I have an addiction to social media. Doesn’t everyone? I mean, look up the definition of “time suck” on Wikipedia and you find a photo of Mark Zuckerberg, with devil horns on his head for creating this hellhole of fake news and starving Farmville sheep.
But a funny thing has happened in the last few months. I’m now using Facebook for good, not evil. That is, I’m using it as an aide to my writing, not a distraction.
I started another Facebook account–not a Page, but a separate account–a couple of years ago, which I intended to use strictly for writing. I friended authors and others in the publishing industry, joined writing groups (a Facebook “group” is a private group where like-minded people can communicate amongst themselves) and posted a few photos of my dog.
I’ve been spending more time on Facebook, but oddly, I’ve also been getting more writing done. A lot. And along the way, I’ve turned the evil Facebook into a force for good.
A force for good for me, personally, in my writing journey.
By joining writing-related groups, I’ve discovered inspiration and information that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. In January, I took a class on creativity that I would never have heard about except for a post in my WFWA group. More recently, I joined a sprint writing group, which helps me make “appointments” to write (a really clever mind trick if you haven’t tried this). I also signed up for another class on craft, at a time when I really feel a need to hone my writing skills. I hear about books that might be helpful in my groups, and “meet” people who have specific information I need, for instance, about Army communications equipment twenty years ago. (How cool is that?!)
One day I wrote a frustrated comment about how hard I find it to just sit down and write, and someone sent me a private message with information I found very useful for re-triggering my writing muse.
Another Facebook group formed from the creativity class, and I go there to post my progress every week–a powerful motivator to finish a chapter by Friday.
I also learned about a private Facebook group that shares mainly marketing and industry tips–all the secrets no one ever says out loud about publishing. Now that I can envision finishing a book again, the information there is like another light shone on my writing path.
Instead of filling my own timeline with the latest outrage (OMG! Did you see what United Airlines did?!) I ask research questions–about everything from divorce law to cat vomit. (Yes, I just wrote a whole scene about cat vomit. Who among us hasn’t wanted to write that?)
I’ve found my Facebook writing friends are all helpful and encouraging, at a time when I need every bit of help I can get. And despite spending more time than ever on Facebook, I’m also writing more than ever.
In the last few weeks, I’ve written over 20,000 words on my manuscript. This is a manuscript that’s been lagging in WIP hell for years. And, believe it or not, I’ve done it with the help of Facebook.