Don’t use Facebook.
That’s a piece of advice that I’m trying to heed myself and, although it seems to be nothing more than an overly simplistic, and obvious, pro point, believe me when I say breaking the habit, to allow yourself to embrace your creative flow, is way easier said than done.
Nothing gets in the way of creativity more than procrastination and Facebook, nay, social media as a whole, is a key factor to one of my favourite hobbies. Severing the tie however isn’t easy; I’ve been taking small, baby steps by deleting the App off of both of my iPhone and iPad, but this hasn’t stopped me from occasionally jumping online by simply visiting the website.
Why the hate for social media, Facebook specifically?
It’s a den of destruction. To quote General Ackbar: “It’s a trap.”
Not only is it an absolute time suck of a black hole, it’s also the quickest, easiest way to destroy any sort of creative momentum you may currently find yourself in. You know, that creative zen you’ve been chasing for hours, days, or weeks (eliminate appropriately); all it takes to derail yourself is to log online and lose yourself within the timelines of people you only, truly, have a passing interest in; that, or you commit another cardinal sin: you compare.
Comparing your station in life, whether you are or are not where you want to be, is a depressing, pointless, exercise that Facebook/Twitter, and its ilk, do nothing but exacerbate any anxiety you may have, bubbling under your skin. Comparison is an almost instant creativity killer, like a headshot, complete with heartless double tap. To see others doing well, in a profession you want to call a career, can be heartbreaking; not only because you aren’t where you want to be, something THIER lives happily flaunt, but because you are also living a life of petty jealousy. You can’t be happy for these people, because you simmer underneath.
This unhealthy need to “Keep Up With The Joneses”, to be kept ‘in the loop’, is what Facebook has thrived on for years, and it’s pathetic for all involved. Sure, social media has some undeniable benefits: from spreading the word on worthy causes, to innocuous events such as a house warming, but the overall usage of Facebook doesn’t revolve, or even usually involve, cases like this. Instead it’s a mire, as you wade your way through the dense marshes of other people’s thoughts and feelings, condensed into a vaguebook-esque cry for help and/or attention.
I haven’t yet exorcised the habit of hitting up the website when I’m meant to be focusing on writing, but it’s something I’m working on. Deleting the Apps off of my nearby devices is the first step, but I’m aware that a little more reconditioning needs to occur. I’m sure there are a number out there that feel the same way, that want to break the unnecessary hold it can have over you. Most importantly, I want to be able to focus myself when I close myself away in my office to write. I don’t want to get lost within the endless newsfeed, I want to get lost within my own imagination, as I continue to put words to, proverbial, paper and continue crafting a story worth reading.
Yesterday I entered my office for the better part of five and a half to six hours; I wrote for about three and a half to four of those hours, working solely on my novel and finally pushing past the 40k mark that, once I reached that personal milestone, I allowed myself to coast upon, justifying all the procrastination with the lazy “Well, I just hit 40k” excuse. The rest was spent in an odd mixture of surfing the web (though, in fairness, I was doing research for what I was writing), listening to music and, as you may have guessed, cruising social media websites. There’s only so many times you can hit the refresh, before coming to the sad realisation that all you’re doing is doing some hardcore procrastinating.
Still, at least I was in the room, sitting down in front of the screen and the blank page, cursor forever blinking, and attempting to get my mind into that creative state. It’s taken me a while to truly learn the lesson that you can’t simply wait for inspiration; sure, I was aware of the obvious concept behind it, but living it and putting it into practice helped turn the words from an idea into a relatable reality; I’ve found simply getting myself into the room and sitting down to write an accomplishment in itself. If all you did was wait, that’s all you would ever do; the blank pages being your only reward, and what an empty award that would be.
Force yourself into your chair and stare at the screen. Do what you’ve got to do to enter that creative state, even if you just inhabit it and don’t commit a single word to paper that day. Just thinking about your project is an exercise in itself, as long as you commit yourself to it. Just like with exercise, man, if you cheat then the only person you’re cheating is yourself. Listen to music that can help get you get into the right frame of mind, listen to a Podcast (why not check out the Totally RanDumb Podcast #plug); hell, jerk off, if need be, just get yourself into that chair and hunker down.
This shit isn’t going to write itself, so get the fuck off Facebook.