How Social Media Has Affected My Writing

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A writer is someone who writes, not someone who thinks about writing. And all I ever seem to do these days is think about writing.

I have draft after draft of blog posts in my head, but none ever make it to this site. And while you might say that I could still be writing with pen and paper, that’s not really my style anymore. This is where I write, where I’ve preferred to write for the past (almost) 7 years.

Now I’m beginning to see how my preference for sharing online has potentially brought me to this writing block. How my growing preoccupation with entertainment, information, and perspective – the trifecta of riches I regularly find in social media – has ultimately become a trade-off for me. I fill my mind to the brim with other people’s thoughts, and am so numbed by the chatter that I cannot hear my own writer’s voice.

In addition to that numbness, I also find that social media offers an all-too-convenient exit hatch for the ideas that used to tease me at night and demand to be written out at great length. Instead, now I can plunk out my thoughts at a moment’s notice, and receive enough immediate feedback to bring my ideas from birth to resolution in a matter of moments. What used to be a glowing flame of thought becomes instead a flicker and a spark, extinguished before it can shed enough light to lead me to greater depths.

I’ve decided that in order to re-connect with my own desire to write, I need to go on a “communication diet,” of sorts. For starters, I will not begin my day at the computer. Too often, I am checking my email within 10 minutes of getting out of bed, which then leads to checking Facebook, news websites, and so on and so on. An hour or more goes by, and my head is already stuffed with chatter. My days will begin with movement and thought, before I sit down at the computer. And before I even open my email, I’ll consider if there is anything I would like to write, and if so, I will open one single, solitary tab as a funnel for those thoughts and words.

I also need to determine just how much is an appropriate amount of time for me to spend online without tipping the balance of mental inspiration/exhaustion. Doing so will also help me have something more to write about, since there’s no greater source material for writing than living (versus, you know, staring at a computer screen).

I’m curious to know:

If you consider yourself a writer, how has being involved in social media helped or hindered your writing? 

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