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Social media, love it or hate it, has become ingrained into our livelihood. Unfortunately, while it’s an excellent resource for staying in touch with family and friends, and for promoting your writing service and/or your book(s), it’s also full of rabbit holes that you can find yourself immersed in more often than not.
So, let’s take a moment, and imagine there was no social media. No posting, no tweeting, sharing, liking, commenting, and— Wait a minute. Wouldn’t that leave you with a mess of time on your hands (or at your fingertips)? What would you do? Interact with people face to face? Take up a constructive hobby? How about, you know, actually writing something?
Think about it. You could spend all of that newly generated time writing, plotting, character developing, attending writing groups, and submitting manuscripts to magazines, literary agents, and publishers! Of course, all of this means you’ll be earning more money from your craft!
Let’s break it down.
Statistics report that people spend an hour a day on social media (it’s probably a lot more than that for many). This does not include other online activities such as shopping, games, reading the news, and watching Netflix or TV (what used to be known as the plug-in drug). So, what exactly could you do with your writing with an extra 365 hours over the course of a year?
Well, for starters, twelve of them could be spent participating in a writing group once a month where you’ll get constructive feedback, learn some new writing techniques and, as a side bonus, make some new writing buddies.
Imagine for a moment if you wrote just 500 words for each of the 365 extra hours. That’s 182,500 words in a year. That could be four novels!
Jan., Feb., March = 45K words = Book one
April, May, June = 45.5K words = Book two
July, Aug., Sept. = 46K words = Book three
Oct., Nov., Dec. = 46K words = Book four
After you’ve gotten your novels edited (you do use an editor, don’t you?), you can spend time marketing the old fashion way—telling everybody in person about your books.
How about playing games? Writing games, that is. For example, my wife and I often will play Storymatic. It’s a writing-prompt game where you draw three cards. One card describes a person as “a person with a devastating secret,” the other two cards are situations, objects, places, and complications, like “laundromat” and “locked door.” So, you need to create a story based on this. We’ve come up with a lot of great story ideas from playing this game.
You can also devote some of those newfound hours to reading. After all, reading and writing go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly (unless you have a peanut allergy, then maybe not). Imagine finally getting through that massive pile of “to-be-read” books on your nightstand or swiping left as you turn page after page through numerous books on your Kindle?
Another bonus: People who read often tend to do better in school, business, and (drum roll please) … become better writers. It’s true; I read it somewhere! According to Healthline.com, here are just some of the benefits of reading:
– improves brain connectivity
– increases your vocabulary and comprehension
– empowers you to empathize with other people
– aids in sleep readiness
– reduces stress
– lowers blood pressure and heart rate
– fights depression symptoms
– prevents cognitive decline as you age
– contributes to a longer life
There are still plenty of hours left, so why not attend some writing seminars? Or attend a writer’s conference and mingle with other writers while learning how to sharpen your craft, land an agent, or write tighter (using fewer words to make your point is better than using excessive words … or should that be “fewer words equals better writing?”)
So, how would you spend all those extra hours if there were no social media?
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T.M. Jacobs, a native to the shoreline area of Connecticut, now resides in various locations along the east coast with his fiancé traveling and working from their RV motorhome. He has published nine books, over 400 articles published in various newspapers and magazines, teaches classes on writing and publishing, and currently is the owner of Jacobs Writing Consultants. He is the founder and former editor for Patriots of the American Revolution magazine and has been a freelance writer for over 30 years. His book, The 1864 Diary of Civil War Union Soldier Sergeant Samuel E. Grosvenor: A first-hand account of the horrors at Andersonville Prison is a biography of Grosvenor who kept a small diary while in the Andersonville Prison. This title was featured on C-SPAN2 TV.
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