Writing is a practice. If you don't keep at it, you can get rusty. Words become hard to find. Threads of meaning drift off into the ether and are lost. Time gets short, then nonexistent. Even when you find the time, you feel rushed.
We're always so rushed these days. Rushed from one place to another. One job to another. One life to another. We compartmentalize, break our day into digestible bits so we don't get overwhelmed. Those bits and pieces get scattered in a stiff breeze.
All of our connectivity means that we're never too far from our other pieces. The past intrudes on the present. The future chirps at us from a short distance away. The push and pull of past and future scatters us further. The present can't breathe. We are never truly alone in this moment.
I've been having a hard time finding words. My train of thought drift off after a few hundred words. I forget what the point was. The fire that fueled me gets doused. Time grows short, then it's nonexistent. Other shit comes up. By the time I remember what I wanted to say, I'm out the door.
If you're a long-time reader of my blog (is that even a thing?), you've likely already noticed this. I post once a week, if I'm lucky. This most recent drought has almost lasted a month. I'd like to write more. I've been trying to. But nothing sticks.
So I'm paring down my pieces. Culling the distractions that keep intruding. Clearing the chaff out of my life. Doing my best to keep the past in the past and the future just out of reach. I've gone from two Twitter accounts to one, unfollowing a big chunk of people in the process. I finally followed Google Reader's lead and flat-out got rid of my RSS feeds. The sources have been folded into my Twitter account. That way, I can still read stories and articles I'm interested in without making two stops. I've trimmed my subscribed sub-reddits. Reddit is a massive time-suck in general. There are all sorts of amazing things, but sifting through all of the distractions is half the battle.
I'm even contemplating, for the umpteenth time, deleting my Facebook account. My friends and family back home and outside of the Pacific Northwest keep me hanging on, though.
There were simply too many directions that I was pulling myself in. Once you get the world around you spinning, it's difficult to make it stop. I'm trying to gradually slow it down, put a governor on it, if you will. I simply don't trust myself not to mash the accelerator to the floor in the future.
It feels good so far. I'm less tethered to my phone. I feel more connected to the world around me. I'm less tense. This has all happened over the course of the past few weeks. It's stunning how quickly change can set in.
Of course, I'm typing this on my iPad. Like I said, gradually slowing things down. I'm also relying more and more on the "cloud" to write. This is an admittedly weird sensation for someone who grew up in an era before the internet was a thing.
I'm no luddite. I took to computers and the World Wide Web like a duck to water. I rode the wave of Napster and have had a Dropbox account for years now. Still, I was reluctant to trust that once I save this document, (or, more accurately, it autosaves itself) it will be there when I come back to it.
On the plus side, I can pick it back up on my laptop or on my phone whenever the urge arrives. I'm hoping this means more output, from a writing and blogging standpoint. I've always been a "lightning strikes" type of writer. Bouncing from place to place, job to job has curbed that, to a certain extent. Now, if the urge strikes, I can answer.
Is the cloud - Dropbox, Instapaper, etc - any different from pen and paper? I'm not sure. But really, it's just a part of shedding the things that were dragging me down. I'm moving forward more lean and agile than I was before. I feel like I've been dragging around a trunk full of stuff - the RSS feeds, the extraneous subreddits, the second Twitter feed - and now I have a svelte backpack I can carry with me anywhere.
Will this mean more writing here on the blog? Maybe. I hope so. Though I could just end up constantly revising and rewriting because it's so damn convenient. But - fingers crossed - ease of use will equal more output. I miss writing. I miss this part of my voice. So here's to a new way forward. I'm curious to see where it takes me...