Writing Residency: Day 1 - Social Media Detox

My writing area--yes, I have literally been here for 24 hours, though it looks as if I live here. I get comfortable very quickly ("comfortable" is actually a kind word for "messy")

Situation: 10-day writing residency

Where: Pacific Northwest about 40 minutes away from my house.
Why: To revise and work on manuscript that I must turn into Copper Canyon in June 2020


I am currently at a 10-day writing residency and have promised myself that for 7 of those days, I would completely stay off of social media and any website that connects me to the outside world (like the news).

Yesterday, I found myself scrolling Instagram for no reason, just habit. Just--oh, there's my phone, let me pick it up, open and app and scroll. No thought, just action.

Today I woke up and wanted to check Twitter. But I didn't.

I realize, I do feel a loss. My brain wants it trending stories. It wants to see who is saying what.

But there's this other gain, since I have NOTHING to check, I have so much time. Today I thought--what do I need to do? Write a poem? Revise a poem? Organize my work? Submit? Write letters to friends? Go back to bed?

I realize how much of my time ends up on social media, even if I'm not there all day, I realize how much I pick up my phone to check, I don't keep notifications on, so I open the app several times a day--that adds up.

I guess I didn't notice until I'm sitting her after being up for 5 minutes saying, "Okay, what do I do now?" 

So when I decided, "I'll write a blog to gather my thoughts." I realize my last blog post is from June. When I have Twitter or Facebook, what I would have normally (well, in the days pre-social media 2001-2009ish) I would have written in a blog or a journal. But I had nothing to blog, all my stories and thoughts went out as soundbites on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook.

I remember hearing Terrance Hayes say he's not on Twitter because he was concerned he'd tweet out great lines for a poem instead of using them *in* a poem.

Now that I have no place to do that, a blog feels like a good way to document the time (and the weird thing is, whether anyone reads this or not). I realize how much of my writing is me just wanting to get thoughts out of my head, on paper, so I can look at them, size them up.

But I do miss Twitter.

Oh and I had one social media dream--I dreamed Ronda (the poet/photographer) I'm staying with and I were in a huge earthquake and we thought--let's go onto Facebook to make ourself "safe."

I'm not sure what that says, I've never had a social media dream before, but have dreamed of people I only know through social media, which is another story...

So the first day rundown:

: Short day--Arrived in the afternoon and settled in, unpacked food and clothing. Didn't bring a ton of clothes, but brought a ton of books-- I should count them. (wrote one poem in the evening Martha Silano, who is staying here with me. Organized ALL my stuff--baskets of writing exercises, bins of papers I bought, notebooks, etc. Finished up Two Sylvias work that still needed to be done. And cleaned my inbox of emails.

Saturday: First full-day. Woke at 5. Wrote a poem. I didn't sleep well, as I somehow turned my nap into a temperature of hell. Way too hot. Tried to nap(s) all day, succeed at 4-5 pm. Did a 40 minute guided meditation (well, two 20-minute ones together) in the morning. Wrote and revised,  Submitted to one journal. Began organizing my submission spreadsheet which is a mess. 1 phone call (talked and walked for 50 minutes), 1 in-person 5-minute visit from husband who drove here (not *too* far from where I live) to bring the several things I forgot (last year, I forgot *my suitcase*--yes, this is how I roll--without essentials apparently). I wrote several texts, found myself scrolling instagram, peeked on Twitter, told myself my "settling in time" is over last night and you are now officially offline, baby.

Poems written: 5

* * *

Facebook: Deactivated and I don't miss it.
Twitter: Not deactivated, but I haven't checked it and do miss it.
Instagram: Don't miss it, but again, yesterday weirdly found myself scrolling through it. Am taking the app off my phone.
Snapchat: *Never* use it, only check it rarely to see what young, hip family members are up to (answer not much) --however, because I *wasn't* on social media I decided to check it. Found photo filters and this happened--

Half of me online, half of me here.
Snapchat is now deleted from my phone. (Though it's funny I checked as I never do, but I think that was the loss I was feeling--now that I have this extra time, what can I do??? --Apparently, my first answer was: Waste it! Which is now being taken care of by app deletion. I have no willpower.)

Email: The other funny thing is I checked email this morning and not ONE email. So for the first time, in a long time, I just got to work!


Also, I think I have my blog set up that this post will end up on Twitter (HI FRIENDS!!!) and maybe in some of your email boxes if you're subscribed. Hey you. I'm here and I miss you. But doing okay, better than okay...and productive.

Love from the haunted cabin,

~ Kells
 www.agodon.com www.twosylviaspress.com


  1. You made me laugh. I am very impressed you were able to delete the apps. That took courage. I left FB in 2018 and never looked back (though cousins are still mad at me). I'm a new follower so keep on keeping on!


Post a Comment

Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.