Jon Skovron is an author of fantasy novels for adults and teens. He lives just outside Washington DC with his two sons.

The Value of Being, Social or Otherwise

This post started off as a short link to this 52 Tiger write up of DayOne, a Mac Journal app for OSX and iOS. I use it not as a true journal, but just as a log of my writing progress for the day. I don't obsess about word count, but I do find that having some tracking method keeps me focused.

Anyway, the latest version of DayOne brings photo and location support. But it's still a private journal, with almost no sharing capabilities. I found it interesting that someone was recommending it to be used as a travel log. I actually had the thought, "Now what would be the point of a travel log you couldn't share?"

And that's kind of scary. For just a moment I actually couldn't think of any reason to capture a moment other than to post it to Tumblr/Twitter/FB/etc. What about all those composition notebooks I filled up with years of observations back in the 90's and 00's when it took too much effort to update a web page every single day? Was there no point to those? Of course there was. And there still is. So I think perhaps sharing a bit less is ok. Perhaps even necessary, so that I can reclaim some of the intimacy that comes from recording observations that only I will read.

The irony that I'm posting a "share less" statement on Tumblr is not lost on me. There is a balance. I'm not one of those authors who came grudgingly to Internet culture. At the risk of once again revealing myself as the insufferable hipster I am, I was on Twitter, Tumbler, and yes even Gmail, before it was cool. The practice of learning a new coding language as a fun weekend project is not foreign to me. I blame extended early exposure to Douglas Adams, but I'm sure there are other factors as well. The point is, I lurv all dem interwebz.

But lately I've been backing away. The experience of Phantom ringing made me wonder just how inured I am in the status update compulsion. And I started experiment with how often I check All the Things. Can I limit myself to checking email only once a day? Can I leave my phone upstairs while I'm downstairs? On a vacation or some other time when you're already out of your habits is one thing. I find that quite easy, actually. But doing them on a "normal" day, I found an alarming sense of withdraw. At first anyway. And then after a few days of sticking with it, I found I was actually more relaxed and present in the moment. Craziness, AMIRITE?

Look, I could never turn away from all the wonderful people I've met online. It's such an excellent way to build community over great distances. And many of these people I've since had the pleasure to hang out with in person, and some of them we've forged into strong friendships. I have no interest in giving up on it completely. But the reality is that I just signed a contract to write the sequel to Man Made Boy in less than a year, and I've never written a book in that short amount of time. And trust me, this will not be a small book. So I have to push up my sleeves and make some room here. And since I'm a single parent and still holding down a full time day job, there ain't much room to start with. So the non-essentials have to scale way back.

Now, I don't really think anyone is going to notice if I'm posting less here or anywhere else. Hell, I actually already scaled back a lot in the last month or two of revisions and I'm sure nobody noticed that. The reason that I'm sharing this at all is just in case there are others out there who, like me, are feeling a bit of tech fatigue and in need of a bit of a break. Sometimes we need to regain equilibrium. To get still. To get quiet. To pay attention.


Curiosity, Patience, and Life on Mars

Moving Past Doubt