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Friday, June 07, 2013

If You’re Truly Serious about Writing, Where are You Focusing Your Time & Energy?

We live in a connected society. And as writers, everywhere we turn we’re being told to get more connected. Platform building is an industry-wide focus.

But all that platform building won’t make you a successful writer if you can’t…well…write well.

So my question to you is this—

Where are you focusing your time and energy?

If it isn’t on writing, you’ve got an problem. Don’t get me wrong, I know we all need to build a viable platform and that includes an online presence. Most of you know I travel around the country teaching writers to do just that. But even though I teach platform building, I still only spend thirty minutes a day, five days a week, on my personal social media; and one two-hour block of time each week generating blog posts.

Why such a small amount of time?

Because I am determined to become the best writer I can be. And I won’t make it if I spend all my time on Facebook, Pinterest and blogging.

And at the risk of bragging, I’ve built a pretty good platform with this formula. More importantly, I’ve stayed focused on learning my craft.

I’ve done it by working smarter, not harder. Here are some of the tricks I’ve learned to help me build a platform without sacrificing valuable writing time.

  • I’ve determined my best time of day to be creative. For me, it’s the morning. Not before dawn early, but about nine until noon.
  • I guard my creative time. If I need to do something that’s not creative, I make sure I do it before or after those magically creative hours. I don’t want to squander that time on making up interesting stuff to share on Facebook. Instead I want to use it writing books.
  • I use an ancillary program to schedule my social media. I personally prefer Hootsuite, but Tweetdeck or Buffer both work well, too. This allows me to schedule Tweets and Facebook updates throughout the day, without having to actually be on Facebook and Twitter.
  • I check social media periodically during the day. I peek at Hootsuite every couple of hours to see if anything interesting has popped up or if anyone has mentioned me. By peek, I spend no more that FIVE minutes. After that, it’s back to work.
  • I keep regular hours. For me, writing is a priority and I make sure my life choices reflect that. I don’t sacrifice my time with God or with my family to write, but after those, it’s always next.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to guard your writing time? 

Edie Melson is the author of four books, as well as a freelance editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. Her popular blog, TheWrite Conversation, reaches thousands of writers each month, and she’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Her bestselling ebook on social media has just been updated and re-released as Connections: Social Media& Networking Techniques for Writers. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy and the social media director for Southern Writers Magazine. You can connect with Edie through Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Good article. I still struggle to divide my time in the right way...

    1. Jennifer, I think we all struggle with that. And it doesn't help that the right way' keeps changing with life's circumstances!

    2. I've been really struggling with this the past few days. Thank you!

  2. Why do you always hit my hot button problems? LOL And can you schedule tweets from TweetDeck? I've got it but didn't know you could do that.

    1. Ane, you can schedule in Tweetdeck, although since Twiiter bought them they've lost some of their features. That's why I made the switch to the free version of Hootsuite.

  3. Thanks, Edie. Good points. There are so many things to divert my attention. It's easier to NOT write than it is to write. I'm working on my self-discipline tools. Time management is the key for me and identifying things that are time stealers. Those things that don't advance my calling. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Marian, you're right, identifying the time stealers is more than half the battle!

  4. Replies
    1. Susan, I'll let you in on a secret. The things I post about are things I'm struggling with!

  5. Enjoyed your article. It is so easy to spend hours on FAcebook or twitter, because of that I was only going on once or twice a week for Facebook, but I noticed I was on it for several hours. Trying to read most of the feed, make comments, read some of the links, etc, (tryng to make up my absence, I guess.)

    I try to be on Twitter daily, but i have an easier time to get on and get off.

    The biggest drain on my time is writing a blog post. Thinking of an idea, writing it, polishing it, etc.

    Your article reinforced my need to really budget my time and use my creative time (mornings) better.


  6. Thanks for sharing! I need to schedule my time more like you. It's too easy to get sucked into social media.

    My most productive hours are the very early morning before anyone else is awake. I get up by 4:30 to write until I need to get ready for the day.

    This week I'm going to start timing and limiting my non-writing online activities. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for the great post Edie:-) Lately I've been sucked too much into the whole social media thing;( I am the same as you in that the most creative time for writing is in the morning and too often I get distracted. So I'm going to check out Hootsuite and get twitter organized with that as well as get more scheduled!


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