Timely Losses

Last night I shaved 1,500 words off the manuscript for the next book I’m writing. Easy peasy… just like that.

How did I pull this off, you ask? Simple. Here’s the secret.

All I had to do was open a browser and BAM! Done. It was easy as fallin’ off a log.

Cmd+2 and my Twitter feed unrolled. I only had to move one finger and then FWOOMP, Cmd+N gave me a new window. Cmd+3 back up on top and Facebook was up.

Two and a half hours later I’d caught up on about 10 minutes worth of social media updates. That, and my book was 1500 pages lighter than it should be. No consistency errors to chase down. No ambiguous pronouns in my dialogue attributions. Nothin’. Last night’s words are gonna be the easiest edit ever.

I love social media, but damn can it be the nemesis of productivity. I’m not abdicating responsibility for how I spend my time. I’m a big boy. I make my own choices. As we were talking about on Twitter the other day:

Twitter and Facebook aren’t a waste of time. Not at all. But they are very easy to use in a time-inefficient way.

I find that I’m most productive when I take time to catch up on social media, and then turn it off entirely. I set a productivity goal that I have to reach before hopping over to the Twitter feed again.

I close the browser. Disconnect the wireless. Kick over to full screen mode in Word or Scrivener. Whatever it takes.

I’m usually pretty good about this. When I am, it gives me a sense of accomplishment on my projects. It rewards me with some networking time and sets me up for the next iteration. Of course, all of that only works if I have discipline to step away from the chronically updating stream of infotainments in the first place.

If I can’t, well… then I guess I have nights like I did last night.

And I have a lot fewer words to edit later.

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