Today’s Reverb10 prompt is: what do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing –and can you eliminate it.
Of course the answer is: All my internet addictions: facebook, twitter, email, blog reading. Sometimes I tell myself that the blog reading in particular gets my juices going, gets my mind thinking in bloggy ways, and while that does happen sometimes, it happens far more often when I read books. So I’d be better off spending the time reading rather than wasting time online.
Most of what I do online is avoidance behavior, but a lot of it is also voyeuristic. I want to see what other people are doing with their time, with their lives. I want to know what their “obsessions du jour” are. Do I want to know these things in order to be inspired? To feel companionship? To feel connected? All of the above? None?
If it is connection I crave, who am I connected to? And how deep are those connections? When I have to answer that question, the truth is revealed.
But if I were to be really and truly honest I’d have to say that I spend time online because it is just plain fun. It makes me happy. It has always made me happy, from the first day I opened an email account back in ’93 or ’94, until this day.
I have always loved my computers, my babies, and I have always loved the internet. I have always wanted to know more about the innards of these magic machines, and I have always been frustrated with the limits of my knowledge about them. I have even dreamed of going to study web design. I purely and simply just dig it the whole scene. It has provided me with hours and hours of happy.
But it is, without question, a time suck. I’ve tried limiting myself to a daily portion of online “calories” of its yumminess but as with food, computer diets never work.
I’ve also tried “media fasting” where I unplug for a weekend, or just a day, and that definitely feels good. Once I’m off, I don’t really miss it all that much. (For a while.)
So for me it’s a matter of limiting it rather than eliminating it. I don’t want to eliminate it because if it were not for social media and blog reading I would never have found 750 words, where the idea for this post was born, or the reverb10 challenge that’s keeping me disciplined, and many other sites and people who have really enriched my life.
And if I weren’t so in love and entranced with computers, I know I wouldn’t have a a website, or a blog, or the ability to make a podcast. I like that I can operate fairly competently in this whizzy world. I like having these skillzzzz.
But the thing is, if I am, in my heart of hearts, a writer. If I am, in the deepy-downy recesses of my soul, a person who loves words and yoga and the connection between the two, then there needs to be more time spent writing on 750 words, and blogging on this blog, and writing in my paper journal, and less time cruising around aimlessly, wasting gas online. I need to discipline myself to leave the internet and go into the yoga room and play on the mat and make discoveries there, so when I come back I have something to say.
The content for blogs and tweets and facebook status updates–at least content that’s interesting and sometimes even helpful for others, can most reliably be found for me when I go and DO things, and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, and create CHANGE.
Whenever I think, “I have nothing to write about,” that should be the red flag to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER and go live life: read a book, have a conversation, do some yoga, workout, write. I don’t want to eliminate social media, I just need to use it better. I need to put a little fence around it with a sign that says: Playground Hours are from blank to blank. I need to be doing more living so I’ll have a better chance to be able to share something useful and valuable here.
So here’s a little Aretha to give it to you a bit more soulfully: