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Cheryl Reif

Cheryl lives and writes with her inspirational family, two energetic dogs, and a small mammal menagerie, all of which are fairly tame. She writes about cool science stuff for children and adults, daydreams about stories and characters 87% of the time, and tries not to plot novels while driving. You can also find Cheryl on Twitter @CherylRWrites, Pinterest., and Google. Come say hi!

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How Much Time Do You Spend Online?

There are lots of great reasons for writers to spend time online.

  • To build a platform
  • To engage with readers
  • To give back to the writing community
  • To relax and connect
  • To learn more about writing, publishing, and marketing
These days, I find myself spending more and more time online, though, and I still don’t manage to visit and comment on all my favorite blogs or spend enough time on Twitter. And don’t even talk to me about Google-Plus. I’m not even going there yet!


It’s made me wonder, though: how does the rest of the writing world handle this? How much time do you spend engaging in conversation, writing blog posts, and otherwise keeping up your presence online?

How many hours do you spend on social media related to your "platform"--Twitter, reading/writing/commenting on blogs, Google+, etc.?

  • (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Not enough--I need more hours in the day to catch up on all my favorite blogs! (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Are you kidding? I don't track my time online. I don't even want to know! (33%, 4 Votes)
  • 20-30 (I'm not an addict. Really.) (8%, 1 Votes)
  • 11-20 (Okay, a fair bit, but I have limits, okay?) (17%, 2 Votes)
  • 5-10 (I've got it totally under control) (25%, 3 Votes)
  • 0-4 (You're lucky I'm taking time to read this post!) (17%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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It can be challenging to balance the amount of time we spend interacting with others online with the amount of time we spend on other types of writing. Any suggestions? I’d love to hear from you–please add your thoughts to the comments!

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20 comments to How Much Time Do You Spend Online?

  • With difficulty!

    I have to be very strict with myself, otherwise I lose track of time tweeting and visiting blogs. At the moment I’m taking part in the A to Z blog hop challenge, which involves blogging through the alphabet, with a different letter each day. It’s intense! There are a lot of blogs to read, but I ‘m enjoying the challenge.

    I think, if you’re enjoying your time engaging in conversation, blogging or surfing, do it! But, make sure you can pull in your WIP, and anything else that’s crucial…
    Maria recently posted..Just do it!My Profile

  • Mind-Reader! This spring health issues have me more home-bound. I’m okay; no worries. But that extra time has been rerouted into time researching blogs, writing manifestos, learning to tweet, dominating the world in Scrabble & Lexulous …to the point that today, I have officially declared Sundays “off-line.” Back away from the monitor! Also, I’ve blocked out my first 3 hours of the day with activities in a wi-fi free zone. Not check email until 10am. *&%# I think I can; I must.

  • I’m in a sort of hiatus right now because I realized that the time I was spending in this way was more with peers than the audience I was actually seeking. Networking with peers is very important, but it needs to be just a fraction of my social networking time rather than almost all of it.

    I’ll be back after I’ve figured out a more targeted strategy, and I’ll be setting time limits and using a timer. This is a beast that must be expertly trained and kept in a cage! Otherwise, it’ll trample you.
    Sue Mitchell recently posted..Protecting Your Most Precious Creative ToolMy Profile

    • Ah, yes, I think I’m in the same situation–I connect via my blog to my peers rather than connecting to my prospective child/teen audience. I have ideas for connecting to my theoretical book-audience in the future, but for now it makes sense to me to continue blogging for other writers. I know the world doesn’t really need another writing blog, but it’s been a motivating and rewarding practice.

      I like the timer idea. I’ve been tracking my time, but haven’t yet figured out how much time is realistic for me to spend weekly.
      Cheryl Reif recently posted..29 Ways to Stay Creative (from getoutthebox.org)My Profile

  • YOU, Cheryl, I hope will continue to spend much time online. I find your blog insightful and utterly useful for a fledgling writer like me (I’m only on book #2).

