The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Time sinks and other online distractions

The Internet can be an addictive place.

Fake World

Virtual (Fake) World

The Internet helps writers do research, learn about the latest books, keep up with their favorite authors and see what’s going on in the real world (as opposed to the virtual world).

Writers are told by book marketing gurus that they must write blog posts, comment on the blog posts of others and have a strong presence on such sites as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social networking sites.

Trouble is, the stuff that helps us also hurts us by taking time away from our writing. To make things worse, sites like Facebook are filled with memes and games that will become very large time sinks if one lets them. It’s easy to say, “I deserve a 30-minute break to play Words with Friends.” You’re in trouble, though, when that leads to taking 30 minute breaks to play half a dozen other games.

Okay, so I finally got fed up with all the time sinks. For one thing, if I’m going to be distracted, I want it to come from something real like the mountains of Glacier National Park (seen in my current cover photo) rather than something artificial. Glacier gives back a thousand fold for every moment spent there. I’m hard pressed to say what “Candy Crush Saga” and “Angry Birds” give back.

Real World

Real World – NPS Photo

While I was fed up, I closed my Pinterest and LinkedIn accounts because when it came down to it, those sites weren’t really leading to any book sales. I shut down a blog on Typepad that I no longer had time to maintain. Ditto for an old blog on Blogger. Ditto for another blog here on WordPress.

Those blogs “gave back” for quite a while because people stopped by, left comments, and then stopped by again later and left more comments. That was fun.

But, how many blogs and social networking sites does an author need? Some gurus say “more than you can imagine.” They may be right.

But I want my time back because it gives me experiences that are variously exciting, fun, nourishing, memorable and sometimes turn into stories.

–Malcolm

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