In Doris Lessing’s excellent novel The Golden Notebook, the main character, Anna, has four different notebooks in which she writes about the different aspects of her life. She struggles with this, and in the end somehow manages to combine the four different notebooks into one – her golden notebook.
I have thought of this book often over the last few months, and increasingly found myself identifying with Anna. While I don’t write in notebooks any more [at least not often], my numerous social media accounts serve pretty much the same function. Each represents a different area of my life, and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to keep the different fragments together.
I hasten to say that this is totally a problem of my own making. I am a social media butterfly. I love social media, I love socializing on social media, but boy, it’s kind of doing my head in.
There is this blog, where I write about specific aspects of my life that are meaningful to me.
There is my semi-defunct other blog, on which I’ve written a few posts lately and where I itch to write more, especially now that the political situation in Iceland is so crazy, and we’re about to get back into power the two parties that ran this country into the ground pre-economic meltdown.
There is the IWR Facebook page, which grew out of the IWR blog and which I’ve tried to scrap but which keeps pulling me back – mostly because I have this irrepressible and compulsive need to shoot off my mouth about Icelandic affairs.
There is the Little Book of the Icelanders Facebook page, which is tied to my book of the same name and on which I try to post stuff about the Icelanders in general.
There is my personal Facebook profile, on which I post political and social stuff concerning Iceland and is intended primarily for Icelanders. It differs from my IWR Facebook page in that, when interacting with my fellow Icelanders, I don’t have to set up elaborate explanations for things – like I do on the IWR. I also post a lot of the silly stuff that makes FB fun – for everyone, not just Icelanders. That’s important, too. And of course I socialize – I like and comment on posts from others.
Then there’s Twitter, which is just so HUGE and everyone’s there saying important stuff and I try not to sink too deeply into because I know it could just consume far too much of my time and mental faculties if I let it. I try to tweet and retweet stuff, but frankly most of my Twitter activity is auto-posted statuses from Facebook. Still, I have to say that I have learned an ENORMOUS amount about publishing and self-publishing on Twitter. It’s a goldmine of information on just about everything.
I also post to Instagram, which I’ve been exploring a bit more lately and which I adore.
I’m also on LinkedIn, but quite honestly I’ve never really got the hang of it and hardly ever do anything there.
I also have a couple of Tumblrs, a severely neglected YouTube account, plus yet another Facebook page that has basically evaporated into thin air – casualties of my unbridled enthusiasm for new social media opportunities. Like the Pintrest account I’m dying to start, and the Facebook page I’ve been thinking of setting up for my new book, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?
~ Sigh ~
Finally I sat myself down the other day and had a serious talk. No more social media accounts, I said. NO MORE.
Because all these different social media sites are driving me nuts. I want to be involved, I want to do what I’m supposed to be doing [according to all the blogging and marketing gurus out there], I want to explore all those different sides of me that each one represents, but … I just can’t do it. There’s too much fragmentation, and too much fragmentation means not enough whole.
And so, like Anna I continue to struggle and search for that elusive Golden Notebook that manages to combine all those fragments into one. Alas, I fear I may never find it.
I too loved The Golden Notebook-it was my mantra for years and even now I can’t bring myself to throw away the original tattered, brown, falling apart paperback. But lucky old Anna living in the age before the internet where social networking was more relaxation over a drink in the pub or a ramble on the telephone rather than this deadline driven task oriented inter-change we are so easily caught up in. It’s seductive but keep it under control. I love reading your posts Alda- they are lively and thought-provoking. But they must satisfy your needs by nurturing your creativity not driving you to distraction or destruction. Keep calm and carry on….but at a pace dictated by you!
I don’t know how you do it, but you do.
You happened to have mentioned an author you like in this last post.
Given that you also write fiction, it would be interesting to know
which other authors you like and whether, of these,
any have influenced you approach to fiction.
Not that I’m lining you up for next post or anything.
(If I wrote a blog, my latest subject would be the appalling press conference
of the RCMP, where they spent 28 minutes praising their numerous agencies
and how well they cooperated with each other, and two minutes on the actual
subject matter – the terrorist plot. I watched it to the bitter end with mounting horror).
Thanks Sylvia and Rod! ~ Will definitely think about writing a post re. which writers influenced me. It actually got me thinking about that today.
I have cut back drastically on my social media impulses because, like you, a new type of social media platform is like candy to me. Unlike you, though, most of mine are private, though I did have a fun project on Tumblr that I maintained for a year. (I admit that I finally buckled and started exploring both Pinterest and Instagram for the first time now that I have time on my hands, which I swore to myself I wouldn’t do.) My question to you is: how do you filter the high distractibilty factor out of your life and actually get around to writing novels, having a private life and working? I need to control the outlets because of my OCD tendencies, which is why I could never allow myself to be as public and prolific as you. Is there a 12-step program?
Andrea – well, you see it’s taken me a couple of days to respond to this comment, and I haven’t updated this blog for … can’t remember how long. So I’m not all THAT prolific. 🙂 – But to answer your question, I use the SelfControl app when I have to work, or write, or study, to shut out all the websites that I tend to get distracted by. And I prioritize. Cut back on the social media stuff when I have other things to do. But I do confess that I’m almost always insanely busy. In fact I was just saying to EPI this morning that I can’t remember the last time I had a day to just kick back and do nothing – even just getting up and having a leisurely breakfast. Today, for example, is a Sunday, and I was delighted to have a full day in which I could JUST focus on getting work done. Never mind relaxing or other enjoyable activities. :/
You are SUCH a grownup. (Glad somebody is.)
Hahaha, I don’t know about that!