I think most of us can agree there are a million things going on in our world to keep us distracted from our writing. Some are concrete distractions, like our family, our work, or our health. Some are less concrete but certainly no less distracting. I’ve seen variations of the joke above all over and find it to be quite true. Whether distracted by research we might be doing, by news and op-eds, by social media like Twitter and Facebook or by anything else in the expansive network of online time-sucks, sometimes we just need to disconnect.
Shortly after the release of the Avengers-Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon, the movie’s writer/director, deleted his Twitter account. Immediately after, the Twitterverse exploded. Why did he leave? Was it from some of the vitriolic responses to the movie? Was it the negative response to a tweet he sent about the Jurassic World trailer? Was it feminist backlash about the Black Widow character? I, of course, knew it must have been my post here last week about Black Widow. 😉 Hey, Joss, no hard feelings okay? 🙂
I really liked Joss’s response to his exit from Twitter. He essentially said if he was going to get writing done, he needed a break from the noise. I am sure as a celebrity the noise is on a whole different level, but it’s not hard to see how anyone could be impacted by the onslaught of opinion and activity that is found on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately there’s a lot of highly negative energy along with the fun. James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, posted a message on Facebook asking for a little more kindness out there. But whatever the nature of the noise, kind or hurtful, it is still a lot of noise that can distract from our creativity, like writing.
But even if we aren’t spending a lot of time on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook, time spent browsing articles or blogs can be noise too. I try to read blogs, both of friends who I follow regularly and other helpful ones I find on Twitter or though other recommendations. While I can find inspiration and direction for my writing in some blogs, I can also just get really distracted from what I ought to be doing instead – like writing my own blog, or focusing my energy on my current work in progress. When I’m creatively stuck, it’s easy enough to play around looking at what other people are writing instead of doing the hard work of just pushing on through with my own.
Confession time – one of the biggest things that keeps me from unplugging is the convenience and accessibility of my ever present iPhone. I tweet, I blog, I read other blogs, I browse Facebook, I watch videos, I used to play games, I text, I play on the internet and I just generally live on my phone. My son asked me once if I could go a whole day without my phone. Sadly, no I don’t know that I could. Sometimes though I just have to put the phone down – not just to play with that kid and the other kiddos, but so I can get rid of the distraction. I don’t need the Twitter/Facebook/Wordpress notifications that call to me. I don’t need the instant access to the internet I always have (and love!).
What Twitter and blogs and my phone ultimately have to offer is a lot of noise. I know that I can use a little less noise, especially when trying to open up my creative side.
What about you? What is noise to you? What is most distracting? Or do you need the noise? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments.
Have a great week!