Scrolling

I’ve been scrolling through social media too much lately. It gives me that slow drip of dopamine that takes the edge off…well, life, I guess. Much of it is in hopes that I can make some kind of connection. Someone will respond to a comment, someone will like a post. That little feel good moment is short-lived enough. I find myself scrolling as I watch something on TV, a movie, a show, anything. I find myself scrolling as I drive down the road and it is too quiet and I’ve heard my songs for the hundred thousandth time. I need to build more playlists, these are stale. Some moments I find that I just can’t help but scroll through social media. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, email even. Nothing is usually happening. And if it does, the hit never gives me a rush that lasts long enough.

I do realize it is a total waste of time. Much as a smoker will sit on their porch, sucking down that cigarette for five minutes, knowing full-well it’s killing them.

Yesterday, I sat down and wrote all afternoon. I put in about four hours of work on a story, from start to finish and even did some decent editing. It’s ready to submit. I gotta say, those four hours or so of crafting that story gave me a bigger seratonin hit than any amount of scrolling on social media. Any amount of instant gratification I could get from buying something I don’t need. Better than a lot of things.

The bummer is when you are running on the high of creating something, the next logical step is to start sending it off, and that’s where the major buzzkill happens. I don’t know why it is this way, but when you create something, you’ve got the gatekeepers to deal with. Yes, I’ve read the articles in the magazines I submit to. Many of them are underwhelming. And that top 3% of the photojournalist climbing to the top of a Patagonian peak or running up a river in Afghanistan are uncommon, and amazing, but I swear many of the rest are just somebody knew the editor and got a green light.

My point is you create something you love, and you get a big “fuck off” if you get any response at all, so a 20 something can talk about top five Michelin star-rated places for brunch in Fiji. Anthony Bourdain said something about watching people do things you will never do and probably have no ability to do is a lot like watching porn. So a lot of these publications are catering to this mindset. And just to let you know, recently I saw requests at the agency I ghostwrite for where someone got to stay at an exotic location and was hiring one of us to write the article for them. Somebody read their brief and wrote the article they probably got paid a dollar a word by a publication. The ghostwriter made $40.

Fuck. I mean, I can at least write! So why is some socialite/influencer getting paid bank to write and have the experience, when they aren’t even writing it themselves? So a story like mine that gave me so much joy to write can be chucked aside by an editor like it means nothing. But if I had accepted that assignment, I would have made an influencer $1500 and they would have gotten the byline and the opportunity to go to the next place and do it all over again.

It just doesn’t seem right. Seems to me a lot like the popular kids in High School paying the nobodies to do their homework all over again. They get the scholarships and their picture in the paper, and the nobodies just keep carrying them for the rest of their lives.

So these stories are a lot like sending your kids to school. At home, they are amazing. Your kids are brilliant and caring and every day you see how far they come. You send them to school and you get calls about how they are spacing out during lectures, not applying themselves, or testing low on their standardized tests. Or maybe “You should have your kid checked out by a doctor for…”

So maybe I’m reluctant to send my story out just yet, because the minute we do that, we assign value to our words and feelings, only to have them completely disregarded by someone who probably has several cats and really bad breath.

Sometimes that can be a humiliating kick in the knackers. People wonder why Emily Dickinson never submitted her poems to anyone. She loved them too much to see them hurt.

So, I’m scrolling until I muster up the courage to have my story shit on by the half dozen or so editors actually accepting unsolocited submissions. I can hardly wait.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s