A Quiet 30: The First Four Days.

Day 1.

So, day one. I woke and as usual I rolled right to my phone to see what was going on in the world at large. Nothing. No Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or Instagram, having all been deleted from my phone. There are of course other websites to use with the internet, but none spring to mind. I honestly feel a little bewildered, as if there is something I should be doing that I’m not. Already as I write this I find myself about to open a new browser tab to check out my accounts, completely autonomously. Luckily google has a helpful browser extension to help with that.

StayFocused is going to prove useful in the next thirty days, the program allows you to select a list of forbidden sites and then provides you with a time limit across all sites. You could allow yourself 10 minutes (default) across all blocked sites. That is 10 minutes for all sites, not each individual site. I dialed that down as low as it will go, 1 minute. Not good enough.

There is a nuclear option provided. Literally a little nuke button that encourages you to “Nuke ’em” (read: Nuke ’em Rico!) This option lets you set a number of hours, up to 24 which I selected, and it blocks all sites on your blocked list for that set amount of time. That is what I am looking for. I can’t undo it once it is done. Every morning I will hit the little nuke button, but with far fewer real world consequences.

It might not help that I currently have a lot of time on my hands. The key here is to focus on the work, the stories and the blogs I have let fall by the wayside.

Music helps. Music and tea…and mead. Shout out to Charlies 3000 Year Old Whiskey Emporium and Saturday Night Fire for an entertaining evening in good company.

Day 2.

A hangover and good weather keep me off the computer and away from social media today, although I did once again roll over to check my phone. A day out with the nephews in the sun, always a mini adventure. I even ran today, I fell over, but I ran. Well at least a little.

The evening finds me itching to check my accounts, more so than yesterday and I can’t seem to settle to focus on writing. Perhaps a book will help. Penguins little black classics, I have upward of fifty of these short little books that cover a range of authors and genres. Bought to get me reading outside of my habits. Seems the perfect opportunity to begin making my way through them.

#52: Plato, Socrates’ Defense. Should be an interesting read.

It is certainly quieter, and that may be the best way to describe it. It is an odd sensation, one of almost forgetting to do something important, as if I were no longer bound by a responsibility. The absence of social media should not leave me feeling like that. Today I think it has really hit me how much I need to step away and reevaluate how I interact with this thing.

Word count increased though, not much though.

Day 3.

I reached for my phone again when I woke up. I’m hoping to break that habit.

So far today I have down 1992 words and I feel far from done. I finally have a full draft of A Door For A Home: Part 6, after months of writing and rewriting, scrapping and starting again. It may be closer to a second draft as roughly 1500 words of that are edited.

I have a first draft of A Door For A Home: Part 7 sitting at 586 words. Low granted but it is from the villains point of view and I do keep those short, and I have begun on part 8. Clearly something is going right for me today.

I think it is too early to say if the lack of social media is a reason for this. One good writing day doesn’t mean I will stop with the “detox.”

I finished a full first draft of A Door For A Home: Part 6, 7 and 8, all of which need editing and rewriting, but as of 6:22 A.M. it’s done as a first draft. It is a fantastic feeling. A lot of work is still ahead of me on this one, I need to make sure each part feels consistent with the last and that each part has the distinct voice of the character it follows. I will leave that for a day or two to let the story sit. Total words for the day 4445. It looks good but I wonder if the other days can live up to that.

Day 4. 

I didn’t reach for my phone this morning, but only because I forced myself not to. Baby steps.

After yesterdays spree of writing I was eager to go back and begin the editing process. This short story (which is more accurately a novelette at 12.5k words) has taken me over a year to get a complete first draft down. That is in part to the serialised nature of how I have been releasing it on the website, each part was previously written and edited individually, but yesterday I just got it all down. It is still too fresh in my mind to edit, I find to edit effectively you need to let the work sit for a while. You can come back to it with new eyes.

In the in between time I have got down a first draft of another short story, an actual short story this time with a plan to cap it around 5k words if it gets that far. I find myself considering a collection of short stories for children based on odd creatures and fairy folk. Something to look into. It would be a fairly simple matter to preface some of the larger stories I already have that fit the bill, and write up a few shorts.

I feel like my concentration span is getting better, it’s easier to focus and I have more energy. My hand no longer drifts to open a tab to Facebook or Reddit. Now again, this could just be some kind of placebo effect, or it could be an actual difference caused by the removal of social media and the procrastination I’ve found it to cause.

I have run into a few snags, wanting to look something up, Reddit had a wealth of information on its various writing subs. Its writing prompts sub would come in very handy for me right now to pass a few hours. I wanted to run the first draft of A Door For A Home part 6, 7 and 8 past someone but I only have them as a Facebook contact. Tricky and a little inconvenient, but not the end of the world. Again, I’m not looking to remove social media from my life for good, just change how I interact with it. It takes about 21 days to form a habit.

Also discovered an EP by a fella named Brian Wayne Foster called Odessa. It’s only 4 tracks but I recommend it.

Currently sitting at 2320 words for the day, probably more now that I’ve edited this post but I can’t be bothered to weed out the little numbers.

I had planned to do these by the week, but as it is the post is already past a thousand words. I don’t expect the other days to have entries quite so long as these but I will play it by ear. Four down, twenty six to go.

It occurs to me as I am about to publish it that there is a chance no one will read it until I finish the 30 days. That is one aspect where a lack of social media has really hurt me, the ability to promote my stories and articles. A small sacrifice though to break a bad habit.


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