Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Recharge your writing by not writing?!

Social media, writing and email have been on my mind a lot lately, precisely because I've had to step away from all of it for several weeks. Focusing on my health and an upcoming move as well as taking a break from computer work as much as possible has been both a blessing and a stress.

But on the flip side... I don't like to be disconnected. Perhaps this is a habit born of growing up in the digital age. I love gadgets, I love exploring the latest programs, I love my smart phone. I'm nearing a thousand friends on Facebook, and with around 2000 (I lost count) followers on Twitter, you might say I'm well connected online. Some of these people are dear friends I've either known for years online or in real life. Some of them--members from my Indelibles and Pacific Northwest Writers groups--will hit the road with me up to Canada to attend a book fair this month. I can't wait to meet them!

But on the flip side... Often we say that the online world isn't real, that we should unplug more. There is something to that. Social networking has the potential to suck all the free time out of your life. It can keep you locked inside your house or office when you could be out experiencing life and seeing the sights that your friends are posting on Pinterest and Facebook.

But on the flip side... Without social networking, our knowledge base shrinks, we lose the connections to people who can offer us amazing friendship, guidance, encouragement, and joy. More importantly, we lose the opportunity to offer the same to the people in our online circles. Social networking is a conversation, a give and take. Through social networking, I've learned new information to ease my health troubles, gained publishing and marketing knowledge I wouldn't have had otherwise, and have been blessed with lifelong friends I hope never to lose. All of this is priceless to me. Do I wish for bygone, quieter days, when networking was simply picking up a rotary phone to call a friend who lives down the street? No, not at all. I can still do that, but now I can communicate with the world. And I do. I have friends, dear friends, from around the world that I talk to on a daily basis. I adore this instant connection.

But on the flip side... I could go on but you see what I'm doing here. I'm illustrating a problem many of us have. Finding that perfect balance and deciding what works best for us, our families, and our friends. Yes, I go back and forth on this, but I've learned one thing in my epic struggle for time management: listen to my body more. All of this--the writing, the networking, the housecleaning, the family squabbles--takes a toll mentally, physically, emotionally. If any one of these is far out of balance, it can cause anxiety, stress, and eventually affect our health.

Stepping away...

I think it is good to take time away from any task or activity if it is causing stress to your mind or body. Time away helps to recharge and revitalize health, mood, and creativity. I saw a news story recently that mentioned hiking can boost creativity. I believe it. Getting away from it all and getting back in touch with the natural world calms our hearts and reminds us to live in the now. This can help us to focus more when we go back to our computers and social networking.

Soon I'll be back to my own networking and writing. I'm looking forward to it. But this much needed break has done wonders for me. I'm so glad I took the time. =)

How do you manage your time? 

Have you ever unplugged for an extended period of time? Did you survive? *grin*

Cheri Lasota writes young adult fiction and is currently writing her second novel, Echoes in the Glass. Her first YA, Artemis Rising, is a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and is available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo (free right now for a limited time!) and iBooks.


  1. Inspirational!
    Thanks for sharing, Cheri.

  2. If I unplugged for an extended period of time I fear I'd start twitching. LOL! Seriously though, I have, but usually only when on vacation far from home. It does work to help me recharge and I highly recommend it at least once a year.

  3. Vacations I definitely unplug. I'm okay as long as I have a book to read! And of course forced unplugs during prolonged power outages - those are harder b/c I'm here at home.

  4. I might add that even within my family, more and more, laptops show up at family events - and just like a teen texting, I think it's rude to spend time checking email when you're with family you only see once or twice a year and I refuse to be like that!

  5. I have a really hard time unplugging. I can usually pull away from the computer/phone on vacation, but even then, only for a few days. And sometimes I wonder what I think I'm missing? Probably nothing. But social media (esp. email) has become a habit for me, and habits are a hard thing to break.
    I do find though that I can often recharge my writing juices by giving myself permission not to write and reading someone else's books.

  6. It's hard to unplug. Even on vacation I keep checking my phone, but, like Laura mentioned, I think it's rude and try to contain myself LOL
    I would really love to have a better control. I would love to spend all day away from the internet so I could really focus on writing. Because knowing the internet is right here calls to me and it's hard to resist!! hehe

  7. Usually unplugging for me isn't even a choice. Things just get away from me so much that I have to concentrate on putting out the fires, and everything else gets ignored.

  8. I think a break at some point is exremely necessary, otherwise it will ehhaust your enrgy in the same way just like - excuse me - regualar sessions of lovemaking.