get carried away, losing track of time and sacrificing time meant for other activities is a downside that can easily be dealt with using an alarm clock.

Ingrid King said...

I'm afraid to use a timer! I'm not sure I really want to know how much time I spend on blogs, social media, etc.... but I really love keeping in touch with people that way, and I've made so many wonderful new connections, I can't imagine not devoting the time it takes to maintain them.

Alan Orloff said...

white - I agree completely. I'm not sure a simple alarm clock would penetrate my blogmerization. Maybe a small firecracker.

Ingrid - Yes, I've certainly met a lot of great people. Visit the blog tomorrow--I will expand on the things I get from reading and writing blogs--and see what others have to say about that, too.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Too much I want to do and never enough time. That's my story, too. I've always had too many interests and am a champion of unfinished projects. I'm weeding lists and Yahoo! Groups to make more time for writing, so I know what you've been going through. It's hard.