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.