#Blogtoberfest Day 26: Unplugging in November

Instead of doing #NaNoWriMo in November, I’m going to unplug – at least somewhat. What I will not be doing (or trying not to):

  • Blogging
  • Reading on Kindle
  • Watching travel videos on Youtube (okay, maybe once a week)
  • Sleeping with my iPhone
  • Playing gin rummy on my iPad

What I hope I will be doing:

  • Practicing the keys
  • Writing songs and/or fiction
  • Reading paperbacks and/or hard cover books
  • Going to Barnes & Noble
  • Visiting the Guitar Center

I also plan to delete my LinkedIn account. I only returned because the old Lynda.com was now part of LinkedIn and they forced me to rejoin LinkedIn to access it. Each time I renew for another month, they change how they work. Now you have to use iTunes to manage your payments, which I try to avoid as often as possible. iTunes – ugh! I”d like to delete LinkedIn immediately, but I still have access to classes for most of November.

Except for Twitter, I’ve deleted my other social media accounts. Even the word “social media” creeps me out – lol!

Ah, but then there’s YouTube. I subscribe to several travel Vloggers, but I’ve noticed that by watching their travel experiences, my travel experience is diminished. It’s helpful to read about places you might visit, but YouTube vlogs kinda take away the surprise, those things you stumble upon which make your experience so much richer.

And I really dislike all the begging to subscribe and share and donate money. I definitely think I need to avoid travel vloggers. At first I thought that might be the hardest thing for me to give up, but it’s getting old and I’m not enjoying the videos as much.

I have no idea how November might change me, but I hope to update you all in December.


#Blogtoberfest Day 5: Social Media Makes You Stupid

I believe that people aren’t normally stupid. Dysfunction, inauthenticity makes people look stupid. Social media actually makes people do stupid. It dulls your brain, your thinking ability, lessens your communication/people skills.

Take writing, for example. It’s often been said that you need to exercise your writing muscle and write every day or most days to stay strong. So inactivity weakens that writing muscle. And if you’re inactively writing because you’re sharing photos and likes on social media, your brain becomes lazy.

And so I sit here day after day this October unable to focus on writing a scene. It’s like when I first started writing, only worse. Back then, it took me all day to actually sit down and write a scene. I had good intentions of starting my writing day int he morning. But I couldn’t get anything out of my head until about 4 p.m.

Now I’d be happy if I could do that. Instead, my brain is jello, my attention span is ridiculously short. It’s easier to flip through youtube channels, peek into Twitter, and play a game on my iPad. I might read, but even that seems like a challenge – all of that focus on understanding content.

This is sad and must come to an end. I must sit down  and write every day to get that flabby writing muscle in shape. Even music has become a crutch – it’s easier to open up Logic Pro and start auditioning Apple loops or keyboard a few midi notes.

Maybe that’s what #Blogtoberfest is all about for me – getting my writing muscle back in shape. A daily blog post is the warm-up, hopefully leading to writing a sentence, a paragraph, a page, three pages maybe. That used to come so easily. But one thing I’m noticing is that I feel such peace when I’m sitting down and actually writing something… anything.


#Blogtoberfest Day 3: Post Traumatic Social Media Disorder (PTSMD)

When I first started blogging in 2005 or was it 2004, I don’t remember any more, but it was an empowering opportunity to express myself.  I really hadn’t been “allowed” to do that in my life experience. At first it was terrifying. Then it was liberating! Sharing your deepest thoughts and life’s experiences seemed to be the point of the blog. After all, a blog was supposed to be an online journal – not a marketing tool.

But just as I was thriving by blogging, social media took center stage, and blogs were shoved to the side. And now people feel free to express not only their deepest thoughts, but their deepest hates, prejudices, anger, political opinions, I mean, we all know how ugly it’s become because it’s not just an honest expression, it’s an attack on everything people disagree with.

I deleted Facebook and Instagram. Except for posting blog posts on Twitter, I mostly ignore it. I use LinkedIn only when I want to take a class on what used to be Lynda.com. Unfortunately, Facebook ruined Instagram when they acquired it and LinkedIn ruined Lynda.com when they acquired it and Youtube was much better before Google acquired it. But after 23 years in Silicon Valley, I can tell you that’s how Silicon Valley works – companies grow by acquiring other companies.

Anyway, I also stopped blogging. I retreated. I began to repress my thoughts and feelings online. I turned to poetry. Poetry felt safer. I sat down to write today’s blog post but really had to push myself to write something. I’m going to have to take #Blogtoberfest one day at a time because I’m not sure I’m up to blogging every day for the month of October. That’s 31 blog posts. I  jokingly told myself that maybe I have PTSMD – Post Traumatic Social Media Disorder. 🙂

(photo from The Effects of Social Media on Depression)

The Long Way (Song of the Day)

Not sure how much more poetry I’ll be writing this month. Even yesterday’s poem was more song lyric than poem. Besides, I’m rushing to get all of my evaluations done from NSAI before this year’s membership expires next month. So I’m pretty much focusing on songs, not poems or novels.

