Realizations on getting back to writing

First post on WordPress.

A few weeks ago, John Mayer quit Twitter, despite having more than 3 million followers.  And I loved his reason:

“When you convert your art into the art of real-time brand management, I suddenly have no more interest in it…I’m not a brand, and I don’t refer to myself in the third person. I’m a dude who plays guitar and writes songs,” he said. “When I’m done writing and recording them I will market them. Luckily for those who are cracking their knuckles ready to knock my point of view, that won’t be for a long while. Because good s–t takes a long time. And this is going to take a very long time.

He makes a very good point.  A lot of good things in life take time.

I feel like in a world where there seems to be mass ADHD – people feel the need to process so much information in as little time as possible.  I guess it comes from the very human desire to feel connected and informed.  But as a result, I feel like I end up overloaded and tired with stimuli, and utterly distracted.  I guess in the modern age, the two most rare commodities are time and attention.

I have a confession.  In my desire to keep up with technology trends, I willingly went along with it.  In fact I loved it.  Seeing tweets and retweets,  from interesting people.  I recognize it takes great skill to be succinct and witty in 140 characters.  Brevity is talent.

But for every good tweet or status update, there’s probably 15 inane ones, like verbal diarrhea.  But people sometimes view this as license to just tweet whatever comes to mind (including diarrhea).  Thinking with the thumbs gives everyone a feeling of unbridled freedom, but it does nothing to improve humanity.  Literature is not advanced, no new technology is discovered.

I realized that with the advent of new media, I am fast becoming a mere consumer of information, and that I spend more and more time reading tweets.  I start feeling like I’ll be missing out if I miss reading my twitter feeds for the day.  By the time I’m done, I’m too tired to do anything else, much less write.

I also realize most of my favorite things to read while growing up are works of considerable length, wherein authors and writers actually took the time to generate content worthy of mass consumption.  They share their time, they hone their talent, they bare their souls.  Some of the most recent books I’ve read probably took years to make:

  • The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss) – I’m following Pat’s blog (www. patrickrothfuss.com) to see his progress on “Wise Man’s Fear”.  It will be out in 2011, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it.
  • The Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson), Mistborn – I also follow Brandon’s website (www.brandonsanderson.com), where he takes the time to annotate his  works for his readers,  a “behind the scenes look” much like we see as extra features in DVDs of movies and TV series
  • The Dome, The Stand (Stephen King)
  • Pillars of The Earth, World Without End (Ken Follett)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling)

Now, I’m not saying people should start just reading lengthy works of literature and fiction.  But my point is that people should realize that sometimes it takes a good investment of time to really create a work of value.  I dread the world where everyone just tweets, and no one takes the time to write.

That’s why I restarted blogging and writing.  I remember a time when it was pretty easy for me to express my thoughts in writing.  I used to write essays and short fiction.  And I loved it, even if not a lot of people read it.  It’s good therapy.

Lately, I feel like it has become more difficult.  It’s weird that in the age where so much information can be made public in a short amount of time, I retreat become a more shy individual.  Because despite these technological advances, I have the same problem – I still care too much about what other people think.

I have to graduate from facebook statuses and tweets.

On a personal level, I guess my only gripe is that in the busyness of life, and the added distractions, I don’t get to slow down and think of what it is that I really want to do with my life, and think of what’s really valuable.  I realize I have to restore order into my life.  Get back to writing.

And twitter? I still think there’s value to it.  But I have put it into proper perspective.  So I’m not quitting just yet.  I’ll place a quota on myself – 2 inane or uninteresting tweets, and I’ll unfollow.

My handle – @floydobaggins

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