As I mentioned in a post last week, I’m working through through The Artist’s Way with a group of creative friends on Facebook. Week Four fell on February 25-March 3 and was to be my “media & book deprivation week”. The intent was to not read and not fall into the abyss that is social media, which would then allow my internal creativity to explode, and I would write and write and write.
Yeah, so about that.
A big part of The Artist’s Way are the Morning Pages, a sort of brain dump where you write whatever is in your head – at least three pages worth. If you have nothing to say, you can write three pages of “I have nothing to say”. At the end of my Morning Pages last week I wrote a note about how I fared the day before with regards to staying away from books and social media.
Just to clarify, my goal was to limit my reading to finishing the book that I’m reviewing for a blog tour at the start of the following week. I also vowed to limit Twitter usage to checking in to tweet/retweet things on the current book blog tour, quickly respond to any tweets directed at me, etc. Since I’m paying for a membership to Co-Schedule, I would schedule out any tweets/Facebook posts/Instagram posts I needed to make.
Sounds like a plan, right?
Here’s how the deprivation challenge actually looked.
I was scheduled for a fasting blood test first thing in the morning, so I decided to head to a coffee shop afterwards to write. With laptop, iPad, notebook and pens in hand, settled into my seat in a coffee shop next to my doctor’s office.
Verdict: Terrible latte, morning pages written, and I brainstormed other posts ideas. I also daydreamed more than intended. While I usually need to block out coffee shop chatter and music with pink noise, this time I played the soundtrack from The Umbrella Academy on Spotify. I’m not entirely sure why I could write music (I ordinarily need quiet) and I was quite pleased with this discovery. Maybe it was just the weird combination of Queen and Tiffany. I’m not sure.
Mostly stayed off of Facebook except to check messages for possible geometry tutors for the teen. I was on Twitter more than I wanted, but did ok.
I sat down to do my morning pages, and that morphed into making a list of post ideas. I finished the last few chapters of the book I’m reviewing next week, and then hammered out the book review. Seeing the email about the next tour, I went ahead and wrote that post, too, and scheduled both. Success!
Then I lost 40 minutes on Twitter. Frustrated, I vacuumed the main floor, did two loads of laundry, and made all the beds in the house. Doggo and I went on a walk. I went to Costco, and bought meals for the week.
I also did not write any more that day.
I received an email from No Kid Hungry to help out with a media campaign for their #PoweredByBreakfast campaign. Because these things usually sneak up on me, I spent about 20 minutes on CoSchedule setting up social shares for the campaign. I also set up additional posts for the blog tour I was currently involved with.
I worked on another post idea, and hated it. I started a different post, and the writing fared just as badly as the first. I stared at all the drafts on WordPress, frustrated. And then I opened a new browser, and lost an hour in the time suck that is Twitter.
I’m SO failing this challenge.
Vowing that I would not make the same mistake as the day before, I set a timer for 5 minutes in order to go onto Twitter and retweet any posts related to my last book review. A friend challenged me to share 5 books that I liked and to challenge another friend each day. Well, since I know I’d forget to do it later, I spent 10 minutes Co-Schedule setting up tweets for the next 5 days. Look at me, so efficient.
And then I fell into an internet wormhole. Researching one idea led to something else, which led to shopping on Jane.com, which led back to Twitter, and the rest of the afternoon is a blur. This deprivation thing is not working.
I’m really unhappy with myself.
So unhappy, in fact, that I grabbed my Kindle and finished a the book that I needed to read for a book review. And the ending tied me in knots and forced me to pre-order the next book in the series.
I guess I showed myself!
Today, I was taking control.
After writing my Morning Pages, I went into my Freedom app (what the heck is wrong with me that I didn’t set this for the whole damn week) and locked myself out of EVERYTHING except for WordPress for most of the day. I allowed myself 10 minutes on Twitter, because I’m stupid and I learn nothing from my own experiences, and then I was booted out.
I checked my emails, clicked on a link and read a blog post from Shaunta Grimes titled “How to Never Run Out Of Blogging Ideas“. It really made me think, and probably not in the way she intended.
I opened up a clean page in my notebook, and started to write. So far so good.
So, I screwed up the recurring feature on my Freedom app and somehow got on the internet, so I quickly went back to the app and re-set the recurring block to last until Easter Sunday, because I have realized how detrimental all this is to my focus.
I learned something! I wrote about it. And then I grabbed my Kindle to celebrate and lost the rest of the day in a book.
By and large, I stayed off of the internet completely. My son had a soccer match, and the weather was brutal – about 7 with the wind chill and a 20-30 mph wind. I came home, huddled over my space heater to thaw and tried to write. I spit a lot of crap onto the page and I tossed it at the end of the writing session. I made myself a cup of tea, crawled under an afghan blanket and, um, picked up my Kindle to read another ARC in my never ending supply of advanced reader copies.
I finished The House of Salt and Sorrows at 1:30 am. It was REALLY good – and sadly, it isn’t released until August, so you should just go pre-order it here and you’ll get a nice surprise when it is delivered and, if you’re like me, you forgot you pre-ordered it. (Did I mention how good it was?)
Crap. I am really, really bad at this deprivation thing. Thank goodness this is the last day.
To sum it up – I could use a little more (social media) deprivation
I have a lot of work to do with regards to sticking to a goal, and it’s impossible for me to stay away from reading, but I can see where my habits need to change.
I need to take a more serious break from social media, and I’m trying to determine how to do that without hurting the blog or the causes I support (like No Kid Hungry), or feeling SUPER isolated.
It was an interesting experiment – and this week alone really should motivate me to see my way through The Artist’s Way to the end, if for no other reason than I never, ever have to do this (give up books for a week) again.