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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Finding My Creative 29th Year.

I read somewhere a while ago that Twitter is forcing people to become better writers, in part to be able to succinctly state their thoughts in 140 characters, or less, if you want to add a link to a photo or a video. I thought about this a while and initially agreed, because I regularly found myself struggling to find the exact word or phrase to best convey what I was laboring to express while leaving as little room for error concerning tone or implication within that tight parameter. This wrestling with the language felt like building upon my descriptive skills and whittling down my emotions to the most precise point and actually relearning a bit of vocabulary diversity, all for the betterment of my eventual longer-form writing.

A ways out from that, I sometimes find myself wondering if my enmeshment with Twitter is actually ruining my writing a little.

Don't get me wrong -- for the instant engagement with friends, industry leaders, news, and points of interest (don't forget the cat photos!) Twitter just can't be beat. To talk boring gross stats for a nanosecond, it's where I have my largest consistent following, and I don't go through and block the spam bots as much as I should because meh, if they're not pestering me. I've actually made friends on Twitter that I've never met in real life -- though FaceTiming with a select few is damn close to real life for someone who prefers not to leave the house very often.

But where I used to go for the blog interface to vent the minutiae of my mind, now I tweet on my fancy new phone that I'm still not really that apt at using. Sometimes I get a response, most of the time I don't. The immediacy of the gratification of being "heard" has worn off a bit -- some days I barely tweet at all because I'm too busy clicking through to links about feminism and politics and education and health care and to the blogs of the people whose lives I've become almost preternaturally involved in because I barely have time to sit down and actually read through my feed reader anymore (I know there's an app for that but I'm picky) and of course, OF COURSE, the cute animal pictures and GIFs (OMFG GRUMPY CAT COME JOIN MY HERD) but all of that doesn't really help me write -- or worse yet, think -- in more than a sentence or two unless I'm really riled up about something, which happens a lot less than it used to because I'm tired and if I can't strip it down to a mental paragraph, I'm probably blowing it out of proportion.

So I tell myself.

But last week I didn't blog at all, not for lack of things to write about, but mostly because to flesh out the thesis points in my head into something I'd find worth reading felt daunting, especially when I could just check out BuzzFeed to make me smile and tweet something of quasi-substance as it came to me.

That's not very conducive to honing my voice or telling my story, in the long run. Unless I intend to create a stream-of-consciousness compilation narrative someday, then my Twitter archives are freaking gold.

For as much good as the internet and the communities I've found in its 0s and 1s, I need to be more cognizant of how I interact with it. I need it to feel more like when I Instagram my kids in moments of them-ness, because I want to sear that image onto my brain for the rest of its functioning days and what better way than to digitize and publish it where no computer crash can eat it (I'm still mourning the first three months of Kiedis' life on that broken hard drive, still in my basement, waiting for me to figure out how to get my life from before then back off of that thing) and where someday, I hope to be able to show them the zig-zagged story of them, of us, as it happened and not just in verbal retrospect.

I need all my social media to feel more like that. Which is why I'm a little crazy about my machines, because I want them to work as quickly as my manic brain, in tune with my actual desires and not what someone somewhere thinks I want or need in a device or program or app. I need them to be an extension of me so that when I do have inspiration strike or see something I want to remember forever or even just have a burning question I need answered, I can facilitate it before it slips away to the push and pull of my everyday life with diapers and preschool and cat puke and laundry, a shard of light lost forever to the mundanity of the grey inbetween.

But all of that to say that with my impending 29th birthday next Thursday (EEK!) I want to do something with my social medias to document that year. A legit 365 project of some sorts, so that I can both document my life as I live it, but also find myself and my words in longer, deeper strokes than just a tweet or even a blog post.

I'm just not sure what. 

I've thought about everything from a selfie-focus to the #mileaday thing I've seen pop up a couple of places, but nothing has quite grabbed me, not just yet. Because in all of my documenting of my life, I think it's been a really long time since I've focused on just me (as opposed to my family or my house or what have you) and worked on something to expand my creative process and the way my thoughts and sight and hearing and perspective all flow together to best weave the story I'm still quite scared to tell because I don't know where it's going, where I'm going, quite yet.

So I'm asking for your help. I want to know how you think I should capture my last year of my twenties (I ... get slightly queasy typing that, for serious)(honesty over shame, people) -- something beautiful and solid and that would show growth and my perspective and would be something that a year from now, I could sit back and look at and think I've really caught something here, with this and have evidence of this journey within myself and hopefully with you all to bear witness if not participate in with me.

Bonus points if I can Instagram it. :)

Give me your best 365 project ideas to close out my most formative decade yet ... and GO!