Changing It Up, Part Two

I’m continuing my self-imposed social media lockout, and I’m coping pretty well. I keep informed about key news via email updates from a couple of major news outlets. I still pick up my phone with the plan to check social media but stop before reinstalling the apps. And I pick up my phone less often. It was hardest to resist when I’d see my spouse check her accounts over the weekend.

This week, I’m reviewing my email usage. I get a lot of daily and weekly newsletters, email lists, discussion group updates, etc. And wading through all of that has become draining.

Maybe you know that feeling.

I unsubscribed from all the mailing lists related to signing online petitions. Frankly, those constant requests for more made me feel like a terrible person. Rather than letting them make me feel guilty, it’s time for them to stop contacting me. I can find them again when I have time or donations to spare.

I’m a fountain pen user and fan, and I signed up for email updates from several online fountain pen sellers and fan sites. But I only read the emails from two or three places and delete the rest. I’m unsubscribing from the rest. Yes, I might miss someone’s really killer price on an exclusive fountain pen, but I probably wouldn’t buy that item anyway.

I did the same thing with sports updates, culling the number of teams and sports I get notifications for. My inbox still overflows each day, but more of what I receive is actually something I want.

The hardest cuts to make were the writing-related materials. I felt like a bad writer for unsubscribing from newsletters often found on those “best of the Internet for writers” lists. If the “experts” say it’s a must-read resource, shouldn’t I still receive it? Even if I deleted it unread each week?

Frankly, I can’t write all the things I want to write. It’s not humanly possible. Just like I’ll never manage to read all the books I want to read. Too many interesting books are published each year, and I’ve got a backlog that stretches for decades.

None of us can do all the things all the time. And it’s time we stop expecting ourselves to.

I have a core group of writing-related emails that I kept. They number five or six, and most of those are a daily newsletter. I find a lot of useful information in the majority of their posts, so they passed the test.

But I trimmed a lot, and I likely won’t miss them. A few cuts that gave me a sense of relief. They were newsletters that focused on marketing and building a platform, and reading them made me anxious. I’m not ready to assemble a marketing strategy for the book I’m still trying to revise. Sure, I’ll need to take those steps at some point. But I don’t feel I can think about it right now.

I still feel guilty about the cuts I made, but I can always re-subscribe if I find that I want those materials again. Right now, removing them will give me fewer emails to sort through, and I’m hoping that will increase my writing time.

(Photo by Thomas Bonometti on Unsplash)

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