Digital Detox

I was feeling the pull of the Internet/social media rabbit hole – big time – before we went on vacation last week. (Is that known as the social media vortex? Or some other sinister sounding phenomenon? Because that’s what it felt like.)

On the one hand, I’m really excited to be doing more with my blog, and reading lots of other hilarious, thought-provoking, sweet blogs, and connecting with other writers and readers on Facebook, and Twitter, and Pinterest.

On the other hand – damn, keeping up is a lot of work.

It feels like something that should be fun, not work – especially if I’m not getting paid for it. Right? But reading all these new posts, and commenting on them, and letting other people know about the really, really good writing that’s out there, plus writing my own stuff and trying to make my site look better with more graphics and better pictures, and, you know, trying to get people to actually read it…it weighs on me.

(Have I mentioned that I’m a bit of a perfectionist? And just a smidgen competitive? These are not great qualities to have when trying to up my game in the blogging world.)

So, I was starting to feel kind of panicked and worried about falling behind and falling short and – you guessed it – guilty.

(In addition to the perfectionism and competitiveness, I also have a bit of a guilty complex. Again, not the world’s best trifecta of personality traits.)

Add to the blogging guilt the guilt I’ve already felt about being too connected to my various devices, and oomph. Let’s just say that vacation – sans wifi in the rental house and with a nearly two-year-old to keep constant track of – came at just the right time.

At first, I was worried. No wifi? Seriously? Then I figured I’d just rely on my 3G on my phone. I’d be taking the week off from writing – as I’d planned to – but I could probably still keep up on email and other blogs and Twitter and Facebook, to some extent.

And then we got to the beach house, and it turned out that the house had craptastic service.

It was a sign. And my saving grace for the week.

I still managed to check email a few times, and I scrolled through Facebook and Twitter here and there when my phone would connect. But I didn’t really respond to email. I hardly sent any texts. I didn’t spend hours at night pouring over other blogs or pinning stuff or watching Facebook videos.

I read. Actual books. With pages made from paper.

I played games. Actual games – not virtual ones – with my real-life, in-person family.

I sat on the beach and watched the giant waves crash (and my kid eat handfuls of sand).

catching some waves

Bad cell service was just the break I needed. It let me look at waves like this (when my kid wasn’t eating sand).

It was just the break I needed, to look up from my phone/iPad/laptop and to shake off that panicked feeling.

I won’t pretend that I’ve been able to stay disconnected in the days since we returned, and I’ve probably slid back too easily into the habit of staring into screens at night after Teddy goes to bed (my hardest habit to break).

But I’m trying to remember to focus on the positives that I take away from being connected – the good in reading other people’s moving writing, the satisfaction I feel in sharing my own thoughts – and to worry less about being a perfect blogger, with all the obligation I was feeling related to that. Yes, that might mean I don’t adhere to an ideal publishing schedule, which might mean I might not grow my audience as quickly as I could. And it might mean I – gasp! – miss posts on Twitter or Facebook that I’d enjoy or that I could learn from.

It might also mean, though, that I have time to read another one of those fancy books made out of paper. And I think that’s an okay tradeoff.

(Right? Anyone else out there struggling with this?)

4 thoughts on “Digital Detox

  1. Yes, to all of it. I’ve really slowed down on blogging this summer. I realized that I was tired almost every single morning, after staying up way too late each night, just trying to stay on top of everything. And it’s my son’s last summer before kindergarten (sob) and I knew I wanted to do a ton of memorable things with him, and so I have. I went the longest I’ve ever gone in not posting this past week (almost a whole week – gasp) and it felt fine. Have I missed some awesome posts? Probably. But I have a feeling it’ll be just fine.
    Glad you had such a wonderful vacation and got to read real paper books and everything!

    • Kristi, your comment makes me feel so much better bc you are a rock star blogger, and if you can survive doing less, then so can I! Glad you have gotten to spend time making fun memories with Tucker this summer. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday!!

  2. Yes! This week I’m in a teacher’s in-service and have not had a chance to be near a computer/Facebook/Twitter/bloggland. And when I get home the last thing I want to do is get on the computer. I just want to crash. It’s been a nice break, and I’d like to be more intentional about how I use social media when I return part-time.
    I appreciate your honesty in this post. It really resonated with me.

    • Callie, it means a lot to me that you took the time both to read this post and comment on it when being near a computer is one of the last things you want to do right now! I’m also relieved to hear that I’m not the only one feeling the push and pull of the social media vortex. Looking forward to hearing about your exciting summer this weekend – in person!

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