Thinking about focus

After a fairly successful 2011, I’m thinking about 2012 and what it holds for me. Sure, it’s easy to say, “Be more successful” but I’d rather break that down a bit… Trim the fat. Focus. Boil off the unnecessary things to bring the real meat to the surface.

Successful is a funny term. I managed to get my life drawing classes really going strong, the Jen Dixon Arts website is looking good, and my art itself has jumped to the best level I’ve ever known, but that’s all getting air and time squeezed out of it by the pressures of social media*, and keeping up with it all.

When I really weigh things up, I can’t help but to feel the pro and con columns are uneven. Grossly so. Years ago I was cool as a cucumber with a blog and email. My family and friends** dipped in when it suited them; they emailed when they had something to say. Flickr has been a really useful tool*** for easy access to my day-to-day photos and I’ve kept up visually with the lives of others I care about. Then came Twitter…

I’m an old Twitter user by most standards. April of 2007, I think, though I could look it up to be sure. But you know what? It doesn’t matter when I joined it. Tweeting became a huge part of my life. My blog suffered. My once strong command of writing suffered through lack of use (however my ability to be concise has really skyrocketed). The main online arteries to my life started to back up with distracting sludge, 140 characters at a time.

Now don’t get me wrong. I ENJOY THE HELL OUTTA TWITTER. But therein lies the problem. I’d rather tweet than write, I’d rather tweet than sleep, I’d rather tweet than work… That sounds extreme, and no, I’m not addicted, but Twitter is fun, social, I keep up with loads of people and… and…

And I’m not quitting it, but I am not going to be a slave to it anymore. It takes up too much time and too much of my reality. I’m taking some of me back.

And speaking of taking up too much time… Oh, Facebook- you cunting conduit to the procrastination underworld, you. Facebook was something I joined reluctantly † and I can only just about forgive myself for doing it. I do tell myself it’s to keep up with people in far-flung places, family I have left, and a handful of friends, but you know what? Facebook is for lazy people. We horde friends and get nosey about former lovers and classmates and Like, Poke, and Share instead of writing a fucking email. Facebook has become our private detective, and our biggest waste of time when we should pick up the phone or put a pen to paper. I have no love for Facebook. You may have noticed.

I’m through lying to myself about the social media succubus that pretends to be useful for my career, networking, or site traffic. The site traffic I get from Twitter to my art site DO NOT BUY. They don’t even email for more info. Facebook traffic? SAME THING. My efforts there are essentially useless and detrimental to my production. Why would I want that?

I’m at a point in my life where two things are happening: I’m focusing on what is real and what matters and I’m being true to myself (more). If it distracts me from becoming a better, more productive me? It’s getting cut or cut way back. If it keeps me from using my sparking brains on more than 140 characters of real writing? It’s getting cut or cut way back. Does it hinder or further me and what I want out of this pitifully short existence? That’s the new unit of measurement.

I want to paint more, draw more, sell more art, make more art. I want to feel the closeness of a circle of friends that want to write and receive emails and {gasp} real letters. Let’s make a phone date or a video chat date. I want to know you and I want you to know me, not just to share a photo of a kitten in a cantaloupe hat or forward third-rate meme poetry (in a bad font) about what a special person/thing/feeling/beer means to the world. I want to walk more, read more books, make things happen.

I want more.

You should too.

This ain’t over.

* Let’s put a truer name on it: distractions
** Real friends, not the faces gathered like trading cards on Facebook
*** an item or service that makes my life easier in some way
† kicking and screaming