How To Use Twitter As A Motivational Tool

Twitter: Motivator, Not Time Waster
John Birmingham (JohnBirmingham) on Twitter - Mozilla Firefox 7262009 85712 PM
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 me on Twitter
>> Follow John Birmingham 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 blog, In the Hot Spot”
Then I make updates on my progress, via Twitter, as the day goes on, like,
“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, then that 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 well-known travel writer, with over seven published books, kindly emailed me and said 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!

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment below, follow me on Twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to In the Hot Spot by email now, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss out.

Related articles

>> Self-Motivation and Co-Motivation
>> Maintain Motivation: Celebrate Your Successes

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18 Responses

  1. Stumbled across this article via a facebook status update by JB himself and trotted across to check it out myself. I, too, respect JB so much as a writer and feel priviledged to have had the opportunity to speak to him over the internet and to receive advice from your idols, well, there is nothing quite like it. Thanks for such a brilliant, inspiring post. Will be sure to keep that in mind next time I am using Twitter.

    All the best,
    Lauren

    • Glad you found it useful! Might have to start the official John Birmingham fan club website, he seems to be popular for a good reason. Can’t believe he hasn’t invited me to be his Facebook friend though:)

  2. This is great stuff, I’ll give it a go real soon. Got an article about procrastination I’ll post to one of my websites soon. Um maybe I should Tweet that note, that might get me going!

  3. Don’t talk to me about John Birmingham!! Just the other day I rocked up on his doorstep to ask him what it is like to be a writer and why I couldn’t get published and he spun me some tale about privacy! Then, I saw him drunk at the airport, I was running late and I am sure I saw him typing something into his phone whilst my name was being called over the loudspeaker (my name is Stevens) – I bet it was about me!. When I finally got to Brisbane I got in my cab to work and ended up picking him up from the airport and he whined that my cab was a maxicab. Then when I was at the local school fete he tried to bargain me down on some encyclopedias that i was trying to sell so I could feed my kids. I should try and make myself up to look like him and turn up for a television interview and spill the beans. John Birmingham indeed!

    • Hilarious! The other thing I forgot to mention about Living Legend, John Birmingham, is that he has a large, loyal, witty and thoroughly nutty fan base. I’m proud to be a part of it:) Thanks for stopping by Mister Stevens.

  4. Nice job Annabel! I can only hope my geek tweets @PunkLogic inspire you to reach your true nerd potential….

    Twitter is indeed a useful tool. Not just a waste of time.

    I am going to steal my brothers copy of, He Died With a Falafel In His Hand. I read it a couple of years back but feel like a recap.

    • Cheers! You’re definitely the Alpha Geek and I’m hanging on to your every tweet and blog post, but think I might have to admit there are limits to my nerd potential. Thanks heavens there are people like you around. Funny that the only people who say Twitter’s a waste of time are people who’ve never used it.

  5. Interesting read. I quite like the whole approach to having Twitter as a motivational tool.

    Cheers,
    Shitij

  6. This is a great idea, I dropped through a comment you left at the ZEN sight, I am happy I did… Good luck with your writing, I might be following you soon for a little bit of competing 😉

    • Competing? No, it’s all team work. I think the more ideas and input the better. It’ll be interesting to see how with world changes now there’s a free exchange of ideas from people all over the world on a daily, or even hourly basis. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well now we have people all over the world working together to improve themselves and that’s got to make the world a better place. Thanks for stopping by, come again soon!

  7. Hi Annabel, I appreciate your perspective, yet I was referring to the daily word count :)) I liked the idea of trying to match a certain word count per day (it seemed like you’re setting a daily goal and some accountability for achieving which resonated well with my coaching self), as all the writing I am doing on an “almost” daily basis is for my blog, I am in NO PLACE to compete 🙂

    Best of luck
    ruba-ReSet Coach

    • Oh, I see, my mistake! I really shouldn’t reply so early in the morning:) Well, anytime you do want to try a word count race I’ll be up for that, and the great thing is that everyone wins:)

  8. But Annabel what if some of those people are using Twitter for evil reasons? What if bad people started posting messages that subverted our dominant Western paradigm?

    We could all be ruined. HELP save me from Twitter!

    • Yikes, this is scary stuff. We can only hope that there are enough goodies on Twitter to stop these nefarious monsters in their tracks. Still, if they want to subvert our dominant Western paradigm good luck to them:) It’s a tough job but someone needs to do it. Hey, actually, I might run away with them…

  9. Oooo, a commie symp! You go (red) Girl!
    You know what, if we stop buying stuff, the big guys will be totally screwed.
    Begin to Barter!
    Swap, don’t Shop!

    We can do this, come on people!

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