One of the great complaints about social media is that it wastes time. Twitter, Facebook, and all the rest can derail your work.
However, I’ve been trying to make peace with social media by discovering some of its benefits. Among these is the potential to inspire writing ideas.
The following are four ways to turn social media into a source of writing inspiration:
1) Tweets as prompts
A tweet could push you to write a longer piece.
Maybe it will trigger an idea for a work of fiction.
Maybe it will display such an absence of knowledge and critical thought, that you’ll feel compelled to write an article or blog post setting things right.
Maybe a topic trending on Twitter is worth expanding on. (Why is it trending? What’s interesting about it?)
2) How would five different people react to the same Facebook post?
Your Facebook friend has posted a favorable op-ed on your least favorite politician, or a recipe using three different ingredients you’re allergic to. Instead of stopping at your own immediate reaction, consider how different people would respond to the same post.
These could be five different fictional characters. Or maybe three people representing different philosophical, political or religious schools of thought.
3) Continue a scene on Vine
The videos are short and play in a loop. Imagine what could happen next.
4) Create a writing project Pinterest board
You can keep a board with public domain images you plan to use for a series of upcoming blog posts or articles.
Another type of board collects images that set the mood for a work of creative fiction or help you flesh out your main characters (the clothes they wear, what their homes look like, etc.)
Make your Pinterest board secret if you’re concerned about sharing too much about a writing project early on or feel uncomfortable displaying other people’s copyrighted images publicly without their consent.
Have you ever found writing inspiration in social media?
For creative fiction, content writing, or anything else?
It’s possible to fall into another time trap, where you endlessly search for inspiration and compile ideas from social media without ever writing anything (similar to reading countless online articles on productivity without getting anything done).
I also doubt I’ll suddenly take to social media and spend much more time on it. But I can learn to work with it more, which includes benefiting from whatever it offers that’s informative or inspiring.