Why Social Media are Dangerous to Writers

29 Jun

If you’ve spent any time in the authosphere, you know that the number one commandment to writers is : “Write!”  It’s not “Tweet!” or “Youtube!” or “Eat cupcakes!”

But reading blogs is okay, right?  There’s all this knowledge and information, and interaction with other writers and readers.  What could be better?

The truth is, blogs are the most insidious, conniving, malicious plague to ever be unleashed upon unsuspecting authors.

“Wait,” you say.  “You’re exaggerating.  It’s just fifteen minutes a day or so.”

Well, I have story for you.  Over the past few months, I’ve been working on other projects besides writing, and that means I confined what writing time I did have, I confined to actually putting words on the page.  That means a whole bunch of blog posts to get caught up on.  And here’s the problem:  If it was just me going to various addresses in my favorites bar, I wouldn’t have an issue.  I’d just have given up on most of the old posts.  But I have this wonderful little thing called Google Reader, which keeps track of my blog subscriptions.  When I opened it this morning, it listed 432 unread blog posts.  432.  I decided to take Anne Lamott’s advice and get through them post by post.  Instead of doing any writing today whatsoever, I read around 300 blogs posts in 4 hours.  And tomorrow, thanks to links and “round-up” posts, I have about 300 more.

And most of them have been very interesting.  I’m glad I read them.  But it did take up 4 hours I could have used for actual writing.  Things like this have happened before, and I know they’ll happen again.

Maybe I’m just obsessive.  I didn’t have to read all those posts, right?  But Google made it so easy.  Just point and click.  That 432 just sitting there, taunting me.  “You can’t read all these.  No way.  As if.  You’re weak.  You can read a 600 page novel in a few hours, but you’ll never be able to catch up on your blogroll.  You’ll just have to look at me every day and know what a failure you are.  Go eat some chocolate cheesecake.  Come back in a few hours.  I’ll be here.  I’ll always be here.


Posted by on June 29, 2010 in atsiko, Authors, Blogging, Writing


Tags: , , ,

11 responses to “Why Social Media are Dangerous to Writers

  1. spamwarrior

    June 29, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    432??? That’s a lot of blog posts! But I know what you mean. Some days I really struggle to read all the blogs I deem interesting and worthy of my notice. There’s a lot more than I thought.

    • atsiko

      June 29, 2010 at 11:49 PM

      Well, John Scalzi accounted for 73 of them.

  2. Moses Siregar III

    June 29, 2010 at 11:59 PM

    I don’t even open my Google Reader anymore, because it’s such a bottomless hole. I just go manually to a select number of blogs that I visit regularly, or I get email updates of new posts from certain blogs.

    • atsiko

      June 30, 2010 at 1:50 AM

      I know what you mean. But I can’t keep track of which of 30-odd blogs I’ve visited in a day, and they all have different posting schedules. 😦

  3. Arlee Bird

    June 30, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    I’m going to have to agree with you on this and I’ve been try to remedy my situation here of late. Is there a Blogoholics Anonymous?

    Tossing It Out

  4. Arlee Bird

    June 30, 2010 at 5:36 AM

    Oh My God! I’m going to have to enroll and physically go to meetings. Then I’d have some kind of a social life.

    Tossing It Out

  5. BigWords88

    July 3, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    I know exactly how you feel. And 432 ain’t a lot… There’s the WordPress automated e-mail system for new posts, Google Reader, Feedburner and blogs on a couple of forums I go to – which means that there are somewhere in the region of 300 every WEEK. Yes, it is outrageous, but the accumulation of information is important for me. The best way to get through the monumental task of staying up to date with social, technological, pop-cultural, and philosophical debate is to prioritize the individuals in each area, then work through the posts one by one – preferably whilst on someone else’s dime. Yes, I use the internet at work.

    The time trade-off? Completely worth it.

    • atsiko

      July 3, 2010 at 7:54 PM

      It ended up being a total of seven hundred posts. Took me seven or eight hours.

  6. Nicole Grotepas

    July 25, 2010 at 4:15 AM

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. Stupid google reader. I had to get rid of my Engadget subscription and before that it was the Gizmodo one and before that it was the IO9 one, and now I’m debating deleting the SUVUDU subscription. I just don’t have TIME to read them all. And the unread items DO taunt you. And you feel weak when you click “Mark all items as read.” WEAK!!!

    • atsiko

      July 25, 2010 at 4:25 AM

      There is more content coming out online every day than most people could read in a lifetime. But so much of it is interesting.

      My google reader averages 30 or more posts a day, it’s ridiculous.


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