How Social Media Affected My Creative Process

I like to think I am a great person waiting to happen, and the delay is of my own doing. I initially thought I was just lazy, I have come to realize that I wasn’t because I was never idle, in fact, I was always doing something. The problem lies in ill priorities. I was in a rut because I have been very irresponsible and undisciplined in the way I manage my time. I have chosen rather unwisely to waste my time on social media. Facebook has a hold on me like a cute boy who is bad for me.

I stopped writing stories years ago because I lost the obsession. You know that feeling when you wouldn’t eat or sleep because you just needed to write one sentence, one more paragraph, one more page, and before you knew it the roosters are singing. I have lost that ability; to be in the zone that nobody, not even hunger or the need to take a leak could break. My creative juice was overflowing that I couldn’t keep up. Never mind my fingers were callused from constantly hitting the good ol’ typewriter. I was passionate and driven, and I wrote so many crappy stories that in my young mind were great and should be made into movies. I miss that feeling.

In the years that I stopped writing stories, there is always something in the back of my head telling me to go back. It’s my destiny to become a storyteller. I didn’t dream about becoming a blogger or a technical writer, what I wanted was to write a novel, poetry, and short stories. Then 3 boys came to me asking to write them a story. They would turn it into a game they say. I was doubtful, could I really write a genre I know nothing about? But the biggest source of hesitation really is if I’m capable to create a story again. Could I really do that?

So I accepted the offer but after a year of writing the story on again and off again, I realized that I have lost the obsession. I’m no longer this person who doesn’t want to sleep because she wants to write, the one who would break her back writing until the wee hours, the one who would forget to take her meals because she was busy forming a scene, and the one who was basically uncommunicative because she’s living in a different world, the one she created herself. I have lost that Marjorie, instead, I have become this person who is busy with mundane things. I was afraid that I have lost the capability to weave tales because before anything else I am a poet and a storyteller. This is my claim to being an artist. If I don’t have this capability then what am I?

One day I was chatting with my friends and I offered to meet for coffee; my treat. It’s supposed to be my long-time-coming-I-got-a-new-job treat to them. None of them could make it and I took offense. In my head I was like, You kept asking me, and now that I’m able you’re not available?  So I was like, screw this and out of impulse hit the leave conversation button. The chatroom that I share with my blogger friends whom I have been speaking for almost 3 years now is gone. Along with it are the ill feelings that I felt for their refusal. Then I stopped and asked myself, “Why were you offended?” I honestly didn’t have a decent answer.

I Quit Social Media for 2 Weeks – Here’s What Happened

Before I knew it, I was already removing my social media apps on my phone; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. I also cleared the cache of Safari on my phone. I told some of my friends that if they want to reach me they could just WhatsApp, Viber, or text me.

So what the hell happened here? It’s easy to blame social media for my behavior like what most people are doing nowadays, but I think it’s childish. Social media is just a medium, it’s not a thinking entity. True, it does offer information that shapes how we think and it offers a venue to air these thoughts, but our attitude, and how we behave, that’s all us. Facebook didn’t make me cranky, it didn’t ask me to be clingy to my friends, and it most certainly didn’t demand me to be dependent on it, it’s all me.

Before the Internet, my idea of fun was writing on my typewriter, creating paper dolls, reading books, conversing in person or over the telephone with my friends. I used to be the girl who always wrote, the girl who always brought books with her. I’d scribble poetry on napkins, post-its, notebook, or scratch paper. Writing and reading were my favorite hobbies.

Now if I want entertainment I just need one source and I can have it all that I don’t have to get creative. I can stream a movie or a TV show, I can chat with people online, I can post photos of my travels on Facebook and Instagram, and I can even rant on Twitter. If I want amusement I can marathon short clips of dogs that were either being stupid or cute, of kids who can do amazing sports and of drone footage of some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Finding entertainment has never been this easy; whatever I need I can easily research. We now live in a time where people have zero tolerance for those who ask questions when everything can already be found on Google.

Yet I know people who use social media, but don’t hold an obsession with it so why can’t I be like them? How did I turn into this person who looks on Facebook the moment she wakes up and still looks at Facebook before she sleeps? Why was I not writing? Why was I not being creative? What the hell is wrong with me?

And so I realized that I needed to step back and reevaluate what I want. For now, the most urgent want is to finish my story. But to do that I have to change my priorities and be wise in how I use my time. In my case, this means no more obsessing over social media. I’m still open to using it but I should dictate the how long and the why of using it (and it has to be reasonable). I want to talk to my friends in person and communicate with them on social media only if it’s necessary.

On the first day of no social media, I had the urge to open Facebook; I quelled the impulse. In my head, I knew that I did the right thing. I still wrote in my blog so the pending articles wouldn’t pile up. But aside from sharing it through a social media plugin, I didn’t make any other promotion.

I know that to disconnect from social media will have an impact on my blogging career, but I know that I have to make some hard decisions if I want to go back to creating. Yes, I have lost the old me, but I can create a new one. And who says that the new me couldn’t write stories? I am cutting my addiction to social media because I still believe I’m a great person waiting to happen. But I have to hustle, I have to go through the process, I have to be once again, obsessed.

