Deborah Siegel gives up the green juice and kicks off a social media cleanse.
It’s a myth that a writer’s cave is dark, quiet, and Internet free. When writers are doing research, for instance, we often find ourselves productively toggling between Internet and Word doc. But most times, let's face it: when we sit down to do our WRITING and instead find ourselves BROWSING, the Intertube is just one big suck.
This week, as I’ve been clearing decks, I’ve been reading about the consequences of technology overload, which has prompted me to inaugurate the Social Media Cleanse Challenge—a 7-day experiment in being more mindful about my social media usage. The goal? Create more white space here in the cave.
Everyone and their sister seem to have a Challenge going on right about now. I’m inspired by Sharon Salzberg's 28-Day Meditation Challenge, and by Kris Karr’s 21-Day Crazy Sexy Adventure Cleanse (which I actually tried; I made it to Day 3, drinking only green juice, as pictured above, til noon; then I caved). I’m inspired by thinkers like Gwen Bell (www.gwenbell.com), who looks for the humanity in technology, and by Jeff Vandermeer, author of Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer, who encourages creative types to adopt a balanced technology diet.
But I really, really hate diets. I hate most of all how it's usually women who are going on diets. Yet it’s an apt word through which to assess our social media consumption. Sometimes social media is Fluffernut, other times it’s protein or Vitamin C. It’s up to us to know the difference. How rarely do we stop to think about it, or contemplate what’s at stake.
What’s at stake, writers? Why, your WRITING. Your CREATIVITY. And that most precious of all commodity, your TIME.
“Balance,” writes Vandermeer, is about “working smarter and more imaginatively for greater creative satisfaction and gain….By simply responding to information that comes to you from conduits, you feel you’re closer to achieving goals. But there’s the nagging sense behind it all that instead all you’re doing is treading water. The goal’s still on the horizon, and you’re expending a lot of useless energy.”
Stop treading water and take this Challenge with me. A quick caveat: I’m hardly one for abstinence, so any “challenge” I design is going to be gentle and filled with compassion (and probably chocolate). Sound like your cup of tea?
Then let’s go. It’s pretty simple.
Just 7 rules. The Challenge will begin on Monday (any Monday, but it you’re reading this now, then Monday February 7, 2011).
Over the next 7 days (beginning Monday):
If you’d like to commit to this Challenge with me, “sign” the pledge by simply commenting on this post (just saying “count me in” in a comment counts). There’s something to committing in public. We can hold each other accountable. I’m not going to create a group on the site where we can talk about how we’re doing, because, well, that might be antithetical, for some folks, to the Challenge. But please do feel free to check in here at this post to record your progress, see how others are doing, and shout out some support!
As ever, if you know others you think could benefit, please spread word. Here’s a tweet:
Take the 7-day Social Media Cleanse Challenge w/ @deborahgirlwpen @shewritesdotcom. Intentionality can set you free. bit.ly/eMqJ0J
Feel free to replace my Twitter handle above with your own.
Don’t forget: we start on Monday. Have a good weekend, ya’ll! (Go Bears? Er, oops.)