Digital Lives and writing

This morning the first thing I did on waking was to grab my phone to check my twitter and facebook feeds. I did not pick up a pen, my journal or the masses of books that I want to read.

On the train to work I, like others, barely register the world outside as we are sucked into the world of the screen on our phones. Outside we pass through the rounded hills around Bath, through Somerset and Wiltshire countryside and can see sunsets, deer, a bird of prey, a flush of blossom, secret lives of travellers and homeless living in shacks and shelters by the railway tracks out of view of everyone else. At first I made a game of it, I tweeted about my journey every day through the frame of the train window:

But, after two years of this journey I barely register, I am sucked into tweeting to others, telling them about the Novel Nights I organise, promoting other writers at the event I’ve organised. Nikesh Shukla’s Meatspace is all about the hold that digital has on our lives, our obsessions and paranoia with being noticed

As a writer it’s all pernicious – we should be creating, not endlessly consuming other content, unless we can use the content creatively, like

On the other hand I still have a sense of wonder that this medium exists where our thoughts and words can be discovered by complete strangers. I’m a child of the 60’s and grew up pre-computer when getting into print had a completely different cache.

cuckooAs always the issue is quality, but, as writers we owe it to ourselves to concentrate on our work, to write, edit, rewrite and then send things out.

Like the cuckoo in the nest we need to protect our own creativity and not mindlessly feed our cuckoo phones.





Writing comedy and social media for writers with Nikesh Shukla


Novel Nights is on April 16th at the Landsdown. 8pm – 10pm. Tickets £5

Guest: Nikesh Shukla

Readings by Hari Ramakrishnan, LE Turner, Maithreyi Nandakuman and AAAbbott