- It can EAT YOUR LIFE. Go ahead. Spend all your time and energy blogging, texting, IM’ing, hunting down great writers’ articles and posts on Twitter, connecting with other writers on Facebook, updating your LinkedIn profile, registering with StumbleUpon, Digg, Squidoo, and all the other bazillions of blogonetworking tools out there. You’re going to have to start setting an alarm to get yourself up on time in the morning, and your family is going to get used to enjoying dinner without you. And you still won’t be able to keep up with it all.
Writing? Were you going to find time for writing?
- It can MAKE YOU STUPID. Everyone says, “You know what’s great about Twitter? A hundred and forty characters. Teaches you to write clean & kwik.” Yeah. But the thing is, 140 characters is a silly number of characters. Who picked that number? And why characters instead of words? Not a professional writer. No professional writer is going to say, “It is more important 2 say it in fewer char’s than it is 2 say it in exactly the right words.” And does it count as writing clean and quick if you write all kinds of crap in those 140 chararacters, whether you need to or not?
“Hey, U! Gud 2 C U! I 8 chocolate 2day. Did U?” Go back to high school until you’re done hanging out in front of your lockers, dudes.
- It can CONFUSE YOUR PRIORITIES. Why are you writing? Because you want to be A Writer—you want to live in a garret on the Left Bank, hunched over your pages with your pen gripped in your sweaty, honest hand, getting those words down so you can meet up with other writers at the Lilas later for red wine and philosophical talk into the heart of the night? You want to master this craft in the solitude of your individual silence, excavate with your simple little words the vivid, heartbreaking, deathless experience buried inside the world we navigate all day long every day? You want to be good? You just want to be published? You just want to be read?
Everywhere you go on social media, you’re going to find people yelling through megaphones, “YOU. Yeah, you! Writer! Come over here! I’ve got something to show you! It’s going to change your life! It’s going to give you wheels! It’s going to make you famous! MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE! You don’t get famous with AT LEAST ONE PERSON, I give you your money back! Plus a million bucks! How about that, huh? Who’s going to turn down a million bucks? Not me, buddy! I’m not that rich! Are you that rich? You can turn down a million bucks? Hey—don’t walk away! I’m talking to you! I’m talking to YOU! Hey, Writer!”
They might as well attach an IV to your bank account and set up a permanent siphon. And you get for this. . .what? Do you even remember what you wanted?
- It can KILL YOUR SOUL. Because you’re not on this planet to be glued by the fingertips to a computer. You weren’t born with eyes that only work on an LED screen. You’re here to go outside and walk on the earth, to breathe huge amounts of air, to put your hand on the trunk of a growing tree. You’re here to wrestle with your dogs like Mark Vonnegut and invent the greatest tool rack ever like John Steinbeck and shade your eyes against the sun across the velde like Nadine Gordimer and put your hand to the face of your own child like Anne Lamott. You’re here to be you.
And you’re not in the blogosphere. Look down at yourself. Put your hands on your chest.
Do it right now.
You’re sitting. Right. There.