Twitter: Motivator, Not Time Waster
I’ve been motivated, inspired, and just given a good old kick up the bum, by an established writer I follow on Twitter, John Birmingham.
If You Haven’t Already Heard of John Birmingham
The book that turbo-charged John Birmingham’s writing career, He Died With a Falafel In His Hand, is a bizarre collection of true stories about his house-sharing experiences. The tales are so bizarre, disgusting and ludicrous that they make compulsive reading. After the book became a cult hit, Hollywood recognised its potential as movie material, and it went on to become a hit on the big screen too. Inspiring stuff. It makes me want to write a similar book about my personal travel experiences, tentatively called Out Of It In Africa.
But anyway, I can relate to John Birmingham because it took him four years to get established as a writer, he lives near me in Brisbane, and he’s fabulously successful, with a string of books, features and blogs to his name. Well, I confess, I haven’t quite reached his level of success yet, but we both seem to regularly spend up to ten hours a day writing and live in Queensland.
>> Follow John Birmingham on Twitter.
>> Follow Successful Blogging on Twitter.
Writer, Motivate Yourself
It was John Birmingham’s regular updates on Twitter, in 140 characters or less, that got me motivated to write more, and to write faster. Now and then JB tweeted that he’d written 3000 words and, being a competitive soul, that made me want to see if I could match him word for word. It really worked to motivate me, and once I even challenged him to a word count race which he very kindly took part in and let me win, even though I cheated by starting before him. The man’s a hero: confident of his own writing prowess and happy to encourage aspiring writers.
How To Motivate Yourself Using Twitter
Now, I was thinking what a loser, stalker, weirdo, or sad combination of all three of them I was for doing this, but then I accidentally came across a post on the Procrastinating Writers website where they named this method of motivation. It’s called ‘bookmarking’. Basically, you tell someone your goal and then update them regularly on your progress. It may be a friend, but it can be anyone, and it can also be done on the phone, with a text message, face to face, or on Twitter where you don’t even need anyone specific to report too.
For example, early in the morning, I might tweet:
“Three things to do: edit chap four of fiction manuscript, polish up my short story for a competition, write post for Get In the Hot Spot”
Then I make updates on my progress, via Twitter, as the day goes on:
“Chapter four edited and looking good. About to update my blog now.”
I know this sounds ridiculously simple and unnecessary too, but if it works as a motivational tool it has to be a good thing.
Writer, Motivate Other Writers
One more brilliant side-effect of this is that as well as John Birmingham motivating himself and me, my progress reports have motivated other people too. One man told me that my tweets about writing and my word count have inspired him to start writing again. Another stellar Australian writer, Peter Moore, who’s had six published books about his outrageous travels, kindly emailed me about my word count tweets:
“I’m impressed that you’re knocking out those kind of numbers in a family environment.”
Wow! So I rest my case on the motivational power of Twitter, and pour scorn on those who dismiss it as a waste of time. As in real life, with Twitter, if you spend time with positive, inspiring people, you’ll be motivated to improve yourself and work harder.
Using Twitter To Motivate Isn’t Just For Writers
I think this type of motivation could easily be used for other goals too, such as:
Giving up smoking – “Haven’t had a cigarette for three days. Going to reward myself with a walk in the park.”
Making sales calls – “Going to do twenty more calls before stopping for lunch.”
Fitness goals – “Just did fifty sit ups during my tea break.”
Well, you get the idea! It could probably be used for any type of goal.
Another Hot Tip on Motivation and Staying Focused
I’ve noticed that the simple act of writing every day for eight hours has made my writing faster. Now I’m going to fit even more writing in, and avoid distractions, thanks to another idea I got from John Birmingham. He recommends putting a timer on your desk and setting it for two hours. Now, write until it rings, have a ten minute break and repeat daily until your task is finished.
Bring Bring! Got to go now, time’s up. Have a super duper and highly productive day everyone:)
Good luck with your plans!
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