I have to do this; I choose to do this.

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  1. I usually begin scrolling through social media for productive purposes and I end up stalking people s profiles lol.I like your cute boy comparison because earlier I was addicted to social media to check out pictires of cute guys.But I think you are being a little too hard on yourself.Why dont you read the book Artists way by julia cameron ?It is for those people whose creative juices are not flowing

  2. You know it’s weird but I came online to complete a presentation for tomorrow’s meeting. But here I am reading your interesting blog post about abandoning social media while I have got the link to your blog post from my social media channel!
    However, the article is beautifully written. I feel that holding a pen in your hand and letting your mind and hand do the talking for the next half an hour is 10x better than your fingers doing the typing! I feel a bit more comfortable writing than typing but then I still won’t abandon Social media marketing! But Marge you are a very talented writer and bloggers like me benefit a lot because of your social media posts and blog posts, so my request would be to translate your creativity to your blogs and keep writing here!

  3. I think social media is not a bad thing, but over spending our time online is. It’s just a phase almost everyone undergoes and it’ll pass soon for you too. It’s all about prioritising things in life.

  4. I guess it’s just a phase in this process we so called life. Partly it can be blamed with the medium as it suggests a lot of noises that can drown us when we get hooked with its frequency. It has become a life of its own that controls humans, empowering some to become mean and throw hatred irresponsibly which in turn influenced others unknowingly or expectedly. But I guess it’s part of adulting and a challenge for us who uses this medium to flourish in our crafts. Keep on writing! Think of it as just a phase. πŸ™‚

  5. This article is so recognisable! I also tend to spend to much time on my social media channels, while my main priority is writing! Of course I need to promote my blog as well, which I need the social media channels for, but exactly what you say; you scroll around, check a post, participate in a bloggers group, and so on..
    I wish i could afford to hire a social media manager hahah

  6. I completely agree with you on this. The creativity is something that does not come easily. Today, more than the writing process, a lot of my time goes in social media marketing.

  7. I strongly agree with everything that you wrote in this article. While I was reading it, I saw myself in your place. Sometimes I call myself a Facebook addict. I have spent months hanging out on facebook rather than completing my MA degree, and then everyone else looked guilty in my eyes. When I finally got it that it was all my fault, it was impossible to bring back time spent doing nothing important. The good thing is that I am aware of my mistakes and the influence of social networks. Now I tend to set up my priorities in a different way. So, I totally understand you.

  8. I am a social media junkie, I too get lost in it for hours. But to me, it is a way of staying connected. To friends, the outside world, and all the things going on globally. I feel as if I do take something away from it so I don’t see it as an issue. I can honestly say, I do learn new things via social media. Now, is it something I love doing, no. I’d rather be writing or quilting. But it is what it is, a way to stay connected. Hope the path you have chosen will reap you great rewards.

  9. I think you are a good writer, and with more practice, you can become even better. It’s a brave move to take a social media break, but I do understand where you are coming from. Social media can really distract us from our tasks and it can be such a huge time-waster. So if this will help you accomplish your goal of writing your story faster, go for it! πŸ™‚ Sometimes, we need to remove the impediments that are getting in the way of our plans of reaching our goals.

  10. Hello Marge πŸ™‚ I think your creative juice is still overflowing πŸ™‚ I also think you are a one legit, creative-a**, and truth be told, I respect the effort you put in your craft. It says a lot about you and it inspires me as well. I wouldn’t tell you to stop worrying about not getting your old self back or your obsession (besides you’ve got everything figured out, you are even determined to create a new you), but I would like to highlight something important here: you’ve managed to stay in tune with your ambitions and beliefs so I know you’ll flourish. Uhm, I hope you don’t deprive yourself of the benefits of social media. You are aware of how it consumes your time, I think you can figure out a way to make it work for you πŸ™‚

  11. What you wrote is true. Partly, I blame the promos like free FB or whatever because others are posting even the greenest of things. It’s too annoying. I also deleted my FB app on the phone however due to class updates or other stuff, I had to re-download (without turning on the notifs). Others are just even spreading false news.

  12. Ahh!!! I have the same sentiments as you!!! I am really into digital art. But whenever I am in front of my computer trying to draw, I can’t help but browse Facebook. Initially, I’ll just think to just check for important notifications. Then I realize that I was already scrolling down the news feed. Anyway, good luck to us and to our productivity! <3

  13. Interesting read. Yes, sometimes it does feel like Social Media is ruling our lives. I won’t say social media is bad. Esp after surviving the worst storm of the century 2 years back when strangers connected via twitter and helped each other its just heartening. All we need is a limit I guess!

  14. What a long article about your relationship to social media. I guess I would miss it if I’d quit. I love sharing my life, my photos, etc. Learning from others. I kind of think that seeing a lot of photos and reading a lot of texts here makes me better in those areas. I’m dreaming of marketing related career so I guess I kind of have to be up to date about social.

  15. You are a very talented writer and I am totally entranced by your writing every time. Keep the pen rolling towards the direction your heart tells you.

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