So I’m listening to The Long Way and had to laugh out loud at the line “Your hand-me-down ’99 Impala.” Not only would that be in the category of “who cares” when it comes to classic cars you would mention in a song, but there is no such thing as a ’99 Impala – Chevy took a hiatus from making them from 1997-2000. And notice in the video, they’re driving a ’63 Impala – that’s a classic worth mentioning and I had one.

I’m so annoyed by some people today just making things up. Dude, how hard is it to check your facts on the internet? Facts don’t seem to matter to them.

But I do have hope. The idea behind writing this song was of  “… having a real conversation because we don’t have these anymore…” paraphrasing what Brett Eldridge said when Matt Rogers brought this idea to him in their first songwriting session (Taste of Country). Kudos to them for realizing this and doing their part to, maybe, turn this thing around. (And for those getting wise to Facebook and other social media.)

Technology should be our servant, not our master.


When a Novel Tries Too Hard…

I’m reading a novel that was recommended by a publisher as one to read for style for current submissions. Okay, I get that the setting might call for a bit more media exposure than a normal plot, but, to me, it’s trying way too hard to be current.

Facebook, Twitter, iPads, Youtube – even political issues – are mentioned practically on every page (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration). I know some people think these things should be included in contemporary novels and feel let down if they’re not, but, for me it’s way over the top in this book. Other than that, it’s well written and I’ve picked up some pointers on character development. So perhaps it’s just a sign I’m not that into contemporary reading these days. I may turn to more historical novels and write another one of my own (Letters on Balboa Island takes place in the 1950s/60s).

For one thing, I read to not only get inspired as a writer, but to escape. I’m not a technophobe. I started my career in printing/publishing on my first computer in the late ’70s and 23 of those years were in Silicon Valley. But I do think we’re overdoing it in ways we should not be doing it.

Check out these articles and video – yes, Youtube is my friend and I do some Twitter – best to manage what works for us instead of letting it manage us. Don’t try to do it all. Besides, it’ll all change in the future.

Former Facebook Exec on the Damaging Effects of Social Media

Quit Social Media

Seeking the Lost Art of Growing Old with Intention (don’t have to be “old” to find this useful)



50 Poems in 50 Days

I interrupt my nightly poems to announce that I’m more than halfway writing 50 poems in 50 days (or before we leave our Florida “resort” for our new home).

I suppose I have to thank this transition period for inspiring me to write these poems and for getting off all social media. For the skeptic, check out this guy’s view of social media, which I totally agree with. Younger people might hear him with more authority because (a) He’s a Millennial (b) He’s got a Ph.d. (c) He’s a visibly successful author.

Not that my credentials are all that shabby – I’ve worked with computers since 1976 and in Silicon Valley for 23 of those years – I’m definitely not a technophobe.

Reading, Writing, Soul Searching as Writers

Those in-between times of our lives are a real opportunity to do some soul-searching, regroup, and take off in an entirely new direction.

I’m in one of those times. That no matter how hard I try to get some traction, I just can’t. I’m in that in-between time. Researching. Planning. Experimenting.

Thinking I might use Scrivener for my next project, I searched for “Scrivener” and discovered Chris Fox and his amazingly, helpful, optimistic videos on writing and marketing and selling a ton of books. Serious numbers of books. He’s quite personable and comes from the same high tech background in the San Francisco Bay Area. It reminds me of attending a Silicon Valley meeting. Only it’s about writing and selling a ton of novels instead of deep sub micron, which is basically the moment I realized I’d had enough of Silicon Valley and moved on.

Anyway, watching his videos, I’ve been trying some things. Experimenting. Researching. Reading. Writing. Well, not a whole lot of writing. It seems I haven’t exactly figure out yet what direction I want to take with my next book. But that’s okay. No need to rush it. I’m enjoying this phase.

Last night we attended a Wine Talk in our new community and I met a Cruise Travel Agent and we got to talking about cruising. The funny thing is her business cards looked just like the ones I had a few years back. You know, the little beach girl. Anyway, we talked about that and then I mentioned I wrote novels set on cruise ships. She got excited about that – unfortunately, my business cards are still packed somewhere.

So, do I continue doing what I’ve been doing – writing my own kind of romance often set on beaches, cruise ships, or other fun spots? You know, Real Women Wear Red and the soon-to-be-released sequel, Real Women Go Hawaiian?

And then, of course, there’s suspense, which I experimented with in Deja Vu, although I’m experimenting with the Chris Fox magic and rereleasing it under a new title.

Or do I focus more on historical novels like Letters on Balboa Island, which has been moving up in the ranks on Amazon with this week’s Free Promo?

This is one of the things I hope to figure out during this time of reading, writing, and soul searching as a writer.