New Year’s Epiphany: Why? Just, why?

After successfully surviving almost a month at my new job (and loving every minute of it!), I will continue with my previous thoughts and subsequent epiphany.

I initially headed towards an indefinite vacation the day I left my job (to the slight chagrin of my hubby). No job in the future, but a hope that either the palm-sweating job came through, or something else of equal or better quality would fall into my lap. I held tightly to my philosophy of “there’s always something better around the corner.”

During my time as an member of the unemployed club, I found that I was reaching for my phone far too often. If you know me, you’ll know that I rarely talk on the phone, so why was my battery dipping below 30% by dinnertime each evening?

Outside of my usual research with Auntie Google’s help, I was going to Facebook constantly. I was texting constantly. Looking at Instagram. Pinterest. Twitter. The list goes on and on. Instead of getting things done to my maximum capacity, I was just getting distracted.

There were a number of reasons that I wasn’t writing anymore too—none of which were due to social media distractions. My writing was at a standstill because:

  • This new property is actually 35 acres
  • I now have chickens, ducks, dogs, a cat, and mini horse to care for
  • We are making some minor to mid-range aesthetic changes to the interior of the house
  • What I once thought would be an idyllic writing room, turned into a place I avoided as the temperature was FREEZING!
  • I have been racing to get things in the house done before I go back to work (it’s easy to unpack a box at night, but not so much to refinish a piece of furniture). Had to pick my battles.

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My lack of writing and incessant social media addiction were the two things to make me stop and reevaluate areas of my life. Ironically, they both tied in together.

After publishing my book, I was told that the way of the world of publishing was to attack social media to get noticed.

At the time, and to date, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to get noticed. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m quite an introvert, and the public aspect of things has always been difficult.

Please don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of social media, and also the enjoyment for many, but it has just never been a world where I felt I belonged. For my public and private life, I was maintaining the following accounts:

  • Facebook x 3
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Google+ x 3
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat x 2
  • Texts
  • Emails x 5

It had become too much for this old girl to handle while working a full-time job and trying to be a functioning member of my family.

Then I asked myself why I started writing. Why did I continue to write? What were my goals? What did I want from being active on social media?

One of the first things to come to mind wass that, despite kudos from my readers for both my book, Living Out Loud, and my blogs, I knew I wouldn’t be sitting across from Ellen DeGeneres any time soon. Did I even want to be sitting across from Ellen? The thought of being in the public eye that way, made me want to toss in the towel.

Sure, it would be nice to have a steady income from writing—something I really do love doing—but that’s not why I started. I wrote my memoir for a plethora of reasons—none of which were to become the next JK Rowling.

During my epiphany, I realized I was putting far too much pressure on myself to “get out there” and was becoming resentful and disinterested in continuing with my unfinished writing projects.

Since I’d temporarily divorced Twitter in the past (and the world kept spinning and tweeting without me), I slipped away silently during the chaos of the months-long activities leading up to our move.

Now what?

The first thing I did was strip all the apps from my phone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve reached for it in the past four weeks to check Facebook.

Next, I vowed to only deal with texts and emails after work. No more distractions at work.

Social media? Other than posting my blog, I’ll refrain from getting sucked into the vortex like I used to. I’ll go to Facebook and reply to any messages or comments awaiting me, but I will not allow myself to get sucked into reading all 164 comments on the home project page I subscribe to when a woman in Arkansas asked if she should paint her kitchen white or blue.

Basically, I’m going to do my best to live my life like I did in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I’d live my life in the present and not tied to a screen.

So, if you need to reach me socially, know that it won’t be instantaneous. Know that my silence is because I want to get so much done during the day that I actually have the time to finish the novel you have all been asking me to finish… or the children’s series… or the eBook series on your favorite topics.

Know that I’m still here.

For “that guy” who sent me a snarky message… Know that there’s no chance in HELL I will ever write a 500-word blog, so don’t bother telling me that these are too long. It just means I’m not the right fit for your reading criteria.

Know that I cherish the support and love I receive from all of my followers/readers. Your messages sincerely warm my heart.

Know that my inactivity with social media is not a judgment of others’ activities on social media, but simply the way I need to live my life out loud right now.

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