Despite the best intentions, at times we all fall prey to the wonders of the web. After starting to write a blog post, the temptations of the internet can easily distract us from the task at hand. You’re happily typing along when, suddenly, the urge to check Facebook or your email overwhelms you. Your blog post is temporarily put on hold as you reply to emails, check status updates, or Tweet about that cool new product you saw.
According to a report released last December by comScore, one in five minutes online are spent on a social networking site. Rather than viewing social networking sites as one large distraction, try changing your perspective and make them work for use by using them for inspiration.
A few months ago, the New York Times published “Inebriated Love,” a collection of poems developed from Craiglist’s “Missed Connections” section of the website. And I personally love creating cut and paste poetry from friends’ status updates on Facebook by grabbing a bunch of status updates and reorganizing them into a poem-type format. In addition to these creative uses of social networking content, these sites can also be a great source of writing prompts and links to articles, blog posts, and other online stories that can inspire a blog post.
As a writing exercise, try turning online distractions into fodder for your work. If you’re wandering the world of YouTube, try grabbing a line of dialogue or a song lyric from the video you’re currently watching and incorporate it into a blog post. For Twitter fans, use a random Tweet as a writing prompt to either expand on your own ideas about the subject or to incorporate into a fictional short story. (You can even embed the inspirational Tweet into your blog post by following this guide.) Redirecting your focus and using social networking sites is a great way to build new writing habits and take advantage of an endless source of potential inspiration.