Blogging In

I remember when I was younger and would suddenly realize that I hadn't touched base with several friends in months. Of course, back then I would get out note cards or my telephone book and would spend one evening either writing out cards or speaking with them on the phone. But today it's not that simple.  Today, along with just your personal correspondence there are blogs and social websites and organizations that all require attention, writing, and upkeep.

And, of course, there are the smartphones. I have multiple e-mails, websites, and social media apps all connected directly to my phone, which of course is with me 24-7. There are so many days my intention is to log to check e-mail. Then, since I'm already online, I check Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and several other websites, just to make sure I'm not missing anything important. Before I realize how much time has passed it's suddenly one or two in the afternoon and I'm ready for a break.

I think that all of this social media is necessary in the world we live in today. I've come to correspond  with so many other writers who have supported, encouraged and  strengthened me by sharing their experiences that I would never have met without the use of social media. It makes the singularity of a life as a writer seem far less solitary. And I have learned a lot about being a writer and the process involved in working on a manuscript, finding an agent, finding a publisher, and finally reaching launch day. I really think I would be at a loss without this extended writer's community.

But, how do we tear ourselves away to actually do the writing? Yesterday, I decided my blog needed to be  “freshened up” which I thought would take about half an hour. But I soon came to discover that templates I had used in the past were being retired and that once I tried on a new template I couldn't go back to my old one. So my refresher for my blog turned into something very similar to shopping for the perfect party dress. I tried on every scheme, color, configuration and added my own customizations but after four hours was still not happy with what I saw. So I started the whole process from the beginning.

Again, it seems to become a necessary effort though seemingly a huge time waste. We need the blogs to make an appearance, we need social media to network, we need to stay in touch with the community to make the connections. And I'm not sure if it's still the type of time waste that I used in the past to procrastinate. These things included: cleaning out my typewriter, washing dishes, organizing books, doodling and finally giving up and just going to read someone else's book.

But I'm beginning to see all these things as part of the process. As part of the movement toward creating something out of electrons sparking in our brain which become poetic phrases buried into our prose and poetry. And I'd like to think that someday I'll really get organized. I'll set up a chart for each day of the week. I'll choose which days to work which projects. I'll choose other days to work on e-mails and letters. I even fantasized that I'll have all of this organized in some sort of calendar with alerts that I will actually follow when the beeper goes off on my phone. But I'm finding it's the follow through to the notes and the organization that gets a little sticky.

I find this phenomenon present even when I'm working on projects that I'm really excited about. You know, those stories that just seem to come together and the poems that seemingly fall out of the air and onto the paper. But even they don't seem to hold onto my attention very long when I see that little number one, two, or three box pop up on the Facebook or email app on my phone.  I must have the instant gratification of seeing who said what about what.

Today I'm going to stay focused. I've organized the chapters that need my attention. I've opened the document on my computer.  I've even even pulled out my hand-written margin notes for the rewrite of certain sections. Oh, but, wait. The little number just popped up on my phone. I bet it's something funny, informative or just plain important that I must read. I bet it will help me finish this chapter. It'll only take a minute or two. Could use a little break anyway. All that organizing kind of made me thirsty and a little hungry. I'll just stop for a minute. And then it's back to the writing.