    But for ME, I finally had to reach this point: I need to spend less time building a platform and more time writing something(s) worth having a platform for.

    Only so many creativity-producing hours in the day… too often I let the Interwebs suck up more of mine than I’d like.

    • Balance! That’s what I keep telling myself.

      I don’t foresee scaling back on the blog, even though it takes quite a bit of time, but I’m trying to be very careful about which of my “great ideas” I pursue right now. I know you’re supposed to have a newsletter, for example, in order to build subscriber numbers–but as you said, do I want to build subscribers when I don’t have any books to market yet?

      Balance is tricky, tho :P
      Cheryl Reif recently posted..29 Ways to Stay Creative (from getoutthebox.org)My Profile

  • I am very fortunate at the moment in that my job is going through a quiet phase and I am able to blog to my heart’s content at work!
    Claire Hennessy recently posted..A-Z Challenge Day 10: JMy Profile

  • It’s a scary business. I try to avoid the internet when I’m at work–other than during breaks–but I’m online way, way, WAY too much at other times. There’s just too much out there that interests me!

    Come May, though, I’m going to have to crack down on myself and get writing. Like Janie above, I’m realizing there’s not much point building a platform if I don’t have the book. :)
    Kern Windwraith recently posted..I is for IsoscelesMy Profile

  • I’ll get back to you later–I’m currently online
    Angelica R. Jackson recently posted..RTW: Photo Essay QuestionMy Profile

  • Muddy Kinzer

    I’m spending WAY too much time online right now with the Platform Challenge, but at least it’s productive! And social media has a learning curve, so hopefully when I get more familiar with it, I will be more efficient?! Definitely something I need to monitor!

    • I think social media becomes *somewhat* more efficient, but I think it still takes a lot of time to do well. You can schedule tweets, for example (which prevents you from taking part in ongoing real-time conversations, but does save time)–but it still takes time to copy links, specify the time you want the tweet to go live, etc. Monitoring is key :)
      Cheryl Reif recently posted..29 Ways to Stay Creative (from getoutthebox.org)My Profile

  • I am doing several blog challenges right now but I see that online time is taking away from my writing and so far really not helping me to make the contacts I need to forward my writing goals. Not sure what the answers are but online and social networking can be a time stealer. I don’t mind helping to promote others and to work with others but I feel like I am not devoting enough time to my own writing purpose and platform. Maybe just the time of year to evaluate and re-evaluate. Glad others are feeling some of the same things.
    Terri Forehand recently posted..The A to Z ChallengeMy Profile

    • I went through a soul-searching phase in my blogging life a bit over a year ago. Was it worth it? It was taking away time from writing, and probably not getting me any closer to a book sale. I ended up deciding that I found enough value in blogging–connections, the sense of satisfaction I get from giving back to the writing community, for starters–that I would keep at it.

      I’m glad I did. I found that I use the blog now to figure out things I’m working through as a writer (like how much time to spend online!). I would be journaling about many of the topics I blog about, if I wasn’t blogging; by blogging instead, my questions can prompt a conversation and provide new insights. Plus it’s nice to know that others’ benefit from my meanderings :).

      The other thing I gain from blogging–which I didn’t think about until recently–is that I’ve learned a tremendous amount about platform-building. I *don’t* think that this blog, targeted to writers, will probably be a good way to market my children’s and YA novels. However, this blog has led me to a host of ideas of how I CAN market those books.

      Speaking of books, I just wrote one, didn’t I?! Thanks for the comment!
      Cheryl Reif recently posted..29 Ways to Stay Creative (from getoutthebox.org)My Profile

  • What’s the time line? 0-4 hours is fine for a day. A week?

    I’m one of those who doesn’t have time to do all the social networking I supposed to do. Just dip my toe in as many ponds as I can.
    Kay Theodoratus recently posted..One Character, Two Characters, Three Characters, More?My Profile

  • [...] week, I ran a poll asking readers how many hours they spent doing online “platform-building” activities each [...]

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