|The Guilt Machine|
It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally found the bravery within myself to admit that life is not all about technology. In fact, as a writer of history (albeit fiction) I should have seen the light sooner. We all existed before it was here, and we will all exist after it has died and gone the way of the Dodo. There will remain, however, those who will declare in voices rife with panic, “How can you exist without it?”. How can I exist offline? I’ll tell you…
Because I’ve done it.
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Near the start of 2018 I was heading into spring and planning where my focus would lay for the rest of the year. I was asking myself what it was I intended to achieve and with whom I wanted to spend my time. My choices were family and then my writing. Trying to finish the first draft of my second ‘Wolf Spear Saga’ proved difficult while attempting to blog regularly, run a local writers’ group, check social media platforms, post marketing onto social media, care for a dependant with special needs, cook the dinner and forget about any ‘me’ time to unwind.
Something had to give and social media was the ‘something’. I gave it up, not completely at first, but by deciding to only do it in short, regular doses. I use the word ‘doses’ as that is what you must do with an addiction, you must deny yourself as many doses. Cold turkey never works and you find yourself back there in full swing and even guiltier than ever before. (Try it with cake!) But even with the fewer ‘doses’ I retained the guilt and felt compelled to return to check the online world still existed. It did. There were no DMs asking where I was, no posts on my timeline asking where I was or why I wasn’t posting.
|Can you resist the temptation?|
The next phase was to shrug off the guilt and try and do what I originally intended, which was to complete the first draft of my second novel. As I concentrated on my writing and home life, I began to forget to take my weekly ‘doses’ of social media networking. After the first couple of episodes, I shrugged off the guilt and told myself I was too busy finishing my book. After several weeks of forgetting, I became blasé and continued to concentrate on my writing. I finished the first draft of my second novel. Then I decided to take a break from it before editing and looked into some small side projects I had been mulling over for a while. I chose one of them and dived in.
Free of guilt and with extra writing time courtesy of my online abstinence, I embarked on the small project for fun. Within a very short space of time, this small, fun side project had become an intriguing and exciting project. Since then, I have progressed the first draft of my third novel beyond 45k words, have begun editing my second novel, organised publication of my exciting project for 2019 release, begun a novella prequel, started a writing workshop (as well as my writers’ group) and hosted a book fayre with local authors in a cake café. I’ll be returning to social media life soon, but with a firmer grasp of what it means for me and MY writing career, on MY terms.
|Finding your way...|
Social media can be exhausting, constantly making you compare yourself to others and their achievements. Time away from that has made me realise what I CAN and WANT to do in my little corner of the globe. I look forward to my relationship with social media in 2019 through very different lenses, with excitement at discovering readers not only online, but through the ancient art of book clubs, libraries, book shops and public events. See you around!
Updates on my ‘Wolf Spear Saga’ series and other news can be found on my website and I post about my writing process here on this blog.