When I was an undergrad I didn’t have the internet. From 2005-2007 while studying creative writing I got by using a meagre library quota for all my LiveJournal needs. Sure, the internet existed, but I was too busy drinking Bombora and turning up to un-themed social events inappropriately in-costume.
Now I have wifi. Now, NOW I have Facebook.
Facebook is probably the worst culprit when it comes to distraction for me. If I’m not compulsively switching between screens just because that’s what my hands do now, my phone is constantly buzzing around from the 90+ comments in that message chain about Taylor Swift. Of course, on top of the general interaction offered by Facebook, there are also links to follow, videos to watch and wild accusations to get swept up in. What is even more difficult for someone like me who works alone all the time, is that Facebook also offers elusive human contact.
Being alone has always been a big part of writing for me. Predictably, as a teenager I already spent a lot of time alone and this is what gave me the incentive to write. In university I decided I couldn’t be a writer, because I didn’t like to be alone. Now, studying writing is my way of working hard for myself instead of someone else.
That said, I still miss out on a lot. Melbourne Cup day for me this year was a party of one. The office “sweep” literally involved a broom. I didn’t wear any of my ridiculous collection of hats and the only person I saw all day was a delivery guy with a questionable ponytail delivering a package that wasn’t even for me.
When you’re writing a novel there is no-one to walk behind your desk threateningly, but there is also no-one to tell you it’s ok to get a bit tipsy in the middle of the day. Self-motivation is difficult and by proxy feeling like you ever deserve to knock off early and swill some bubbly is also extremely rare. And when something amusing happens, there’s no one to tell but Facebook.
My office Christmas party was drinking a negroni in bed and watching New Girl. It was actually pretty awesome.
But, if you’re in the same boat and not feeling it – this video is a good reminder:
When I’m ok with being alone I’m more productive and more stable. Until you figure it out, there’s always Twitter.