It’s a curious thing how I self-sabotage my attempts to detach from media (social or otherwise).
I started using Medium and Feedly as news aggregators with the intention of divesting my energies from Facebook and reducing the temptation to scroll or blog-hop for hours. In the end, I find myself now hoarding (ahem, collecting) bookmarked articles on both platforms, which I am hopelessly behind on reading, and I’m still using Facebook (though decidedly less-so).
I’ve culled my FB friend list to people I have had meaningful (or at least intentional, word-based) interactions with in the last 2 years. I have “unfollowed” and “unliked” a host of websites and entertainment pages on FB, though Zuckerberg still thinks I’m not getting enough advertising in my diet. (“Your friend Joe likes the ‘Peruvian Llama Juggling’ page!” Well… good for Joe?)
I infrequently trim down my Twitter follow list, but then I’ll take on new Twitter activities like anonymous accounts (let’s call that “fun-work”). I’ll turn off Twitter notifications on my phone, but keep the app and check it frequently.
I’ll delete podcasts from my devices, and then subscribe to new ones. Same with my streaming movie service. I have several authors to whom I owe book reviews, and yet I’m still adding books to my hold-list at the library. Why? Because I’m a jerk blogger/reviewer. (I owe apologies along with those reviews.)
[I pause to add the following clarifying statement: I’m not complaining. I’m not asking for assistance. I’m just talkin’ here, folks.]
The truth is, I still like using social media. I know the dangers. I’ve read the news articles about its negative effects. I’ve seen scores of blog posts about how people quit FB and Twitter, and their lives are JUST. SO. AMAZING. NOW. (See: previously-mentioned bookmarked Medium articles.) And I know that’s all true.
But I also know that I enjoy interacting with my “Twitter friends.” I still use FB groups and messaging to stay in touch with people, groups, and projects. I’m aware of the sneaky dangers of FOMO and my tendency toward oversharing, and I’m working on both. I think I can stop worrying and learn to love the blog.
However, there is one side effect of continued social media interaction that I need to start taking more seriously: Social media engagement proves that “I don’t have time to write” is a lie.
I’ve got the basic outline, a few solid chapters, and a handful of scattered scenes written for the first book in a trilogy of crime stories that I’d really like to finish. I care about the main character, I’m intrigued by the themes that these books involve, and the questions that the overarching story raises set it apart from other books in the genre. I think it would be a really cool thing to bring these stories into the world and share them with you.
For the years–YEARS–that I have weakly gestured at writing, I have convinced myself that I don’t have the time to commit to it. My time spent on social media proves otherwise.
I want to write more. I have the ability and time to write more. And I don’t have any good excuses for not pursuing it.
So, well, uh, there it is.
What, you were expecting more of a rousing call to action?
Do we really need one?
Would it really work?