I have been working hard at building up my writing habit. Sometimes I’ll have a good run of writing every day. And sometimes…like recently, I’ll have a day of not writing which turns into a week and then a month.
But, while I still don’t manage to write every day, I am writing much more regularly and I’m finding it easier to make myself ‘turn up’ to write. I’m also aiming to make 100 submissions this year (a challenge set by Writers HQ). I’m currently on 24 so I’m technically behind, but I’m still pretty chuffed with that if I compare it with the last couple of years.
One of the biggest barriers I and most other writers face is procrastination. Argh. The word itself is horrible. Even while writing this I have checked my phone, like, three times.
My phone and social media are my worst enemies. I recently downloaded one of those tracker apps and found that I’d spent 3 hours on social media in one day. 3 hours!! Imagine how many words I could have written in those three hours. Multiply that by a week and a month…
Facebook and Twitter are my nemeses. The ironic thing is, I love Twitter because it’s a brilliant way to keep in touch with other writers, read others’ work, share challenges and celebrate successes. But I became addicted to scrolling and scrolling through all you guys and answering a notification as soon as it blipped onto my phone.
I had to take drastic action. I deleted Facebook, Twitter and Insta for Lent.
The first few days were hard. FOMO was hitting me big time. But I was really surprised at how quickly I got used to it. It made me realise that it wasn’t really a priority to me. It’s not something I need. It was just a mindless habit that I’d taught myself and one that I could technically un-teach.
I can’t say scientifically that I got more writing done because of it, but my output recently has been strong for me. And I think my writing sessions have been more focused.
I am now back on social media but have decided to make it less convenient to check it. I’ve deleted the apps (so I don’t get notifications) and I log out. If I’m desperate to go on I will access them through the web. I’ve found bad habits creeping back though, so I’m wondering whether I respond better to total amnesty, than making a deal with myself to ‘go on it less’.
And I keep asking myself this question now. Would I rather scroll through social media or write? (Sometimes I still scroll even though the answer is always ‘write’. Stupid brain).
Social media can be substituted for anything btw – sleep, watching Netflix, reorganising the cutlery drawer.
I’m currently listening to the audio book of Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Better than Before. Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives’. I’d highly recommend it. It’s helping me identify what habit forming hacks are going to work for me and the barriers I need to overcome. Probably a blog post of it’s own coming on this but it’s certainly made me think about my own ‘bad’ habits such as this one.
If you’re umming and arring about taking a social media break. Try it. It’s really not as bad as you think. In fact, it’s pretty great!