It’s the weekend, or maybe you have a day off, or it’s just that time again.
You’ve sat down and you’re going to write that story that’s been in your head for months. No, years. It’s all planned out. You have a hot drink. There’s appropriate music playing in the background. You’re pumped up and ready to go.
But you’ll just check Facebook first.
Or maybe have a flick through Twitter.
After all, we all need a bit of inspiration. And to see what’s going on in the world, of course.
Next thing you know, an hour has gone past and you only have blank document to show for it.
And I don’t know about you, but after half an hour of searching mindlessly through social media, my brain is a big ball of fog and not much up for coming up with words, never mind stories.
I know. Writing is hard.
Writing was hard before social media was invented.
Why the hell have the likes of Zuckerberg made writing even harder?!
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It’s addictive (more addictive than cigarettes, apparently!).
But all is not lost.
There are ways to stop social media getting in the way of your creativity and writing time.
Yup, there’s an app for that.
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There are plenty of productivity apps that will silence the internet for you while you get down to work.
(Disclaimer: These are NOT affiliate links but I also haven’t tried any of these. However, I’m considered trialling them. Especially ColdTurkey).
Freedom: will block websites and apps on your laptop (Mac or Windows), iPad and iPhone. You set how long they’re blocked for and when, but it’ll cost you. The cheapest option is $2.42 a month, but there’s a free trial.
SelfControl: This is for the Mac users only but it’s free! It can block your access to certain websites, email and ‘anything else on the internet’. You just add the links to a list, put in the period of time you want them blocked and hit start.
ColdTurkey: This blocks your choices of websites, apps and email while giving you motivational messages. You can also create a list of websites you need access to, for research (be honest!). You can schedule when the blocks happen and even give yourself breaks. And it’s free!
What if you find you need to genuinely research on social media or ask a question?
No problem. Make a note of your research needs as you write and come back to it later. Just get those words written.
A different writing device
One way some writers choose to write without distraction is to use a separate device for their writing, one that has no internet connection.
I know! Shock, horror!
You might have an old laptop that doesn’t play nice with the wifi. Or even an old typewriter! Or perhaps you favour writing with the good old pen and paper, anyway.
You could even buy a cheap laptop and just never connect it up.
Just a thought.
Have you considered deleting social media?
I know I have.
You know, social media is known for creating stress, anxiety and depression as this article on anxiety.org explains.
Twitter is full of horrible things, Facebook is full of your friends living wonderful lives and Instagram is full of photos of ridiculously beautiful homes and people.
If you don’t rely on social media for book or business marketing purposes, consider deactivating or even deleting your accounts.
Maybe take a hard look at why you’re on those social media platforms and what you get out of it.
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You could try just taking a break and see how you feel. Delete the social media apps from your phone, try the above apps to block the sites on your computer, and see how you feel after a week or a month.
Make it an experiment. Keep track of your moods, feelings and how many words you’re writing.
You might find your productivity increases and your moods improve. Or you might find a happy balance and delete a couple of accounts but not all of them.
Whatever you choose to do, closing yourself off from social media will do your writing and mental health a world of good.