A social media ban to untangle tangles & get the writing done

tangledSometimes my life feels a little bit like this.

All kinds of bright gorgeous threads connecting me to all sorts of interesting people, things and projects, but all a little – well, tangled. And as in the photo there isn’t a huge amount of clear space for things that require clear space.

Things like writing.

I’ve been struggling to maintain progress on my current novel for a couple of years now. I get into a regular writing habit, and then I stop. And then months later I creak into action again.

In my defence, a few things have happened in the past couple of years – finishing a psychotherapy qualification. becoming a Buddhist, meeting my future husband, moving house, starting a new sangha, moving house again, starting a new business, starting a new psychotherapy practice, getting married, tackling a new overgrown garden, becoming a Buddhist priest…

But really there are no excuses. If I want to write, I just need to sit down every morning and write. Whatever else is happening in my life.

I’ve managed this today, cranking out my requisite 2000 shitty-first-draft words, partly thanks to my new routine with social media. NO looking online (or checking email or Facebook or book statistics or Twitter etc.) until 12 midday. Deal with it all as quickly as you can (it’s nearly lunchtime after all!) then go off-line again. Continue working on other things, then check email (and anything else I want to check) again at 4pm. That’s it.

It leaves the morning surprisingly, embarrassingly clear – like many field’s worth of virgin snow. Whenever I get distracted and almost-check-Twitter, I’m faced with a gentle reminder to come back to the page. And go back to the page I did. Again. And again. And again.

It’s only the first day, and so I don’t want to count any chickens. But I would like to think that I will find a way of holding on to this new routine, for my sake and for the sake of those around me. When I’m writing first thing in the morning, I’m a nicer person. The rest of the day has a different feel. I’ve done the Most Important Thing. I can relax into everything-else without that nagging guilt that otherwise accompanies me.

And I’m not letting my character, April, down. She’s coming to life, one word at a time. Her story is being told…

What is your relationship with social media? Tell me about it in the comments.

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‘tangled’ by arbyreed

5 thoughts on “A social media ban to untangle tangles & get the writing done”

  1. I went to a weeklong writing retreat last summer and there was no internet connection. There wasn’t even a satellite connection for my 3G phone. In case of emergency, there was a landline phone.

    Midday, I drove into town, to the local coffee house, to check in with family.

    As I was writing, I was amazed how often I wanted to turn away from the work–check an email, check twitter, check ANYTHING. At the end of the week, I finished my draft and realized I didn’t like it.

    Well, no wonder I was turning away.

    Usually my online writing family keeps me motivated and showing up for work (that’s how it’s going for me at the moment), but sometimes. . .

    Hmm. I wonder if I’d still be working on that draft if I weren’t forced to pay attention.

  2. Oh well done! I couldn’t live without my computer but I do feel I need to bring some order to the chaos, perhaps treat it more like work than something that’s always on and calling me from the background. I’ve often promised myself to use it more creatively and let social media inspire me, rather than lurking about on FB playing games and idly drifting over posts. Procrastination is one of my worst faults after all. Perhaps this should be my restructure for the year.

    As you also like Mieville, perhaps you’ll tell us all about your favourite reads one day..

  3. Interesting, Johanna. I think my distraction works on automatic – whenever I can’t think of the right word or encounter a small discomfort, I look for distraction in the shape of Facebook…
    Thanks Francesca – yes, I think there is a fine balance to be had. I feel very ‘fed’ by my relationships online. It’s all all about the middle way!
    (Will do!)

  4. I drop a comment each time I like a article on a website or if I
    have something to add to the discussion. Usually it’s a result of the passion communicated in the article I browsed. And after this post A social media ban to untangle tangles & get the writing done | Fiona Robyn. I was moved enough to post a thought 🙂 I actually do have 2 questions for you if you usually do not mind. Could it be only me or do some of the remarks come across like written by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing on other sites, I would like to follow anything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list all of your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  5. Beautiful and wise.
    For me, NO online until the net until Morning Pages, Meditation and Yoga is completed. When I do get online, I go through and delete everything that I know I won’t read – then try to swish through without getting caught in crafty traps.
    Blissings to you!

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