Tomorrow morning, Dan and I will embark on a short trip to Traverse City, where we plan to explore Sleeping Bear Dunes, visit Cherry Republic, tour several Leelanau wineries, take a scenic bike ride on the Old Mission Peninsula, and venture across Grand Traverse Bay on the Tall Ship Manitou. I’m pretty darn excited, and yet in classic, last-minute fashion, it’s Sunday night and I have yet to pack – which, of course, means that I’ll have to keep this post uncharacteristically short.
Over the weekend, while I was juggling too many tasks as usual, I thought a lot about my newfound activities on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the blogosphere at large. I considered the possibility that, as many of my online pals have stated about their own activities, I spend entirely too much time engaged in such social networking pursuits. But do I, in fact, spend too much time? And, if so, is it really wasted time, as so many have lamented?
Several months ago, I would have said “yes,” but I’ve grown up a lot since then. Although I’m still a work-in-progress, as is my novel, I’ve made a recent observation – and I wonder if others (like my husband) will consider it a rationalization instead. Regardless of what anyone else believes, I’ve found that, rather than hindering my communication skills, Facebook, Twitter, and blogging have actually improved my writing ability, and here’s why.
While I’d agree that having to write in succinct 140-character snippets on Twitter and responding in equally short sound bytes on Facebook would seem like a mere pandering to the short-attention-span nature of the modern world, I actually think such brevity forces me to use my words wisely and carefully. And the same can be said about writing my blogs (including this one, American Nomad, and the one pertaining to Hollow Souls).
Although it would be easy to view such blogs as online journals and unload my mind and heart accordingly, the fact is that they’re not journals in the traditional sense. With blogs, I have to hold things back that I might otherwise divulge in a private diary (such as incidents of a too-personal nature or true feelings that might cause a relative or a friend unnecessary pain). Instead of limiting my creativity or personal growth, having to write in such a way has actually taught me that, sometimes, less can indeed be more – that it’s often best to hide a few things and let the reader fill in the details. Since I’m presently in revision mode for my too-lengthy novel, this lesson couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
10 hours ago