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January 31, 2013

Anti-Social Media

Since the calendar rolled over to 2013, I've felt compelled to make some pretty major changes in my life. I mentioned a few posts back that I had an extremely productive writing phase between 2007 and 2009, and that got me wondering exactly what was I doing then that is different from what I'm doing now. A few additional years of experience should have me producing more, not less, right?

That thought started off small, and before I realized it, it became a snowball with some serious size.

The past few weeks turned into a strange and dreamy time of introspection. (No, it was not all nice and shiny.) I came up with a list of things that had changed since I was cranking out thousands of words a day. Here are a few examples:
  • My diet was much healthier four years ago.
  • I wrote three pages in a journal each day.
  • I spent more time outdoors.
  • I devoted time to creative hobbies other than writing.
  • I regularly entertained guests at home.
  • My kids were homeschooled; now they attend public school.

While I was brainstorming this list, I found myself pausing here and there to scroll through my News Feed at Facebook, see what was new in my blog subscriptions, and feed my short attention span with the bursts at Twitter.

That's when it hit me: I avoided the Internet junk food of social media during those productive years. Whoa.

Not particularly happy about this revelation, I decided to sever my ties with the time leeches and see what happened. Severe, but necessary if I hope to ever figure out what works for me and what doesn't.

Guess what? I've been without Facebook for five days and I'm still alive. Hell, I even feel a little saner because of it. I've taken care of some things around the house that had been neglected for far too long, caught up on some reading, and fleshed out a few new projects.

Sure, it's a change that goes against everything "they" tell you that you should do as a writer - entertain your fans while building a dedicated platform - but it feels right for me right now.

Think you could last a week without Facebook or Twitter? How about a month? A YEAR??

Sound off!


  1. I've been cutting back seriously on my FB time too. I miss my FB peeps, but like you my productivity has been dismal. I'll miss seeing what you're up to. Are you still going to blog?

    I got that Rescue Time and find it helpful. I can't give up FB altogether, because I actually get *paid* to update the MSR page, but I've cut down my personal involvement quite a bit.

    Sigh. Good luck! You. Can. Do. It!!

  2. I was just about to click the Like buttons for FB, G+, and Twitter, and then it hit me... Whoa! Yikes! She is SOO right!!!

  3. Thanks for your feedback!

    The most surprising thing about this post so far is how many people have emailed me wagging their fingers because a link to it showed up on my Facebook wall. "How can you say you're avoiding Facebook when you just posted a link to your blog there, hmmm?"

    It's called an RSS feed. *I* didn't post the link there, a handy-dandy robot did it for me so I could spend my time doing more fulfilling and productive things!


    I've been thinking of this social media withdrawal as sort of a mental health diet: Cheating only slows my progress, makes it easier to slide back into old (and poor) habits, and flips the LAZY switch in my brain.

    I'm sure someone with strong willpower could probably get away with setting up 30 minutes a day or whatever for social media, but I know that for me it had to be all or nothing.