^^^^^ Hey, anyone know where we can get one of these? ^^^^^^^
(Quick answer: disconnect the wi-fi 😉 )
I've been thinking about how to use my time more wisely as a poet, writer, and artist in the world.
Distraction has always been the enemy of writers (note: I will do a post on the positives/pros of distraction, because you can use it for material very easily!)
As writer and human, our most important possession is time. It's the one thing that *guaranteed,* we have less of every day.
I know time feels like a bottomless margarita, and we're all dizzy with the belief of this endless cup and the refill, this ongoing buffet where there's always coconut shrimp and the frozen yogurt machine never runs out. But yeah, nobody is adding more minutes to our pockets. Friends, this isn't a dress rehearsal.
And what makes it hard, is our world is made up of things that want to steal our time for their benefit. And maybe "steal" isn't the right word, maybe we *give* or *accidentally handover* our time to things that don't want the best for us, but for them.
Our time as writers is so important. If we don't have it, we don't write.
I've always taken issue when someone says, "I don't have time to write," because what I hear is, "I have not made time for my writing." Listen, if you're reading this, if you have watched a TV show in the last week, gone onto any social media site, stayed up for fifteen minutes longer than you should, you have time to write.
Your life happening right now, and you can make choices to use your time for writing. Even if it's only 15 minutes. I have written poems in 15 minutes. Blog posts.
The internet can be a downfall to writers. I'm going to write about Facebook below, but there are various other timesinks that may be in your life.
(Note: If you don't want to read about the pros & cons of Facebook because you probably already know them, skip down to the ********* ___________________ and we'll get back into poetry and living a creative life).
My Concerns with Facebook & Sites that We Created To Keep You There--
For example, Facebook wants me to show up every day because it wants more users and users that interact on its site--the more users, the more money they can get in advertising, and the more users the more others will show up to be part of the group, a circle of revenue... The news and the media is like this too, they want you to click on a link, each click is money in their pockets.
But Facebook can steal a lot of time that I could be using for reading or writing (or even working.)
So here are the pros and cons of Facebook:
- My friends and community are there (yay, I can connect without leaving the house!)
- See what others are doing (Fun to see where people have been published and photos of kids & pets)
- Share want I'm doing (sharing publication is fun, but also I know when I post, I have a project I need to keep up as I like to "Like" people's comments and respond to them).
- Sometimes see funny/cute things (like otters, and I love otters and golden retriever puppies)
- Learn what is on others' minds or something I've missed or is important to someone (I like to be aware of what I am missing in my bubble)
- Feel less alone
- Get immediate feedback on a question, ask advice, or interact with friends online
- Time suck, I can go in and then it's 45 minutes later
- I don't control what you see (some people post terribly graphic images to prove a point, and some of us who are more sensitive, may carry that image with them the rest of the day)
- Facebook was created to make you stay there--the notifications are red for a reason, to get your attention, to show importance, to make give you a dopamine hit with each like, with each validation.
- If you compare your life to others, that can make you unhappy or feel "less than."
- "The worst thing that happened to me today" post (this is something new I've noticed where people post the worst thing that has happened to them during the day then we microfocus on it) Yes, a cashier or other stranger annoyed you, yes, that sucks, now move on.
- If I wasn't reading Facebook, what else could I be doing with my time that is more useful?
Facebook is one example, but there are many others-- too much news or having to read every news article when you wake up, screwing around on Pinterest, hooked on Twitter, binge-watching a not-so-great show, video games (I was coming home from work one year and playing Splatoon daily --and weirdly, there's a part of me that misses that).
I have always said--everything in moderation, even moderation.
So when I look at my life when I am feeling my best and doing my best, and while I may be engaging in some "not so productive things" and I am not drowning in them.
My best morning is goes like this:
Wake up, get coffee
Look outside for a few minutes, check in with the sky and birds
Sit on couch with book of poems and read a few poems with coffee
Pull out my manuscript in progress (printed on paper) and read through it, editing and making notes (note: if I wasn't working on a manuscript, this would read: write poems)
Open Bullet Journal (aka my life/to do list) and see what needs to be done
For me, when I'm in not feeling rushed or behind or overwhelmed or spending a lot of time online, I find I read more, write more, create more, find more space for walks, and am kinder.
When I'm at my very best, I may say, "Wow, I actually have space to do whatever I want to do right now--what is that?"
Sometimes I need a list to clear out my head or to read down and say, "Yep, for the next hour, I'm going to dig into my "In Process" file and find poems to revise.
Or sometimes I just decide to read. Or nap. (Note: these are obviously on days I'm not working, though I have napped on a lunch break at work...) But even coming home from work, I've decided to keep the laptop closed. Not to reach to see "what am I missing?" in the world, which is how sometimes the internet feels to me.
So instead of looking into this magical mirror world of who's having a birthday and what's trending and what's going on here, here, and here, I read our local paper, I play a game of Scrabble, cribbage, or Boggle. I look out the window and say, "Hey world in front of me, what's new with you? Any new birds migrating in or out? Anything blooming or growing?" This may sound terrible boring or dull, but it helps my mind be more present and also allows me to recenter then focus on what I love which is--poetry, family, friends, the environment, the universe, and books.
And know, I am not a saint or perfect at this by any means (I checked Twitter 2x while writing this post and currently, my cellphone is dinging like mad from a group text.).
But maybe this is why I like to write about it to remind myself the importance of choosing how I use my time, reminding myself how much better I feel when I am writing and living creatively...
Thanks for reading.
May you keep the time you need for your art as well.
~ Kells ________________ www.agodon.com www.twosylviaspress.com