I’m tired of feeling overwhelmed, underwhelmed, angry, disappointed, and like an emotional punching bag. The neverending fire hose of information that is the Internet, social media especially, is being used like a club to bludgeon the masses or as spectacular fireworks to distract us from the shitshow. I was hoping the levels would eventually normalize, but as we all can see that’s never going to happen. Instead it seems everything is getting amplified well past 11 creating an incredible wall of noise in our daily lives.
Roughly a month ago I decided to change the way information entered my life. No more waking up in the morning only to grab my phone off the nightstand and let the day’s insanity enter my eyeballs before my first sip of coffee. No more hours lost falling down a Twitter hole or thumbing past an endless parade of photos on Instagram. None of it was filling me back up. Social media, the news, and the conversations sparked from both sources were the equivalent of empty creative calories. I thought I was getting nourished, but my creativity was starving for real sustenance without the emotional spikes of unfiltered Internet consumption. I uninstalled my social media apps, minimized my exposure to news sites, and began reclaiming my time.
At first I was twitchy, reaching for my phone out of habit before remembering the apps were all gone. Then as the trained motions subsided I began to enjoy the quiet in my head. The harsh buzz of the info spikes diminished letting my normal mental sounds come back to the forefront. It was spectacular. My mornings were no longer dictated by outside forces. I had a chance to figure out how I actually felt upon waking. My subconscious processes were firing off creative sparks again, free from the grisly task of chewing through tweets and hot takes. I allowed myself to be bored once again. Bored like I used to be as a kid. The kind of boredom that led to playing with toys while building worlds for them to inhabit in my imagination. A writer’s favorite kind of boredom.
I started reading again. Listening to radio plays in the form of podcasts. When I watched movies it was for analysis and dissection to improve my storytelling skills not numbing myself to the forget the day’s events. I felt refreshed and open to creative forces. A huge change from the constant on edge feeling, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now I control what information I engage and how deeply I let it absorb. Reasserting myself, even in such a small manner, did wonders for my sanity. Self care through self control.
After reevaluating my relationship with social media I’m doing the same with my other internet presences. I’m putting the blog on hold for now. Since its reboot I’ve had a hard time figuring out the direction of my writing. Perhaps this isn’t the time in my life for a blog. I still itch to converse with the world, so I’m dipping my toes into TinyLetter as a low impact alternative. It’ll be more intimate than my blog, but just as sporadic. Free form thoughts, tales from the road (when I finally get back out there), and sharing of cool things I’ve come across. I’m trying to model it after Warren Ellis’ weekly newsletter (in form at least).
I’ve become protective of my newfound mental quiet. It’s so damn easy to slip back into the info binging mindset. I hope these little changes in my life can foster the creative output I’ve been sorely lacking for years. We’ll see.