Tuesday, 3 May 2016

So, how did media blackout week go?

I've been musing about what to write in this post ever since I stopped doing the media blackout but I keep putting it off. I guess I'm a little unsure of how to sum the week up. I've been asking myself some questions about the week so I think that by trying to answer them you may get a feel for my thoughts and reactions to turning down the media in my life.

Did I miss anything?
The answer to this is yes, I certainly did. i missed reading, having a book to dip into when I wanted to escape. I found it very odd not to have a book on the go and I struggled to see what the value of not reading was at the start of the week. However, as time went on I realised that not having other writers words in my head was allowing me to hear the words in my own head. I started to feel a little more confident in the narrative voice I have playing in my mind so i found i felt freer to write as me, rather than trying to write like someone else.
I did feel a bit of FOMO as well. my lovely online friends are a source of comfort and amusement to me and I love getting a tiny glimpse into their lives. I certainly missed that. Thankfully the world didn't end while I was away so I picked up with them fairly easily!

Would I change anything?
I think I'd be a little kinder to myself and perhaps permit a bit of reading. a chapter a day or something. It really felt strange to not have a book on the go.
Apart from that I think the detox went well. If I do it again (and I think I might) I'll certainly give myself guidelines that will keep me on track. I'm sure that it would be easy to slip quietly back into checking Twitter too often or sneaking an extra TV programme, especially if you have the resolve of a mouse, like me.

What did I enjoy about the week?
The best think about the week was the writing I did. Now, sadly, the novel is still a slow process. I'm struggling to free myself from the idea that the first draft has to be perfect. I know it doesn't and that I just need to get the first draft written but there is a tiny yet shrill voice shouting 'You're writing rubbish! Fix it now!' I think she needs a lie down or a large gin ... maybe both! But it's hard to ignore her all the same. I did enjoy not feeling guilty about  time spent writing. I always get an attack of the guilts when I do anything that is just for me. I feel as if I should be doing something more productive (ironing, baking, cleaning) or something less selfish than sitting and writing. Heaven knows how I get rid of those feelings, it's been too many years to count and they're still there.
I also loved the journal I started to write. I was hoping for some profound moment of great revelation but that didn't happen; as if! But I did enjoy sitting and writing about whatever was in my head at the time. I've decided to keep writing the journal but turn it into a general writers notebook/ideas book.

Has it changed my life?
Well, strictly speaking, no. But then I didn't really think it would. I'm back to stalking Twitter again, I still haven't got out of obsessively clicking the 'One New Tweet' button as if something life-changing is behind it. I'm watching more TV than during the blackout and I've started a new book. So some things are back to usual.
However, I seem to have lost my appetite for day time TV. I turned Jeremy Kyle on and after 15 minutes I wondered why I was wasting my time watching those dreadful people and turned it off. I'm not saying I'll never watch it again - it's like an addiction in a way - but I don't feel the need to rush home from the shop to catch it anymore (yes, I really used to do that...)
It's also taught me the value of turning the noise off and concentrating on one thing at a time. Without the TV as background noise it's easier to concentrate on what I'm writing and easier for me to think. I also enjoy the silence to think in; no outside noise or clutter intruding.

So, how would I sum up the week? Well, it was challenging. So many times I went to turn on the TV or open Twitter and had to remind myself that they were verboten this week. So many times I longed to disappear into a good book, or even a bad one. But it was a useful, interesting experience. I didn't have great insight into the world, or write anything fascinating or disturbing, or end up tearing my hair out and kicking the cat. But I did find a bit of peace and quiet in my life which I rather enjoyed and hope to hold on to.


  1. I didn't realise you were doing this as well Jo! I think I reached fairly similar conclusions to you - (see my post!), and found it a useful experience. Glad to hear the writing is pushing ahead. xx #WhatImWriting

    1. Hi Alice! It was definitely worth doing and I intend to take part next time too. So many lessons learned and most of them were positive.

  2. It's really interesting to read how the media deprivation was for you. I love the last line of this and it sounds like it was worth it just for that. After a really intense six weeks with all the #THISislearning and general education stuff, I'm totally wiped and will be taking next week off blogging and social media. I'm not depriving myself of telly though, and one of the things I really WANT to do with the week is read more so no chance of denying myself books either. I'm looking forward to it. Glad you had a good week and thanks so much for your support yesterday - I really appreciated it! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

    1. If anyone deserves a rest it's you Maddy! Enjoy the reading and the quiet and I look forward to meeting up with you again when you return.

  3. Sounds like a really interesting process... I don't think I'd miss the TV - I barely have time to watch any anyway - but I am way too addicted to social media. It would definitely be good to get rid of that for a bit. It's good to hear it freed up your writing a bit too! I'm sure the whole desire for the first draft to be perfect is a perennial problem - the only reason I'm finding it easier this time round is because with my last novel I changed so much in the redrafting process that I'm much more accepting of the fact that none of these words are set in stone, I just need to get them down! Hope this week is another productive one :)

  4. You've written about some great observations. I think a media detox is a great idea and i've decided to only use social media in the week and barely if at all at the weekends because I found it was intruding on my life. I read something today which was really cool - that the first draught of a manuscript is for us (the writer) to tell ourselves the story and then it can develop, I found that really helpful. I can well imagine what you mean about finding peace and quiet without constant media.