The Social Media Existential Balancing Angst of Flailing and Pondering and Sometimes Missing Stuff

A few weeks ago, I took a hiatus from social media thingies. It was refreshing. I had more time to do other stuff.

Here’s the thing, though – I missed out on stuff, too. Probably a lot of stuff. The silver lining is I’ll never know what stuff I missed out on.

I’d love to know how other people balance their stuff. For example, how much time does a writer mom of young children spend on Twitter and Facebook, on average? How does she manage social media and writing time? What about other busy people? How do they achieve balance (or something close to it)?

For awhile I tried popping in to Twitter and Facebook, with the idea I’d do just fifteen minutes a day. Fifteen minutes isn’t much, is it? But then I’d stay signed in, and check in again at a later point that same day, and suddenly I’d have spent thirty extra minutes doing, in effect, NOTHING (I think we’ve all had this experience). Or, if I asked a question on Twitter, someone would respond, and I’d want to respond to their response, and then I’d get a new follower and revisit the site just to follow them back (if they were deserving and not relentless self-promoters). And before I knew it, I’d have gained a follower but lost fifteen more writing minutes because there was a really cool conversation going on and I wanted to find out more.

What if I gave myself Twitter Tuesdays and Facebook Fridays? And I just check in on those days?

What if I just…stop?

Then there’s the “I’m a writer and so I must have an online presence” issue. A blog is probably enough. (But Twitter can be pretty fun.) (And Facebook is the only connection I have to certain friends, family, and colleagues, and it’s the gateway to some cool groups of people.)

I really don’t know what to do. I love writing. I also love participating in conversations online. I also love paying attention to my family. And there’s only so much time.

SUGGESTIONS WELCOME.

PS: the flying whale drawing has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I just drew it awhile (awhale?! hahahahaha) back and like it. That’s all. Really. Unless you want to work some cool psychoanalysis on it. In which case, do share!

Dear Blog.

Dear Blog,

We’ve had a pretty good year. In fact, I think we just passed our one-year anniversary. Quick investigation reveals January 29th as our first blog post together…I didn’t bring you flowers or anything. Oops.

The truth is, Blog, that when we began our relationship I was in between projects. Putting the finishing revisions on one manuscript, getting ready to begin another…and I didn’t realize what  a time investment you would be. At first I planned to do five posts a week. That lasted all of about, I don’t know, two weeks? That’s a generous guess.

Then we cut it down to three, which is doable. Oh, Blog, I don’t know how to say this, but…I’m seeing someone else. I’ve been seeing her for awhile now. When you and I took that break a couple of weeks ago, things started getting serious between me and her. She’s…oh, she’s high-maintenance and it’s all ups and downs. One minute I think she’s the best thing in the whole world, and the next minute I’m ready to cast her into the fireplace. She is completely bewitching, absorbing, and all-around mind-bending. Every step forward with her revisions brings me three steps back, and she’s a headache and a pain and she makes me want to scream sometimes and I LOVE EVERY MINUTE I SPEND WITH HER.

My current manuscript. Sigh. Even draped in her myriad imperfections, she is divine.

I feel a passion for her that I just don’t feel for you anymore.

Can we still be friends?

I think we should still see each other, but maybe slow things down a bit. Our dates might not be as regular. Definitely we should get together at least once a week. Miss you already! Bye!

With care, gratitude, and respect,

*Beth

The Unthinkable

Three bits of randomness, and a challenge.

1. Yesterday, two wild turkeys wandered along the sidewalk past our house. Just out for a stroll in the fog. No big deal.

2. Today, I pretended fixing breakfast took a lot longer than it did, because I was reading.

Yeah, that sort of sneaky behavior only works on the shorter set. Anyone tall enough to see over the edge of the counter (and she’s just about there, believe me, I’m raising an Amazon’s child) wouldn’t be fooled. [Yeah, that’s my crowded counter and chipped butter dish. So what?]

3. And finally, today I made Mommy Surprise. I named it that; it’s really a modified “Fruit Crisp” recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (modified: tweaked because we didn’t have “rolled” oats, only other oaty stuff; no human needs 4 tablespoons of sugar in a fruit crisp, and I mean Z when I say no one; and I got tired of cutting up apples so added two cups of blueberries instead):

Surprise! Mommy really loves you!

Prepare to be impressed: I microwaved it. Really, I’m not that afraid of the oven, but (sappy voice here) I wanted it to be ready before Z’s nap. She doesn’t know I’m calling it Mommy Surprise because it’s “Surprise! Mommy can actually make stuff in the kitchen! And she put her book down long enough to do it!”

Okay, here’s the real post, now that that other stuff is out of the way.

The challenge: Severely limit the amount of time I spend using the internet

The reason: Other than the fact my eyeballs hurt…my husband (sort of) jokingly said that I love my laptop more than I love him. Youch! Which got me thinking, am I online too much? Could I be the half-step between a regular person, and a person with the Feed? (That’s an M. T. Anderson Feed reference, there, and if you haven’t read that creepy-sad book, I suggest you do.)

The limits:

  • I will allow myself three sessions to read and respond to emails next week. No session may exceed an hour. I’d give up email entirely, except I have promises to critique writing and post writing for critique for one of my writers groups. And a week’s worth of Freecycle posts would probably get my email account shut down.
  • If I can keep each of those email sessions to half an hour, I get a prize. Now accepting ideas what that prize can be.
  • I will not post anything on my blog, nor will I check the stats, nor will I fiddle with any of the widgets or anything blog related.
  • I will also not – gasp! – read the blogs of anyone else. (Will WordPress, my blog host, even allow me to post a blog like this? If I don’t participate in the blog world, their site traffic will be decreased dramatically.)
  • No Facebook or Twitter, which, as fun as they are, won’t be such a hard loss.

The benefits: I calculate there will be many. I’m looking forward to some chunks of time being freed up for work on my manuscript, for one thing (no internet does not mean no laptop). Maybe Husband and I will watch a show together, or play a round of Killer Bunnies, or even, I don’t know, talk. The house might be a little cleaner. Z might remember what her mother looks like without depending on the clicking sounds coming from the little black box to recognize me. My time on the computer will be devoted to working on my manuscript, which will feel refreshing and invigorating and will give me that extra inspirational push I need to get through revising this pesky fight scene. I’ll also lose ten pounds and develop magical beauty skills, influence people, make friends, and convince Husband it is him I love, not this (beautiful, fabulous, convenient, perfect) laptop.

The question: Has anyone else tried this before? How did it work out? If there’s something else I need to consider, let me know soon, because it’s Internet Black Out starting at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

The other question: The world won’t stop, will it?

Sea Change

Full fathom five, thy father lies,

Of his bones are coral made,

Those were pearls that were his eyes,

Nothing of him that doth fade,

But doth suffer a sea-change,

Into something rich and strange…

(Shakespeare, The Tempest)

It isn’t my own poem, but it counts for Poetry Monday. Things are changing. I sense my own sea change. I don’t know what the result will be, but I’m going to wait and find out.

This blog is changing, too. Not much, but I’m going to switch from five posts per week to three. My energy can be redirected towards my novel-writing. Since so much of what I write in here is nonsense anyway, I don’t think it’ll be too much of a problem! The new schedule will be:

Monday: Book Review

Wednesday: Momming Around

Friday: Free-for-All

The only reason I don’t have this change in effect for today is that I don’t have a book review ready! I was too busy reading–since Friday I have read Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins), Wake (Lisa McMann), and Fade (Lisa McMann). I’d say reading three novels in three days was a big deal, except the McMann books took all of two hours apiece. Short paragraphs, I guess.

We’ll see what the week brings….