There are days I spend away from the internet and while I can’t say I feel refreshed and renewed (because I’m not out camping and enjoying nature so much as running the kids all over town and catching up on To Do tasks), I do feel moderately less annoyed with humanity.
I blame Facebook. For many things, actually, but hating other people has a lot to do with inane and/or offensive garbage I see on Facebook mostly from people I know in real life and the people they know in real life who maybe I need to know a little less about.
Twitter is a different story for me because I’m on there almost exclusively to engage the writing community and stalk Riverdale creators and actors. All of those people are lovely and I can easily ignore anyone who isn’t.
Instagram is fairly new to me, my personal account is private, and I really only engage with a select few people… and Riverdale creators and actors.
Tumblr, I abandoned long ago, back when raging Teen Wolf fans couldn’t handle life and stopped creating adorable memes to lash out in grammatically infeasible ways that hurt my brain.
And I don’t do anything else because I’m a Gen Xer and I’m too busy being broody and polishing my CD collection to learn anything new.
So I will continue to look at the pretty pictures on Instagram and play writer hashtag games on Twitter and feel all peach fuzz and puppies about it.
But how… do I get away… from Facebook? Honestly? I have business-related pages and an author page and a private friend group comprised entirely of pictures of my children so I can continue minimal interaction with family while still providing life updates. But I want to stop all the rest. How do you just… stop the rest? How do you kill the Facebook feed?
This is definitely me in a Calvin Klein crop top with my manicured nails and dangling bracelets being all addicted to social media and whatnot. Certainly not a generic pic that google has allowed me to use.
Sometimes the internet is a wonderful place full of resources and opportunities and sometimes it’s full of bullcrap and terrible people and even some not so terrible people who just don’t get what you’re saying.
Either way, I think it’s healthy to disengage sometimes. When a conversation isn’t working, when two (or more) people are talking about different things, circling around each other but never meeting in the middle, it’s time to call it quits.
While I’ve seen some wonderful acts of bravery, of support, of community on Twitter, I just don’t think it’s a productive place–for me, at least–to have serious conversations about real events or strong feelings. It’s just too easy to misinterpret. Or interpret correctly but respond like a jackhole. I have no energy for that kind of nonsense.
No more politics for me on Twitter. And perhaps I should extend that to Facebook as well. I’ll stick to fun and work on social media and keep my politics where they belong: in the real world with real people who have to look me in the face to spew their idiocy and I, in turn, can respond appropriately.*
* See Figure 1A above
I discovered a new word today: liminoid. It’s the in-between place described by the word liminality but optional and secular because it doesn’t belong to a ritual.
It’s what I’m going to call this place between finishing an old WIP and starting a new one. It’s both freedom and lostness and it’s super uncomfortable.
I would like to be writing something new but as my free time is limited, and I would like to sell the book I just finished, I need to concentrate my effort on marketing, right?
Or do I?
I have no issue with considering myself a hobby novelist and while I enjoy the gratification of that sales graph climbing ever upward, making money has never been my goal.
Oh, but it’s nice, isn’t it?
When it comes down to it, though, I write for the pleasure of writing. I finish a story for the pleasure of seeing it through to the end. I self-publish for the pleasure of hoping my story means something to someone else. I collect a couple o’ pennies in royalties for the pleasure of a cup of coffee I didn’t pay for out of my day job paycheck.
All in good fun.
So maybe it’s time to start something new? To step through the threshold and find out what’s on the other side? To stop feeling guilty about not doing enough or posting enough or paying* enough to get my books sold and read?
Yes, I think so.
*Paying for advertising when you’re not 100% invested in making money on a thing is just a dumb waste. Hear that, Facebook? Please stop harassing me about “boosting” things. There will be no more boosting for you from me, thankyouverymuch.
I was doing some light reading yesterday in the doctor’s office because my appointment never starts more than 40 minutes late and I only have so much battery power on crappy hospital Wifi when I came across a chapter dedicated 100% to my procrastination. It said*, “Eda, the only thing stopping you from editing your WIP is you.”
*I could be paraphrasing. Maybe.
And while that isn’t all the way true, because I also have things like household chores, chasing a toddler, being pregnant, and working two jobs to contend with, I feel like maybe some of those times when I’m scrolling through Facebook searching for articles that confirm the downfall of the Empire or taking my third “Which pizza topping defines your archetype” quiz on Buzzfeed, I maybe could be editing instead.
I’m not even at the boring part of editing. I’m reading through to make sure it makes sense. I’m reading “for enjoyment” (and continuity). I’m not even proofreading, man. You’d think I could get through it quicker.
It’s a little bit procrastination, a lot of distraction, and a fair amount of guilt holding me back. There ARE, in fact, other things I should be doing. But if I care about this project, I need to make time for it. Writing and self-publishing is a hobby and I’m content with it remaining so but it’s one that keeps me sane so yeah, I need to make time for it too.
I took Facebook off my phone. That means less adorable pictures of my child for the haters to choke on but it also means slightly more sanity for me AND more time to actually read the blogs I follow! Hi blogs!
I am so very frustrated with the world at large, as many of those of us in possession of a soul are, but I have also learned that there’s only so much one person can do and it’s best to focus on the things you have some control over so as not get totally overwhelmed. Despair is not useful. “Anger is more useful than despair.”
