My writing surges up and down a sine wave. I have years when I clutter the calendar with posts and years when the lights are still on but the stage sits empty. It’s now April and my last post went up at the end of August, so you might think it’s been another dry year. It hasn’t. It’s been the most consistent writing year I’ve ever had.
The roadblock for me isn’t writing, but writing all the way to the end. I have a folder with a dozen half-finished drafts of stories and essays I really want to write and really, really haven’t finished writing. So last August, when I started a small project that grabbed its own reins and dragged me behind, I committed to seeing it through. I’ve stayed with it and ignored the temptations that appeared along the way. I’ve let it sit now and then, but I’ve kept coming back and it’s grown to 55,000 words. I’m taking it to a good stopping place before I take up anything else. After that, maybe I’ll trust myself to work on more than one project at a time.
I’m taking time to post this because I’m effectively removing myself from Facebook. The news about them in recent weeks troubled me and I hit my breaking point when I read they were in talks with hospitals about matching patient medical records to user profiles. I have friends for whom Facebook is the Internet, so I’ll keep my account to stay in touch with them. But I’ll remove all the data I can and won’t post anything new. This is your heads-up that if you like what I write, you won’t be able to follow it on Facebook anymore.
I’m still easy to find. You can check https://jeffcovey.net/ now and then, or you can click the “Follow” button there to receive an email message when there’s something new. If you’re into RSS, there are feeds there. And I’ll continue linking new posts from my Twitter feed if you also want my more transient nonsense.
Facebook says I joined in March 2009. I’ve always had an arms-length relationship with it. I’ve arranged to have my activity elsewhere noted there and I’ve enjoyed resulting interactions with friends. I’ve gone to see what people are up to when they cross my mind. But I’ve never used it the way Facebook intends. I’ve never read Facebook. I’ve never looked at the News Feed. With luck and skepticism, I’ve come through unscathed after nine years.
If you do use Facebook regularly, please be careful. Understand the ways it can affect your mental health, including ways it’s intentionally engineered to do so1. Facebook still projects a shiny, happy facade, but underneath, it’s become a weapon for states and corporations, a toxin for societies, and a cruel psychological experiment for individuals. If you use it at all, use it sparingly. And go outside.
- They canceled the experiment reported there (conducted without the subjects’ consent), but Facebook regularly does the same and worse under the pretense of “showing users what’s important to them”. ↩