The thing about social media, about using it, is that people can respond to each other. That’s the whole point. But sometimes I forget that I’m speaking to other people and instead pretend I’m speaking to myself. I send statuses and tweets into the ether expecting nothing. For sure, this makes me feel better if no one “Likes” or “Favorites” or “Hearts” something I say or post. But also, it freaks me out when people actually do respond.
Last night I tweeted:
Nandini responded. And not just responded, she also encouraged me. And she wasn’t letting me off the hook with kind words and a pat on the head. By the end of the exchange, what might’ve been a lackluster attempt or a failed experiment I’d bemoan later in another tweet became a deadline. She told me to report back, that she’d write with me until the following day — no devices allowed until writing was completed. For me that was impossible, but I took that as no Facebook or Twitter, which was still rough.
I can always use a reason to stay off Facebook, but Twitter? I cringe even now to think about. No Tweets? I tweet everything. Almost everything. More than TJ, my mother, or any of my ex-boyfriends would like. A little reluctantly, I agreed, because I’d put it out there on social media and now I had to follow-through. And really, here was motivation to get my ass back at the proverbial desk. I put my phone down for the night. I couldn’t tweet, so I resigned myself to going to sleep. But I couldn’t drift off. I kept thinking about what I would write, which sources I would use, and most importantly, the title.
I woke up excited. It was 4:30 am, but I had a bounce in my step. The drive to work seemed to take two minutes instead of twenty. I was on auto-pilot. Where to begin? Where to end? I had to have a plan. And then it came to me — memory dump. So, between phone calls at work, I had a notepad opened, and I wrote down every memory, thought, feeling & idea I could think of — no filter, no artistry, just get it down.
On my lunch break, I surfed the internet, looked for sources to check into later. Okay, I’ll admit, I peeked at Twitter. I had to do it, but I immediately felt guilty and went back to researching. At the end of the day, I emailed my memories to myself. The drive home was a exactly like the trip there, so fast, I hardly remember getting in and out of my car. In the house, I’m not sure if I spoke to my boyfriend or not. I came right in, changed clothes, walked right out to the balcony. Sat there for twenty minutes. Came in for a legal pad, went back out. More memory dump.
And somewhere in all this I recognized that I was excited, not exactly about the subject, which is not a happy one but excited to have a project. I love having a project. I love having a deadline, the shorter the better. Unbeknownst to Nandini, I had nothing new to submit to my workshop group. I was dreading trying to write a new piece, but somehow this felt different. And I think it was because she told me I could do it, that she expected me to do it, and that she would do it, too.
Now almost twenty four hours later and two hours from her deadline I’ve written over a thousand words, two thousand if you count this post. And I’m rushing through this so I can get back to writing some more. But look, mom, a dog CAN learn new tricks. And a writer can still get excited about writing. And social media doesn’t always suck. And women checking in and challenging other women to be better is awesome. Thanks, Nandini.