I have been plagued by a peculiar fixation over the past year or so, possibly even longer than that.
I just thought of a term for it. Null Media.
What does this goofy pair of words signify to me, you ask?
They represent a category of information and entertainment, most commonly, a combination of the two, infotainment, which paralyzes artistry and destroys work ethic. I’ve found this form of media to be particularly addictive and toxic because it typically covers current events, thus presenting itself as important and interesting.
Interesting, perhaps. But important to me as a writer? Almost never.
Ever since I started watching news and current events on youtube, I found myself drawn into this goofy, wasteful format. Not to say news on TV is good. I’d argue it’s much the same. I’ve never been tempted by TV news, though.
Null media provides an insidious medium for what Steven Pressfield, in his book “The War of Art” calls resistance, pushing back at the things I personally can achieve and making them more difficult. The term, “Null Media” may just be a fancy way for me to say “news distractions” but it’s tough not to think of these issues in the world as important.
Well, for me null media has broken one of the productivity rules I did not realize I had created for myself years ago.
That rule? For me, it applies to life, not just art.
Only work on projects that you personally can complete.
As an independent author, I’m a solo artist. I don’t call upon other people to make my stories except for some very specific elements (The ones requiring reader response during editing). I have a support network, but I don’t rely on them to do any of the work for me. I nearly loathe the idea of collaborating with another writer.
So, imagine my surprise to discover that when I listened to these activists, entertainers, and news-people on youtube, I often start feeling like my approach to life is inadequate. What do my stories do to change the terrible situation the world is in? By making my work feel unimportant, null media has contributed to my depression over the past year or more.
All media requires a contribution from its viewers, if only in time and attention.
Positive media provides a sense of satisfaction. Null media? Only void and depression.
What kind of bullshit is this? I’ve been paying attention to the worst events of the world as if they were some kind of terrifying soporific. I cannot keep lending my eyes and ears to every hopeless, emotionally ruinous programs. In the name of staying informed, my productivity has suffered. Yet, the addiction remains strong.
Well, there are only so many things I can do, only so much time each day. I can’t afford to piss away minutes or hours on the news. I never did until recently. I’m sure I’ll know enough of what’s going on without having to listen to the same verbatim spiel about Saudi Arabia from a youtube host every day, and sometimes more than once a day.
This post is here to help me take a stand. I have avoided null media for the day. Now, I really need to keep that up. I predict that every day of ignoring world events that make me feel powerless will improve my state of self-awareness and productivity.
Thanks for reading. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.