Hey lovely folks, just a heads up: In 2019 I'm quitting social media. This includes Facebook (including Pages and Messenger) Instagram and Twitter. It also includes social gaming like Words With Friends and Draw Something. I don't use the term lightly. I'm quitting. Just like you might choose to quit anything that has become a bad habit like smoking for example.
I want to be healthier. I want beat my lifelong anxiety issues and addictions. I want to make more lovely things, rest more completely and have higher quality interactions with the humans I love and the communities I belong to.
I want simplicity. Social media opens up so many more inboxes to check, conversations to honour and every imaginable kind of notification. For me it's a major hindrance to deep, creative work like writing, arranging and recording. Also the more inboxes and sources of notifications that scream at me constantly, the more baseline anxiety I experience. My ADHD means I'm inconsistent and easily overwhelmed so I am always living with guilt and shame for neglecting someone else’s demands of me. I want to severely limit the potential sources of those demands.
It's an addiction that I justify by calling it a source of connection. Yet the actual amount of real connection is shallow and wide and polluted by advertising and spam, I'm getting dopamine hits from scrolling the endless, mostly meaningless novelty on my feeds and I waste around an hour a day or more sometimes and have almost nothing permanently of value in my life to show for it.
I want to be more intentional about connecting with a smaller circle in a deeper level in more conducive, focused environments. Walks, coffees, dinners, phone calls, video calls.
I want to be more intentional about my leisure. Once upon a time I use to draw, paint, sew clothing, edit fun videos, make my own jewellery and other crafts, ride my bike, read more novels. These pursuits always felt renewing and reinforced positive aspects of myself as a creative being. They have disappeared almost completely from my life and been replaced by a vortex of social media, digital games, Netflix and YouTube.
I want my smart devices to go back to being subservient tools and not tempting black holes for my attention. My dad's death this year reminded me of how finite and precious is my time and attention.
The temptation of the staged environment of posting is toxic to my sense of self. The constant subconscious process of comparing myself to the way others curate their identities online activates the worst aspects of my ego and natural competitiveness. I want to be authentic above all else and yet I untag unflattering photos, share stuff and edit my output with constant awareness of how these things will potentially affect the reader's judgement of me. I want to be free of this and have more mental space to be comfortable in my own skin.
I want to more intentional about my work too. I want to put more time into becoming the kind of musician I admire and less time talking about it and seeking reinforcement. As my life currently stands after being on this planet for 46 years I cannot for THE LIFE OF ME get into a healthy practise regime. The musicians and songwriters I most admire just quietly go about the process of making a metric fuck-tonne of stuff day after day without having to shout to the rooftops or hint at whether they are good enough in order to get compliments from friend and stranger alike. There is no compliment that feels as good as playing/singing/writing/arranging well, and if I only ever do it in small informal environments I don't care. I've learned that about myself and it's way past time to act on it.
My only good reason for holding on to social media for the last couple of years is one that will become a sacrifice I'll acknowledge in the event of relinquishing it. Though I'm definitely turning away from being a full time touring musician, I still intend to keep writing music and producing professional quality recordings. I also want to keep playing shows and doing the occasional tour. I can't deny the value of a well produced social media promo campaign. But in future I think the occasional employment of a publicist will suffice. I also think it will be a wonderful cue for much better care and maintenance of my email list and website. Losing these platforms of promotion are just not worth all the other costs.
In conclusion I need to emphasise: this is not a criticism of your choice to stay in this environment. So many of you do great work using social media as a tool for connection and creativity without it impacting you negatively. I will miss your posts but the act of missing them will be a driving force for seeking you out IRL.
Anyone who wants to stay in touch with what I'm doing musically can join always my email list, from now on I’m actually going to have the head space to write emails!! Here’s a link or copy and paste this into your browser window: http://lizfrencham.com/mailing-list/
Any of my dear friends who want to line up a coffee, skype or bushwalk in the new year - you have my number and my email.
Even as I go to press POST with a huge sense of relief I'm already aware of the accompanying rush of dopamine and adrenaline in the act of saying something 'dramatic' and 'serious'. This seems like a pretty dumb way to manufacture a sense of achievement considering my creative potential as a human. I don't want to be this Liz. I want to go and write a song. I will continue to carefully curate my environment to make it easier to do just that. (Ha! I'm just laughing at how often I'm going to check my feed now in the tantalising hope of responses from you!! Thank goodness I'll be out of reception in a couple of hours and soaking in the peace and lack of reception of the Victorian high country. Blessed, humbling TREES for a couple of days.)
I'll hang around here til the new year, but after that. Bye bye beautiful distracting screen drugs. I'm-a going COLD TURKEY.