I read this article recently in our Melbourne newspaper The Age, titled Generation Overstimulation? Generation Y’s addiction to being busy.
It’s not just Gen Y that’s feeling overstimulated, I can tell you! Who else feels like they’re slipping behind, juggling work, family, friends, hobbies, sports, pets? These days of course, it’s not only finding time for all of these, it’s keeping up with the relentless drive of electronic stimulation, if you’ve let it slip into your life (and it does creep in, inserting itself into your life even if you’re a Luddite).
Until mid last year I only used Facebook to keep in touch with family and a few friends, plus I had email and a cheap smartphone. That was about it, and it was enough.
Then self-publishing my YA novel took my social media use up to a whole new level… Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Linked In, this website on which I blog weekly, plus having the apps on my phone so they are (unfortunately) even easier to access. But, these days, when you’re publicising your own book (no easy task), social media is really the cheapest and quickest way to get your name out to the world.
Now it’s a daily check-in with all of the above, plus trying to follow other people’s blogs, let alone keeping up with the daily news (online of course!). And there’s the statistics for all of them, which I try not to take much notice of, and the multiple accounts for things like Amazon & Kindle, Goodreads, Scrivener, Thorpe-Bowker (the Australian ISBN company), and various other sites like Freshly Squeezed Reads.
By the time I’ve checked on these things before or after my full-time job, and tried to read a blog or two, other things take over (you know, little things like feeding the animals and the humans, doing housework, talking to family or neighbours, trying to watch some TV – oh, did I forget trying to catch up with my long-suffering husband?) and no writing has been done. And I don’t even have children to care for!
It does become a merry-go-round of overstimulating screen time, which can take over from your real-life time if you allow it to.
I am attempting to keep it under control by allocating a small amount of time for social media, and a larger amount for writing itself. However, the mind often takes over if a good conversation is struck up via Twitter (yes, this is possible!) or I respond to comments on the blog, or comment on other’s blogs… Which can of course be construed as marketing my name as an author – so I tell myself when that little worm of guilt starts to wriggle 😉
In the end it comes down to exercising some judicious self-control (ha! like not eating the rest of that block of chocolate) and balancing things out. Sometimes you need to just drop everything and chill out with something less… stimulating.
Just know that if I’m not visible on social media, I’m certainly not ignoring you, but hopefully writing, reading or just having a life 🙂
So how do you keep a balance (or try to)?