Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The Bright Side of Going Dark

Last week I did the unthinkable—I stayed away from social media. I only visited Facebook long enough to honor my commitment to an authors’ network, wish my son Christian a Happy Birthday, and promote an event that I knew Christian was excited about. I clicked on a couple of “tweetable” quotes in blog posts that I liked, but other than that my Twitter account remained silent. When my usual day for posting on my blog rolled around, I took a break from that, too. Why? 

Here are my honest reasons:

1)    I find that when I visit Facebook too often, I struggle with envy. There were things that I wanted to be doing last week but couldn’t, so I decided that the best way to avoid falling into a sulky mindset was to focus on what God had for me each day instead of what He had for others.

2)    I have been feeling uncertain about my blog lately. What am I really trying to say? Have I lost my focus? Did I ever have a focus? Do my weekly postings about what God teaches me through my very ordinary everyday life offer anything of substance?  

3)    I really REALLY wanted to take a few uninterrupted days to work on a new fiction project. Before I got too attached to the vision that was taking shape, I needed to lock myself in my room with the characters and see if we got along and if I wanted to hang out in their world for an extended period of time. Did I care about their problems? Would anyone else care? 

4)    As wonderful and useful as social media is, it’s distracting and addictive. I felt like it was time to rein that in. 

5)    After a few weeks that included a difficult editing project and an assignment that I needed to finish quickly after getting behind on it, my mind felt cluttered. It craved a mini “retreat” where I could devote time to writing something that flowed from my own creativity.

I’m halfway into a new week and I don’t regret the break at all. I mapped out a new novel, spent extra time with God, and recognized some areas where I need to be more disciplined. I am re-entering the social media world slowly. As a writer, I know it is a necessary part of my day, but I also want to use my hours wisely, knowing there is so much more to life than blogs, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and even (I can’t believe I’m saying this) writing.

I think I’ll pull away from social media more often.
Have you ever taken a break from technology or social media? Why or why not? If you did take one, how did you benefit from it?       
(This was cross-posted.)