Social media killed my writing practice.
I’ve written and re-written that first sentence a hundred times. There are a thousand things I could say about why I stopped writing several months ago (hell, one could argue I stopped writing several years ago). But if we’re going to be honest here, that first sentence is as honest as it gets.
I stopped writing because it turned into a job. Because I felt obligated to entertain. Because I couldn’t come up with catchy titles. Because my life seemed too…normal. I stopped writing because every time I did write, I posted about it on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. And with those posts came the need to impress. If I’m going to post about this, I better make it good. Over time, I ran out of interesting things to say. Eventually, I replaced blog posts with mini-posts on Facebook. And then rants. And then stories on Instagram.
And now I can’t remember the last time I sat down to write just because I wanted to.
Honesty, I can’t remember.
As I’m writing this, I actually feel rusty and unfocused and scattered. I don’t feel capable. In addition, I feel impatient and lazy.
First, why bother writing blog posts when nobody reads blogs anymore? Also, it’s more work. Not only do I have to login to my website, but I also have to remember how to use the blog interface, and I have to resize photos, and I have to focus on layout. On social media, I don’t have to do any of those things. The social media interface deals with the sizing of my photos. The layout is predetermined. I just type and hit ‘post.’ And all of that is so convenient.
So why am I back here, writing a blog post, considering revitalizing my writing practice? To tell the truth, I don’t know if I’ll bring back my writing practice (at least not in this form). But I do find myself missing it, and I think it’s worthwhile to explore whether or not a return to the blogosphere is warranted. Also, I’m considering leaving social media altogether. I wonder if I would be more present in general without thoughts of likes and followers.
I left Twitter some time ago. I left Facebook at the start of 2018 (and haven’t looked back). All that’s left is Instagram.
A few days ago, it hit me. I spend too much time staring at my phone. My life is passing me by while I’m looking down. In the car, at work, at home, while watching tv, while talking with my boyfriend, while walking my dogs. Even when I’m barely doing it, I’m still doing it. And so I deleted the Instagram app from my phone. I didn’t delete the account, and I haven’t made any long term decisions. But I have committed to deleting the app from my phone and waiting it out for a week or two. When I break the Instagram habit, do I feel more present? When I break the Instagram habit, do I write more? When I break the Instagram habit, do I stop comparing myself with every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the internet?
I’m curious about all this, and I think it’s a worthwhile thing to explore.
And so, here I am. My first blog post in months. All social media deleted from my phone. Most social media deleted from my life. Making the conscious decision to be a little more conscious, a little more present. Playing around with how to make that happen. Showing up and writing and blogging even though it feels clunky and awkward and I haven’t done it in a while. Not knowing how to end this, so I’ll just say, tata for now.