Giving Up Facebook for Lent

This year, instead of French fries, I’m giving up Facebook. Well, not completely, just until my day’s work is done. What has this got to do with writing? A lot.

I thought I had my schedule so neatly parceled out: 15 minutes to handle paper mail and bills, 15 minutes to file, and 15 minutes to check email and favorite sites before tackling my day’s writing. But one of those favorite sites is Facebook, and it always wound up taking more than 15 minutes. Lots more. I love Facebook. It keeps me in touch with friends and family all over the country. They share news, photos, songs, videos, links to websites, and more. I go through the status updates, liking this, clicking on that, commenting on that. I get excited when those little red numbers appear showing that someone has written to me, wants to be my friend or has responded to my comment or my “like.” (When did “like” become a noun?)

I have about 300 Facebook friends, including family, actual close friends, acquaintances, writing colleagues, and people I’ve never actually met. Many of them post several times a day. That’s a lot of messages; it takes a lot of time to read them, far more than 15 minutes. By the time I’ve gone through everything new on Facebook, I figure it’s time to check my email again, and by the time I get through dealing with that, I have wasted so much time, it wouldn’t hurt to do an online jigsaw puzzle or two (jigzone.com), and oh, might as well see if anybody responded to me on Facebook. Pretty soon the morning is shot, and I haven’t done any real writing, haven’t made those phone calls I should have made a week ago, haven’t done any marketing, haven’t accomplished anything really. But I was at my desk. I could argue that I was working. I could argue that social networking is important. Yes, it is. That’s why I’m not giving up Facebook completely. But it’s not top priority.

Lent only began yesterday, but I’m already jonesing for a Facebook fix. Just a peek, Lord? But I promised God, and you can’t go back on that.

Meanwhile, I’m amazed at how much time I suddenly have to write. I’m really getting stuff done. I’m also feeling more relaxed. This may be the best thing I have done for my writing career in a long time.

Now, I’m not dissing Facebook. It is a wonderful tool, and if you’re trying to market your writing, you should be using it. I will eagerly log in when my day’s work is done, but it all comes back to the same thing. Write first. Do your homework. Eat your vegetables. Then you can play on Facebook.

See you there. Friend me. Later.

P.S. Notices of my blog postings appear on Facebook and Twitter automatically. I swear I did not cheat to notify my FB friends about this post. 🙂

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