Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Well, it’s ridiculously easy for me to answer the first part of this question and almost impossible for me to answer the second part.
Facebook. Facebook is the answer to the first part, I know without a doubt. I am a Facebook addict. I’m constantly on Facebook, checking my feed, replying to my friends’ status updates, writing my own, commenting on pictures, uploading my own, taking part in debates, starting my own, giving my opinion on shared articles and videos, sharing my own. In the mornings after my shower I boot up the netbook for ten minutes or so of Facebooking. When I get to work, I pull up gmail first and Facebook second, and those two sites stay open all day in the background until I turn off my computer for the night. And then more often than not I’m on Facebook again in the evenings when I’m home.
I’m going to do my best not to judge this, as I’m making a conscious effort lately to talk more nicely to myself. But when I add it all up like that, it’s a little overwhelming, just how much of my time I spend on Facebook during the week.
My addiction is a little more easily managed on the weekends when I’m out and about with Boyfriend instead of sitting in front of a computer all day. I have access to Facebook on my phone, of course, but the mobile site never adjusted when Facebook changed up the feed format, so it’s filled with the same old stuff all the time, sometimes going as far back as a few days, giving me no option to click to see recent updates. I have to admit, though, that sometimes I catch myself thanking my lucky stars my twitter feed doesn’t have the same glitch, and I check it whenever Boyfriend steps away for a couple minutes. Not that I’m waiting for him to step away. It’s just a good way to fill the minutes when he does.
All of these minutes on the weekends and hours (upon hours) on weekdays could be spent listening to my own thoughts rather than others’. And listening to my own thoughts is elemental to the writing process. Additionally, not only does Facebook detract from the time I used to spend in my own head, crafting words and sentences to write down whenever I got the chance, it also has a tendency to make me feel bad about myself. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, of course, but my own. I see old friends using Facebook as a medium to maintain real relationships with each other, people from high school planning get-togethers, people from college planning skype dates, people exchanging “it was so nice to see you!”s and “let’s do it again!”s. I’m not a part of it, and it makes me feel left out. Which makes me feel like a failure at maintaining relationships, which makes me feel like no one likes me, which makes me feel like a failure in general, and down and down the dark spiral until I’m convinced that I don’t have anything to say worth reading, anyway, and I was always fooling myself with this writing thing.
While it’s become cool to bash Facebook or delete your page or go on a Facebook fast, I’ve always found unabashed value in its community. I blame existentialism for completely abolishing any sort of concept of community the world used to have back before suburban sprawl and isolation became a way of life. We have embraced this way of life, but we all still have a desperate need for connectedness that isn’t getting met. Enter: Facebook. Now, it’s how we all feel connected, however imaginary and fake and virtual. We’re all starving, and this meat is rotten, but it’s still meat.
So I’m honestly not sure if I can eliminate it. I think it would be worthwhile to try. I’m sensing a New Year’s resolution hidden in here, which may have been the entire purpose of today’s prompt. Perhaps I can dramatically scale back on my Facebook usage. That way I could still get my connectedness fix while hopefully restoring some of the calm in my head that would allow my small, shaking voice to once again emerge.