Here’s a question I’ve been wrestling with lately, both as a writer and as, ya know, a human-being:
As the web expands exponentially, increasing virtual human touch-points and opportunities for micro-communication– how do we find enough time to live our very own lives?
I mean, an important part of writing is the assimilation of knowledge, right? A spider can’t spin a brilliant yarn for years and years without stopping once in a while to eat. And an author needs to rub up against the world every now and again in order to spark some inspiration.
Social Media– Distraction or Interaction?
Hemingway fished. Gore Vidal butted heads with Norman Mailer. And I’ll be damned if Facebook and Twitter aren’t great places to create some actual friction with the world today. You can argue about politics, read up on news your friends find important, watch videos, monitor the memes of the moment, insult one another, and get lost.
How lost? Utterly lost. I know some writers who’ve been invited to picturesque retreats (mountaintop, riverside, oceanfront, etc.) to finish novels and collections of poems, only to spend half their days tweeting and “managing their platforms” on Facebook– and their publishers weren’t happy when all the author had to show for it was another 100 Twitter followers.
Any good writer needs to be conscious of the way they’re balancing input with output. And it doesn’t seem to be wise or realistic to shut ourselves off from important social media (or any other “distraction”) when it actually helps us learn about the world around us. After all, that experience fuels our fiction, our poems, our essays. But where is the point when online “engagement” starts negatively affecting your productivity?
I vacillate between going totally Cold Turkey on my computer and going on all-out media binges, fueled by a nasty Facebook addiction. Somewhere in between I find a little time to write.
But how do you do it? How do you find time in your life for writing and reading? Reading and “living”? How do you engage with books and blogs? Family and imagination? Friends both invented and real?
Let us know in the comments section below.
[Diversion image from Shutterstock.]