Dear Social Media — It’s Not You, It’s Me

And I’d Like That Hour Back, Please.

Image purchased from CANVA

Breaking up is never an easy thing to do, but I think it’s time. Because lately, social media and I are just not vibing the way I wish we could. It seems distant somehow — removed — and I just know its been seeing A LOT of other people. So, yeah; it might be time for me to pursue other forms of connection. Sigh…

Do any of you guys remember what writing was like before the Interwebz? Pre-1998? I do, and I’m trying to decide if it was better. I know, I know; I’m dating myself. But seriously. The Internet was supposed to be a time-saving thing, freeing us all up to do extraordinary things like skydiving and spinning flax into thread and whatnot. I don’t know about you, but to date, I haven’t embraced high octane adventure, and I’ve yet to purchase a spinning wheel.

On the plus side, writers are storytellers, and social media is a great place to tell tales. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Wattpad, and, of course, Medium — they’re all excellent platforms; ones that can help to boost your presence as a writer. These platforms can be motivating; they help you “show up” regularly, and doing that is a wonderful way to form a consistent writing habit.

But there’s a downside, too. Think about it; you get up, write for a while, then hear a “ping” on your phone. So, you pour yourself another cup of coffee, check out your screen, and BOOM — thirty-eight minutes goes by in what seems like six. Thirty-eight minutes you will never see again. And what have you achieved? Not much, except maybe you got to see Jenna, your high school nemesis, and her super-fit, bikini-clad body doing yoga on a white sand beach in Bora Bora. She’s doing a handstand with perfect hair while her two perfectly-behaved French bulldogs (Chopin and Debussy) lay sunning themselves on the dunes behind her.

Then, there’s that writer friend you have — the one who just posted about finishing her eighth book in four years. The one with twins (whom she home schools), a 1/2 acre veggie garden full of organic kale and garlic, and a wardrobe boasting handmade clothes spun from the ivory manes and tails of ethically-raised baby unicorns, or some such thing.

Feel better now? No? Why not? You’ve written forty-six words today, and at least fourteen of them are pretty great. You’ve GOT this!

So, what are your thoughts? What’s your experience with social media been like? Are you able to balance your online time like a boss? Does it make the actual craft of writing easier for you?

Maybe the simple. Perhaps all we need to do is turn off our WiFi or write somewhere we can’t get access to it. I used to write in my sons’ long-abandoned tree fort. It was just out of WiFi range, private and shady, and far enough away from things like laundry and the telephone and toilets that needed scrubbing. The bonus was that “pop-in” visitors came and then left while I watched from my hidden Nirvana high up in the fir boughs, a gleeful, sinister smile upon my face. (Speaking of pop-ins, WHO DOES THAT, ANYWAY? But I digress; that’s another post.)

I guess it’s all about our eternal quest for balance. Because we all strive to attain that perfect sweet spot — the one made up of equal parts work, rest, and play. Sometimes we get it right, but other times we work ourselves into full-blown panic attacks. Still other times, we indulge in so much “play” that we can’t go in to work the next day. There’s such a thing as too much rest. If you binge-watched the entire Breaking Bad series in two weeks (who, me?), you should probably be concerned about a potential case of thrombosis in your very near future. Just sayin’.

Maybe we need fewer social media accounts. Or none! Because the more we have, the more we go there. And the more we go there, the less we do the thing we ought to be doing.

Think about it. Do we have to have a Pinterest board that features 342 books with only yellow dust jackets? Is that going to propel our dreams forward? Food for thought, no?

Okay. Rant Over. I am signing off now to return to my forty-six words.

That is all.

Bona fide word nerd. Author of 3 award-winning novels for young adults. Somewhat lazy painter. Living & writing from a tiny rural village on Vancouver Island.

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