15 August 2011
Posted on 10:10 AM by Nicole Michelle | 23 comments
Wednesday, at 6 pm, I announced my 48 Hour Social Media Hiatus, as a way to prove to myself that I am not addicted to social networking. So, in case you didn’t notice, I was not on Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus for 48 hours. This is a blog post about that experience.
On 5:59 PM, I posted my last comment Google Plus, which read something like, “I have one more minute! What do I do???”
A few sarcastic responses later, I signed off and closed my Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus applications and paid attention to the world around me, instead of the world living inside of my iPhone.
After I got home, instead of spending my usual time with eyes squinting at the latest events on my blog, and social networking accounts, I grabbed the spiral bound notebook I had bought at Office Max just a few weeks ago, and turned to a blank page. And I wrote.
The scene that inspired my bout of writing at that particular moment had come from a weird event on my way home one night. An event that was bizarre and alarming at the same time; something I had been meaning to turn into a story, but hadn’t yet made the time for it.
The next day, after spending several hours job hunting, I returned to my computer. I checked my email, of course, and spotted new comments to my blog. I resisted the urge to comment back, to follow back, to go on my usual online writing or blogging forums and get involved, as I usually do.Instead, I grabbed my phone once again and put it to good use.
I opened up the Pandora app, and I turned to one of my stations I created for a certain writing ambience (The Exorcist station was perfect for the horror element of the scene I was writing) and I wrote.
It was at that moment that I suddenly realized why I have loved handwriting my stories, even with our constantly improving technology.
For one thing, while I’m at my computer, it is very easy for me to become distracted, even when I don’t have internet access (i.e. Sims 3). And for some reason, even when I try to discipline myself, and I open up Microsoft Word, I can’t help but feel disconnected from the writing process. When I open up Word, I just hear the word, “edit” or “academic.” I don’t hear “creative” or “expression” or “character.” I don’t mind typing blog posts, though. It is just something about typing stories – especially new ideas –that I just don’t like.
I don’t even write with the best handwriting when I do use a notebook, so that really doesn’t make a difference to me. Check out my notebook here....
You see? But something about the freedom, about the pen touching the paper, about turning to the next page to continue the story…all of it gives me the feeling that I am connecting to the story in a different way. It’s the same way that I feel about reading paperback books, as opposed to reading an ebook. I need that physical connection to the story in front of me. It probably goes back to when I was really little and I would go to the bookshelves and take out every single book there. Even then, before I could read, I loved books. The feel of the pages. The smell of the ink. The crackling of a brand new book. The familiar smell of an old book. I don’t even like to use bookmarks; I bend the pages of the books while I read them. It’s interactive for me and somewhere along the way, it became that same way for me with writing. I rarely look back on the stories I have started on my computer, but I always go back to the ones I have handwritten.
So, during my social media hiatus, I took out my notebook and I reminded myself the importance of my (somewhat unique) starting point. With that said, though, I do type my stories…but when I type them, I am also rewriting. I am fixing grammar mistakes, enhancing descriptions, improving character dialogue…I couldn’t start out at the very place that I associate with my inner critic. I do know that it’s important to have an inner critic about my writing…that’s how rewriting is done. But I don’t want that from the start. At the start, I want the writing to feel free and creative, without having to critiquing myself along the way. If I do critique myself like that, I end up stalling completely and never going back to the story.
Today, I’m inspired to write, because I have been reminded about what I enjoy the most about the writing process. I enjoy the new notebooks, the feeling of the pen in my hand, the black ink that cakes the side of my left hand after writing too long, the feeling of the pages in my hand…all of it. Today, I’m inspired to write because I have proved to myself that I can take a break from the internet around me and focus on my writing; that all is not lost.
So, take your “social media hiatus.” Take it during a period of time that you use social media the most (taking mine during the middle of the week was a big deal; for some reason I rarely go to social networking sites on the weekend). And when you take your break….write. Pay attention to the world around you. Connect with the people who are actually in front of you. Create. For 48 hours, live without social networking. What will you learn?
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