Of the handful of things I can control: my social media. Of the things that make me the most frustrated: a friend list full of people who are most certainly NOT my friends, who I would not chose to socialize with given the option, and who are either bigots or idiots I cannot stand in real life so WHY would I continue to “follow” them online? Because they post good recipes? So does Buzzfeed. Because they have cute kids? So do I. To maintain good relations for networking reasons? Not a good enough reason.
Let me tell you about the woman who used to be a coworker–who could still be considered a colleague–who posted some nonsense about protesters being “babies” and how they need to grow up. This woman of color is the daughter of immigrants from a country that does not value women and she spent her whole life–she’s told me on many occasions, often with tears in her eyes–being denigrated by her parents and extended family members. She works in a male-dominated industry full of macho airheads who still use phrases like, “even good for girls” in their advertising. And she is very… very susceptible to peer pressure.
Do I believe that in her heart she supports an administration led by a man who does not value women, minorities, or immigrants? Prrrrobably not. See above, re: tears in her eyes. Do I believe that the macho airheads she works with brainwashed her into thinking that agreeing with something that’s BAD for her would be the only thing that would make them respect her? AAAAAAbsolutely because it happened constantly when she was my coworker.
So I could go on from here into some brainwashing, fake news, peer pressure thing and wonder how many of That Man’s voters were not aware that they were not acting in their own interests but were propagandized nice and thorough and blah blah blah. But it doesn’t matter now. He’s got the chair and there’s nothing my pondering can do to get him out of it.
Instead, I’ll focus on the things I can control. I can choose to not be friends with people who denigrate others while literally crying about the very same happening to them. Because that kind of hypocrisy underlies a fundamental lack of empathy. And why the hell should I be friends with someone who cannot empathize with others? How does such a person HAVE friends or any kind of meaningful relationship if they have no insight into the emotions of others? Is that why they value Facebook friendships? Because they’d rather think of their friends as “followers” who have to listen to every word they say?
You know what? I don’t care. Unfriend. There. I’ve controlled a situation that caused me pain and frustration. What’s next?
When I opened my first Twitter account, I had nothing in particular to share and so I just stalked celebrities and suffered FOMO for every hour I couldn’t check my feed. Now I’ve got a purpose for my Twittivities and find I’m feeling more FOGI than FOMO. And here’s where I clarify acronyms:
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
FOGI (Fear of Getting Involved)
I see all these trending tags and I’m like, “Yeah! I agree strongly with that sentiment” but avoid actually participating because, well, that’s not what I’m here for. I get a new follow from an earnest and genuine-seeming person and I think, “You seem nice. You post things I don’t care about. I… don’t have time for you. Sorry?” And don’t even get me started about the crap happening over on Facebook because I just can’t, ok? I’m not falling for your vague-posting or your request for advice that you could find on Google. I’m scrolling past your damn recipe videos that make cooking look easy. It’s not. I’ve tried it.
I’ve Got to Prioritize, People!
I get 30-75 minutes a day to write and I need to spend that time writing or participating in writing prompts that motivate me to write more. I can’t be settling an argument between my cousin and my aunt when my aunt’s not even online to defend herself. I can’t spark a debate over how many trolls I can get to threaten me for expressing my views. And seriously, stop making all that cooking nonsense look like something I could accomplish in 20 minutes because that is a LIE.
I have to pee, have lunch, switch the laundry from washer to dryer, fill the dishwasher and throw all the toys into bins so that I can write my next book 20 minutes at a time over the next 13 months all while my toddler naps.
Respect my FOGI. Don’t drag me down into your internet abyss.
I’m on mental vacation again and it’s not because I’m lazy or “not a writer because a writer writes every day*.” It’s because I need to prioritize, people. We all do.
*Bullshit. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off. Or a week off. Or a couple of years off if that’s what you need to do to get your head right.
False. Get a life, please.
A few things happened yesterday that put me in a “hey, might be time for a break” mood. The first was that I somehow copied over the entirety of one WIP with another. So I have two files, named two different things, with exactly the same text. And no back up. Sooooo… that story is gonesies. How did I do this? I don’t know. Try doing anything with a toddler screaming and pulling your fingers and see if you don’t make any mistakes.
The second, I went on freaking Facebook again which just makes me miserable and I should know better. I like being informed to a certain extent but there’s only so much I can handle. Within one swipe of my finger, I saw a story about another goddamn white teenager getting away with rape because boys will be boys and so forth, a story about a 10-year-old black boy who was chased by the police because he sorta looked like a robbery suspect (coughblackcough) and was thoroughly traumatized by the event but has no recourse whatsoever, and a story about a police officer who gave a baby a bath because he was covered in poop and vomit when his drunk mother was arrested.
You guys, I just can’t. I can’t handle that much awful in the span of 3 minutes.
I thought maybe writing about some of it would help me cope so I started a satirical piece called “Leniency for Rapists” but EVEN SATIRICALLY, the thought made me ill. Then I tried to write a blog post about how I tried to write satire and it just hurt my heart all the more. That was the third yuck of the day.
Add to all that a tired teething cranky bratty toddler with a tolerance level of 0% for all of life’s daily frustrations and it made for a half-ton of suckage that I was just not prepared for.
Rather than diving into the drama of another story, I would much prefer to snooze in a mellow haze of happy home life. The kid is chill today. I’m not interested in anything more dramatic than Baywatch (yes, I still watch it. Don’t judge.) And writing will have to take a back seat to mental health for a few.
Priorities. I got ’em.