The Death of Time with the Birth of Social Media

time mgmt clear

Image by Ted Goff

By Aria Gmitter

Perhaps one of the greatest threats to story creation is that of poor time management.  Family, work obligations, the need to eat, sleep and pay the bills can leave many writers little to no time to focus attention on creative project development.

In today’s fast-paced social and multimedia environments the threat is even more pressing.  Platform is an essential component to obtaining the coveted publishing contract. So, you follow the rules. Post to Facebook. Upload your pictures to Instagram and Flickr. You link up with other writers on LinkedIn. Blog and tweet random thoughts and hashtag keywords. You’re filled with hope that those Google+ circles will become the X that marks the spot and suggest your name in the cyber engine search sphere.

Perhaps you fear you’ve become a word wielding schizophrenic with narcissistic tendencies prone to bouts of brag and boast.  You’ve succumbed to “I just saw this on my drive to work…” stories and quoting beloved inspiration that has stimulated your soul. Still your Klout score is lower than a person’s self-esteem after a bad date.

So, you speed tweet faster than a sent email. More socially engaged than a teenager on a sugar rush. More powerful than a YouTube video gone viral. But alas, the day ends. All that remains are single sentences barely making one coherent paragraph. Maybe standardized testing failed you and you’re the writer left behind. Or that “great writing” note on your essays in college are accidental misprints intended for another colleague. Sure you’re writing, and friends, are “Liking” it.  But still, the only book your name is on remains pirates treasure buried in your caffeinated brain.  “A writer can’t exactly make the New York Times Best Sellers List on retweets or Facebook posts,” your imaginary friends cajole in your thoughts during the midnight hour.

Even if the truth leaves you ready to toss in your ball point pen, hold on to your ink. You’re not alone. In fact, let me assure you, Business Newsweek won’t blame you for the failing economy. Even if that book in your head falls and hits the pillow harder than the Dow on Wall Street.  You’ve got a case of poor time management. You need a powerful bailout from the new writer’s block that’s leaving you publishing bankrupt.

Creating high-quality content requires focus and discipline. A story developer is more like a long-distance runner that requires long periods of rigorous thought, soul-searching, writing, rewriting, and editing.  Today’s social media world is more suited for sprint writers who unleash concept and word-power in bursts of 140 characters a minute. The combination for writers is distraction, time loss, and lack of creative quality development.  What’s worse is that a writer can have social media engagement, a slew of followers; but, if the story falls flat or doesn’t pull heart-strings, publishers may pass on their work all together.

Switching gears breaks focus, concentration and damages a writer’s ability to dig deeply into their craft, themselves, and even their characters.  In fact, readers want characters in pain and that just doesn’t happen unless the story writer has lived through the process of personal experience or sympathetic imagination himself.  Ayana Mathis during an Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 interview  attributes her success with, The 12 Tribes of Hattie, that the art of pain, epiphany and resolution is how she connects and hooks her readers.  This kind of bone deep story writing isn’t simple and it does require time.

So, how can you effectively manage your time to write? Can’t be all that difficult, now can it? Just sync all your social media together and with one touch of a click, you’re done. Right? Wrong! Not all social media has the same purpose or audience.

Do you know who your audience is, or what media will reach them best?