Something has got to give. I am too plugged in. Or in a phrase from a much earlier time: “the world is too much with me”. I’m having a hard time getting anything creative done. There are too many other things to do and those things keep my mind in the consuming mode rather than the creative mode. I periodically drop most of the things I do online and write for many hours, for many days. I also take short vacations and drop most online activity when I do. Ditto for the big block of time known as the Christmas holiday which, for me, runs from about mid-December to after the 1st of the new year. Some years this break starts sooner. It all depends on when I lose concentration on my writing projects. Breaks from social media and other time-consuming online activities (more about this in a minute) are great and necessary. The problem is with plugging back in fully. I typically spend a couple of weeks doing nothing but catching up on things that I let hang fire while I was writing or on a break. Then it’s hard to get back to work because there’s all this stuff to sift through, read, listen to etc. Because the world keeps moving while I’m off on holiday or inhabiting a fictional world of my own making. Everything is interesting, informative, and potentially useful, or actually useful, and I pour it all into my mind which is then too glazed over with other people’s words to generate new material of my own.
It’s getting worse because every year I discover more rss feeds with lots of articles I’m interested in and more wonderful podcasts on fiction, about fiction, or of interest. I’ve reached the point where there is literally not enough hours in the day some days to read things online, listen to podcasts, and socialize…nevermind writing books (or substantive blog posts)! So I’ve been paring things back, dropping rss feeds, not dropping into Facebook as often, allowing myself only short forays into Twitter, but it still isn’t enough.
Sad to say it’s the podcasts — which I love the most — which are the biggest time sink. I can do things while I listen, but I don’t have that many hours of non-reading, non-writing things to do every day! If I listen in the morning, my mind is then too full of other people’s voices and other people’s stories to settle in and work on my own. That otherwise quiet time when I’m doing miscellaneous things is time my mind should be mulling over my own fiction, so then I’m ready to write when I sit down. If I write first and listen to podcasts later, then there’s not enough time to keep up with all there is to listen to. My podcatcher catches more than I can consume. So I’ve cut back. I unsubscribed to some podcasts that I was only marginally interested in, but discovered others which were much better. I’ve separated the wheat from the chaff and the gold from the dross and now it’s all gold. I love it but it’s eating my mind. Another culling is in the offing. I’m going to have to drop some fiction podcasts as well as nonfiction. This is gonna hurt, but my own fiction needs me. Short podcasts (Toasted Cake & Welcome to Nightvale, for instance) are safe as are the Escape Artists podcasts, because I love them so much, and support them. But everything else is up against the wall. I’ve got manuscripts that need rewriting and I have many, many hours and days ahead in my fictional worlds before the books are ready for publication.
I will still be on social networks sporadically, which really won’t be much of a change. I’m going to try to continue my little microblog (now renamed The Mighty Microblog) because short posts are fast and easy. I’m also determined to post more to the group food blog this year. After a fast start the first year, I didn’t contribute much last year and I’m determined to strike a balance this year. If things go well (fingers crossed) I should have a book out by the end of the year!