During the summer, when I had too much free time on my hands, it seemed simple enough to keep up a weekly blog. However, I severely underestimated the amount of time it would take to do so when I returned to my full-time teaching job, took on additional hours in the writing lab, and maintained everyday life activities such as cleaning, hanging out with friends and family, and, you know, sleeping like a normal human being.
Yet even though I already struggled with keeping up my blogging, I decided to take on National Novel Writing Month like a super reasonable person.
And let me tell you: if I seriously thought I was going to get 50,000 words when I spend so much time doing other things, I’m more of a fool than I ever thought myself to be.
I failed. I failed big time.
However, the experience was not without its good returns.
I now have a little under 10,000 words on the books, many further ideas to develop the novel under construction, and a healthy understanding of my own shortcomings.
I have always known that I am a terrible procrastinator, but November brought me to the realization (one that I have been coming to accept for a while, actually) that I spend WAY too much time on Facebook.
The first thing I do when I wake up is reach for my phone to get on Facebook.
Throughout my day, I find myself opening up Safari to log in and check my notifications.
I scroll through my newsfeed, sometimes for literally hours, reading both funny and horrible things.
And not only does this habit of mine take away from writing time or really any other more productive activity, it affects my mood and my thoughts.
There is SO MUCH negativity; it’s only in the last year with this election season that I have really come to understand this.
People I have always seen as good and nice have revealed the ugliest side of themselves. They bash others for not thinking the way they do. They regularly purge their friends list, as if a relationship with another human being is something to be ended with just the click of a button.
I understand that sometimes on Facebook, we are friends with mere acquaintances, so it seems easy enough to unfriend them, but there had to be a reason you accepted that person in the first place. And perhaps, though you disagree with them, you can find value in those differences. I know the people I have learned from the most are those who hold vastly different beliefs than I do.
But yes, I spend hours watching all of this play out on a little screen in front of me. I refresh my newsfeed time and time again. I get drawn into the dreaded comments section on posts, and I am horrified and fascinated by the ugliness inside people’s hearts.
Then I start to feel that ugliness take root in my own heart, too. I start to think negatively of other people and other situations.
No amount of funny or cute cat videos, delightfully sarcastic memes, or even helpful book recommendations or writing posts can cancel out the negative effect those other posts have on me.
So that has led me to the decision that I need to stay off Facebook.
I have to be realistic, though, because I DO keep up with friends and family on Facebook who live far away, and I do have my author page and blog to consider.
I compromised between my realization and my reality: For the month of December at the very least, I will only get on Facebook once a day, toward the end of the day, to keep up with my friends and family and to post on my author page on Fridays about my blog posts.
Because now that I won’t be spending so much time glued to my phone on Facebook, I will be spending more time writing, both my novel and those blog entries.
Because even though I technically failed NaNoWriMo this year, I also won. I won back my passion for the PURSUIT of my writing. I won back my desire for the presence of happy, positive, and uplifting things.
I know I have said this before, but thank you so much for your patience with me these last few months. It is my hope that you continue on this writing journey with me, even when I lag behind like I have, though I hope not to do that too often!
Stay tuned for my post next week, in which I will discuss my current novel and things I have read, watched, and listened to the last month and a half to inspire that novel and my writing in general.
Happy December, everyone!