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?

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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!

Photo Credit

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know -

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]


  1. says

    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…

    • says

      I originally planned to do the A to Z challenge and decided it was just to much. I’m enjoying everyone else’s posts!

  2. says

    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.

    • says

      Funny–you’ll have to let me know if the Sunday offline strategy works for you.

      I find that one of the disadvantages of working from home is that I’m always “at work.” I have to be very careful to make sure that my work day ends and I maintain a life with family and friends!

  3. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

  4. says

    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.

    • says

      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 😛

  5. says

    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!

    • says

      Since I work freelance, I only get paid for the hours I work, so unfortunately that doesn’t work for me. On the flip side, I don’t have to commute, either….

  6. says

    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. :)

  7. Muddy Kinzer says

    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!

    • says

      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 :)

  8. says

    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.

    • says

      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!

  9. says

    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.

    • says

      A week :).

      And a special thanks for commenting when you’re in the toe-dipping stage of life! It’s difficult to keep up with everything!