Stop Using Pinterest (no, not really – just stop letting it suck your precious time away)

I did it again. I let Pinterest steal more than a half hour of my precious time away. It started out innocently enough. I opened the app – I’m not sure exactly why. Nothing else special was happening at the moment, or I was bored, or I was procrastinating from something I should have been doing. I figured I would scroll down a little, see the fronts of a few interesting pins, save them for later, and be on my way. Nope. A half hour later I found recipes that I might try, crafts I’ll probably never do, and of course things added to my writing board that I might not ever fully read.

As of this moment, that writing board consists of 368 pins. I haven’t spent the time to organize them into sections yet (a relatively new feature on Pinterest), but these pins cover everything from basic how-to start your novel, what to do at the beginning, middle, and end, and to how to create the best characters ever to writing exercises and lists from other famous writers with their tips, to words to use in place of other words. (The only thing noticeably absent from my own collection are writing prompts. Coming up with new ideas is not something I struggle with. Coming up with ways to preserve my precious writing time is.)

Since I started pinning, my collection of writing books hasn’t seen an increase. I guess I figure that if I need to get some inspiration or want to know “10 ways to hit your reader in the gut” or what “character intros will make readers fall in love” it’s all right there accessible from my smartphone.

As handy a resource this is, those other boards call to me… instead of writing, maybe I should be figuring out a new exciting meal plan for my family for the next week (the total number of pins I’ve saved spread out between several food-related boards total over 2,700). Or, it’s the time of the year where weekends are perfect for gardening. I should stop throwing away my banana peels because apparently I can learn to make excellent plant fertilizer with them.

You see my problem? I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with this app. Even looking at it as research for this blog post just caused another lost 20 minutes. But I’m back. With my own strategy:

I vow to not spend more than 20 minutes a week* randomly browsing through Pinterest. (*Note: I might need to start this week with 60 minutes and work my way down to 20.) If I really am stuck with my writing project and need to grab an idea for a character flaw, for instance, I am allowed to open the app, and go directly to my target. Once done, I shall close the app.

If only I could close the app and get back that time, which my strategy should allow, I will finally be able to improve my “writing in 10 minutes a day!” Ask me in a month how that’s going…