Make Way For Writing and Thinking

"twitter-birds" by Flickr user Abigail Silvester, CC-BY-2.0

“twitter-birds” by Flickr user Abigail Silvester, CC-BY-2.0

I’m not a fan of going online and making a big scene of a social media hiatus. But the current social media hiatus, a Twitter hiatus as of yesterday evening, is directly related to the book-ish in progress.

When I first moved to Kansas City and I was struggling to make progress with Dissertation Chapter #1, I cut out Facebook. It was my social media drug of choice at the time. I remember posting a status about it just because I thought some folks would want to check in with me before I deactivated my account. One person responded, I won’t believe you until I see it. I was so annoyed that I deactivated my account right then and there.

The break from Facebook was good. I don’t remember how long I stayed away from it—maybe almost a year? It’s all very fuzzy now—but I did make headway on the dissertation, and I did feel my brain/life reboot. In the meantime, I had Twitter, which slowly became more and more important to me. It became a lifeline of sorts for me that first year in Kansas City.

Fast-forward: now I’m at a point where I’m trying to move past dreaming about writing a book and move toward writing a book. But I feel my writing energy flowing more and more often toward Twitter. Not to mention that Twitter always feels current, present, now. It’s irresistible at times…especially when you’re avoiding doing the big work on your book project: the conceptual thinking.

Does my need to detach from Twitter have to do with what Atlantic writers Adrienne LaFrance and Robinson Meyer see as the twilight of Twitter? Not sure. Twitter does feel different to me lately, but I don’t think I’m in the right place to start thinking about what my break from the platform says about Twitter in general. All I know is that I need to put more energy into writing and I spend too much time on Twitter. Hey, those witty tweets of mine don’t just come out of thin air-most but not all of them do. 😉

My old boss from the writing center pointed out at lunch on Tuesday that what I need is to write down what’s on my mind before I take another step with research or planning. And she’s right: I need to do this. Every time I try to do it, I find a way to procrastinate on it and I don’t do it. There’s something tough, something keeping me from moving forward. I need to write through it and see where it gets me.

One of the things I’m thinking about is, why postcards? My old boss articulated it this way: what do you want to tell people about postcards? That makes total sense: what’s the point of writing about postcards? There has to be more than just “I collect them and I think they’re great.” They stick around for a reason. I’m trying to figure out that reason.

I recently downloaded the iPhone app Postale, which allows you to make your own postcard and send it anywhere around the world. I’ve been thinking about it lately and trying to figure out why would such an app exist and not, say, a letter-writing app. Of course the letter-writing app is better known as email, but for some reason an app for postcards makes more sense than an app that takes your message and sends it to a recipient, complete with cursive font, envelope, and stamp.

Another thing that’s been going on is that more and more people are sharing with me that they have postcard collections of their own. When I hear about their collections, I always wonder, why do you collect postcards? The reasons are pretty varied: they have sentimental value, they commemorate something special, or they were passed down to them. Asking that also helps me reflect upon why I collect the postcards I do.

Do you collect postcards? Why? I usually ask readers to comment below or tweet me, but since I’m not on Twitter until July 1st, you can comment or contact me through this form

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  1. Liana – I love reading about this project, and can’t help wondering if there’s a direct link with your diss work on ideas of “home.” (The postcard represents an “away” place, in comparison, how does that function?) I look forward to hearing more when you’re back online!

  2. Liz Covart says:

    I am going to miss you on Twitter, but this book project sounds so interesting the hiatus will be worth it.

    I don’t collect postcards, but I love to send them. When Tim and I moved to California, we took a month to drive from New Hampshire to California. We stopped in plenty of out of the way and interesting places. Postcards were a way that I could share these places that most of my friends and family members would never get to. It also served as a way to stay in touch–there was no Twitter or Facebook back then.

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  1. […] hiatus in an attempt to gain focus and time for her writing. Is this experiment working? See “Make Way for Writing and Thinking” and “Progress Comes […]

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