Facebook: Research and Motivation

My hubby posts his photos on FB. Lanscapes can open a world of ideas for setting.  Photo by Charles Huff

My hubby posts his photos on FB. Lanscapes can open a world of ideas for setting.
Photo by Charles Huff

Writers are often reminded—warned would be a better word—not to spend too much time on Facebook. I’m here to say you can get some great writing ideas from social media. I‘m not talking about the obvious posts from fellow-writers with leads for paying markets or helpful blog posts but the other stuff. No not the kitty videos or what you had for dinner (although that could be helpful if you aren’t sure what your character is going to make for the potluck.) But the posts of friends and family that have nothing to do with the writing craft and everything to do with life.

Writing exercises:


A photo sparks a poem or short story idea. Vacation photos can help fiction writers with destinations for their characters. I found helpful photos of dogs while trying to decide what kind Brutus my service dog would be. There’s the political statements that pull your chain and bring out your strong opposing view. See an Op-Ed piece.

Great quotes. I counted a dozen new quotes today. Some made me chuckle and others made me nod. A few inspired me or brought on that ah-ha moment. Aren’t all of those responses what writers want from their words? Look through your FB feed and see if you can’t create a few hundred words from one of those quotes.

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Story ideas and character possibilities

Videos to spur story ideas from ordinary heroes who have overcome. Whether its illness or family loss there’s an idea there. Perhaps someone helped create a business to deal with poverty and homelessness. What a great passion for your protagonist.

Learning the pulse of the public

Seeing what’s important to those in your social media circle gives you the pulse beat you need to focus on as you craft stories. That’s how I decided my hero in my latest novel should be a wounded warrior. I saw lots of post reminding women they are strong and reposts of women who overcame abuse. My heroine experienced abuse and struggles to find herself. Whether its Facebook, Tweeter or Goodreads I try to get a sense of what others in my sphere of influence are reading. That’s important to note because these will be potential future buyers of my books.

wounded warrior sparked an idea.

wounded warrior sparked an idea.

Stress relief

Sometimes we need a good laugh after a grueling period of word craft. “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” We all know we can find at least one laugh out loud moment on social media every day.

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So the next time someone comments on the time you spend on social media, tell them its research.

What interesting thing on social media spurred your creative juices?   Share in the comments. I’d love to hear about it.

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2 thoughts on “Facebook: Research and Motivation

  1. Nancy Graves says:

    Such good advice Cindy! You’re right, so many good ideas are sparked by social media. It’s a great source of intellectual “iron sharpening iron.” Thanks for your blog, which serves today as a great case in point! : )


    • Writing has evolved with the popularity of social media. It helps feel teh pulse of things, as long as we don’t turn into the individual whose only friends are on Facebook. Thanks for the comment Nancy.


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