A Week Without Social Media

How does a week of no internet affect my writing?

Day One

Post a message on Instagram to let everyone know I will be away for a week, though I don’t bother with my other social media platforms. I’m not so popular on any of them.

On the way to the holiday cottage, I have a sudden thought that I might have forgotten my phone. It’s a thought that happens fairly regularly, but this time it’s unaccompanied by the usual panic. I don’t bother to check. It doesn’t really matter if I have it or not. There’s no internet or even phone signal at the cottage. So I just lean back and go to sleep. It’s oddly freeing.

Day Two

I’ve already read two books and written a review for another. I’ve also had a nap, watched a film, had a walk by the sea and cooked a nice dinner. Not missing social media yet.

Day Three

My new book isn’t quite so gripping as the last two, plus I’ve taken some good bookstagram pictures, so I wouldn’t object to a few minutes on social media. I’ve also submitted a few short stories lately and want to see if there’s been a response to either of them, though it’s probably too soon really. Nevertheless, I can’t resist quickly checking my messages in a nearby coffee shop. But there’s nothing of much interest. Although, curiously, I’ve had an influx of blog followers, even though I haven’t posted in quite some time now. Examine my stats, but am unable to find a reason. Still, it’s good to know people are still reading my blog even though I’m not promoting it.

Finish book number three and write a blog post and part of my next newsletter.

Day Four

Have written three more blog posts. Feeling really good about getting ahead. Normally I would also make some visuals to promote them on social media, but for that I require internet. So that’s slightly frustrating, until I remember that I can just use my own photos or simply some text. Have some fun doing that. My phone now needs charging. First time in two days. Finish book four and write a review.

Day Five

Feel like I really ought not to start a new book yet as have so far written a good many blog posts but absolutely no new chapters for my WIP. So I must do that today. Not this morning though, as I didn’t wake up until 10:45. It is now 11:30, I’m still in bed and we are going out for lunch. I believe we are planning to take a walk afterwards, but when we get back I will settle in front of the fire with a warming drink and possibly a slice of cake and write my book. I do like holidays.

Finished book five. Didn’t do anything to my WIP. Whoops. I did write a short story to feature in my next newsletter though.

Day Six

Got up a bit earlier today. Hubby is getting restless and wants to actually wants to do something today. Outside. So we have decided to visit an aquarium. Which sounds like great fun and perhaps could even inspire a story. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. Not sure what that means for working on my WIP.

Never made it to the aquarium, it was closed. So we looked around Duff House instead. A stately mansion and art gallery that made me feel very uncultured. A tour guide pounced on us in one room and asked if we’d spotted the painting that was worth more than the house. I said not yet to point out that we’d only been on the room about thirty seconds. Then felt incumbent on me to guess, which I did without success. She pointed us towards an original El Greco painting of St Jerome. Apparently it’s worth around ten million pounds. Sadly it merely confirmed my conviction that I have no real soul for art. Although there was a Picasso which I enjoyed- Soles I think it was called- and a Lavery, which was my favourite.

There’s something peculiarly exhausting about looking round old houses. When we get back to the cottage I take a gin and tonic to bed and prepare to work on my WIP. Only to find that the full manuscript is not downloaded from the cloud and I can’t do that with no internet. (According to the file I haven’t opened it since the beginning of July, which shocks me. But then, I have moved house and released another book since then.) And I can’t quite remember where I’d got to. But I write a scene anyway and hope it fits.

Day Seven

Finish book six. Then go to a coffee shop with wifi just so I can download manuscript. iPad has been disconnected from the internet for so long that it’s agonisingly slow. But we get there in the end.

Have had slightly panicked text message from sister asking if we are ok. I’m sure I told her we would have no internet this week but seems she didn’t expect us to drop so completely off the grid. Interesting aspect of modern life that if you’re not posting on social media then you could be dead.

Do quite a lot of work to my WIP before dinner. Finally get past the wedding, which means I’m about a third of the way through. Slightly worried that the whole thing is really boring. But I always get that feeling.

Day Eight

Finished book seven late last night, then didn’t get off to sleep very well. Maybe it was the seafood for dinner. Hubby chooses this morning to wake up really early. Resolved not to read another book today but concentrate on my writing and get an early night, which I actually stick too.

It’s back to normal tomorrow. I’m looking forward to having the internet again, looking forward to sharing what I’ve been up to this week. On the other hand, it’s good to know that I can quite easily go for a week without social media. I’m not dependent on it. I don’t need the likes and comments to tell me how interesting I am. Has it boosted my productivity though?

Well, I’ve certainly read more. But then, why is lounging on the sofa with a book considered better than scrolling through Instagram or Twitter? Social media teaches me just as much about other people and places and social issues as reading does, perhaps more. I’ve found that if I don’t stay up late reading articles on Facebook I’ll stay up even later reading a book. Part of that has been knowing I don’t have to get up in the morning, but it’s mostly that a book is more gripping to me than social media can ever be. And that forces me to the conclusion that social media isn’t limiting my productivity.

On social media I quite quickly run out of things to do. So actually, if I want to write more, then I need to read a bit less. It’s not the conclusion I thought I’d come to at the beginning of the week. I thought I’d get so much writing done without the big distraction of the internet. And I have done a lot. But I think that’s more due to having so much extra time. The time I would have spent on the internet I’ve not spent writing. I’ve read and watched TV and gone for walks on the beach. Social media isn’t limiting my productivity, I am. I need to be stricter with myself, to get on and do it. Write when I don’t feel like it. So this experiment was definitely worth it, if only for that little bit of self knowledge.

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