The last time I spoke with Selena Kitt I was having a meltdown. I was emo and depressed. The moment I realized I was totally coming apart at the seams, I called an immediate partial sabbatical from Internet activity and especially blogging. I called it a partial sabbatical because there were a few interviews I still had hanging out there, as well as my Indie Reader blogs I’m committed to.
But for the past three weeks, with those very few exceptions, I have been radio silent. If you noticed the Internet was quieter and less obnoxious, that was totally me! :P
On Monday I posted my return post on my personal blog. The title of the post was: “I Never Want to Come Back to the Internet” (to give you some idea of how much I loved this!)
Here are some things I learned while I took a break from all the noise:
* I can keep my writing and editing deadlines. (Amazing what you can do when you aren’t on Twitter or arguing with random people on the Internet all day.) Also directly connected to this: I can write fast.
* There is this thing called the sun. It shines outside most days. The sky is often blue.
* Adults should play. Playgrounds are fun. Swinging (at the playground, you pervs!) is a lost art. And many swings are built to accommodate adult human beings.
* There are 3-D people who live out in the 3-D world. You can touch and talk to them. Even for a semi-hermit this is kind of awesome when you’ve been locked behind your computer.
* Everybody has an opinion about you and most of them good or bad are based on partial information. I intellectually knew this, but the time off gave me the opportunity to really reflect on and internalize it. This type of information will prove beneficial to me going forward.
* Working 10 hours a day 7 days a week is insane and doesn’t actually make me a more productive human being. Just a crazier one. In fact a lot of that “working” was social networking. I can save a whole bunch of time and have more “me time” by just disengaging more.
* My platform and sales will not disappear and I will not fall off the planet if I engage in some premeditated anti-social behavior on occasion. It allows me to get more work done, which helps me more in the long run. It also makes a sane Zoe. Everybody loves a sane Zoe. At least more than an insane one.
* I’m a lot more introverted than I thought. This explains so much about me I didn’t know. If not for the sabbatical I might not have truly figured this one out. People who don’t know me that well often see me as an extrovert because I’m not shy, and I do enjoy social situations when I can work myself up to go to one.
BUT it drains the hell out of me. I usually prefer my alone time. You would think I would have figured out that means: “mostly introverted” a long time ago. But several factors which I won’t bore you with, led me to think I was an “extrovert but...” Um. No. I’m not. And figuring that out has completely rewired how I see everything. But most importantly it’s given me permission to be who I am without feeling like a freak, which was taking up too much of my energy. (The feeling like a freak part.)
If you’ve been plugged into the Internet like it’s your umbilical cord, trust me, cut the cord. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced burn out. I’d been going nonstop since June and was so burnt-out that I just wanted to quit writing altogether. I had lost my joy for it. I couldn’t remember why I even liked doing it because all the crap on the Internet and feeling like everybody was pulling on me, was sucking the life and joy out of it. It was certainly sapping my creativity. It’s really hard to focus on writing a novel when you’ve got a stupid argument going on with some random boob online.
I got so much done during the sabbatical that I have a very different approach to interacting with the Internet now. It’s no longer my first priority, and three weeks away proved to me that the world won’t explode if I don’t run on the social marketing treadmill. In fact, probably just the opposite.
I’m going to go outside and play in the leaves now; don’t expect me to report back on Twitter about it.