In the Shadows of Mount Doom: Month One Without Social Media

Actually, the title is quite tongue-in-cheek. It’s true I have been off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram since January 2nd, but I really sort of like it.


Sometimes habits creep up on you on little cat feet. You don’t realize you’re snacking on potato chips every day or that you click ballpoint pens compulsively or that you tailgate or that you spend all your free time on social media. That’s pretty much where I was. Because I had cultivated such a close-knit group of writer friends, I justified this overindulgence by rationalizing that I was spending time with educated, talented people and that it was inspirational.

This is true. It, however, does not negate the fact that because I was so engrossed in social media I was losing any writing time I might have. I also was opting for quantity time over quality time with my husband, as if being in the same room and staring at separate screens counted as being together. My to-do list was getting longer and I just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have the time to complete anything.

So I went cold turkey, kaput, in an effort to get my habit under control. I knew if I just tried to cut down, I would eventually just slowly slide back into my old habit. So I took a break. It’s not forever, just a realigning of priorities.

I wish I could say I missed it. I miss my friends, my nerdy fellow writers who understand what it’s like to obsess at 1 a.m. about a sticky plot point. But instead of just checking in, I spent a great deal of time scrolling through my feed, looking for new articles or statuses or thoughts. The act of scrolling is very compulsive and you can just go on and on and on. You may say to yourself: I should turn off my screen and go do something important, but you’re like as not to end up there an hour later. It’s just like casual television watching: all calories, no nutrition.

So here’s just a few of the things I’ve been doing, as I pass through the Wilderness of No Social Media:

Writing: I have taken a very sharp red pencil and stabbed the heck out of my manuscript. I’ve plotted and planned and researched and head-scratched. What started out as a crazy jumble of 27k words in NaNoWriMo 2011 has evolved into a fairly lean and well-plotted historical murder mystery novel of right at 50k. I believe I am less than a dozen scenes away from completion and that is VERY exciting. Once complete, then it’s back to the drawing board to confirm that all the plot lines are threaded and the writing is taut and the herrings are red. And then…and then, my friends, to the editor! *gasp* Yes, even I, Editatrix, know that I cannot edit my own work beyond making it a highly buffed and solid first draft.

Nesting: I have been busy making my house pretty. We have hanged all the artwork and put up some curtains and generally prettified and sorted and tossed. While I would need a serious influx of money to get the house where I would like it to be, we certainly have done a lot with a little. We now have wedding pictures up and my library is starting to come together. Pictures to come.

Kissing: my sweet hubby. Nuff said.

Dreaming: This is something that falls by the wayside when I get busy. Lots of staring off into the middle distance and letting tendrils of my imagination trail off into the vast reaches of improbability.

Healing: Many of you are aware I was in a car accident in December and getting better is a full-time job, between physical therapy, doctor’s visits and other treatments.

Watching: This was actually a secret fear of mine, that I would break one habit only to succumb to another. I’ve been pretty good overall, though I confess to glutting myself on Sherlock and VEEP (my favorite sardonic political comedy). A few days ago, I re-watched my beloved Anne of Green Gables miniseries, which has only burnished beautifully with age. Even after all these years, its gentle loveliness still has the power to bring me to tears.


Plotting: Surely ye did not think I would rest on my laurels. You’ll just have to wait and find out what the DFQ has up her voluminous sleeves.

I expect Minions to weigh in below – it has been too long!

With all faery affection,