No, I have not finished my first draft yet. Taking a hiatus did help me focus on a problem in my plot that I needed to solve, and I've made good progress. Only six chapters left to write.
I've been missing the blog-o-verse and my blogging friends a little too much, however, so I'm back.
Facebook is just not satisfactory as a replacement for blogging. Yes, it's interesting to keep up with the lives of my Facebook friends. But I have seen very few significant conversations on Facebook. The rapid turnover of information promotes superficiality--which is, I'm sure, exactly how many people like it! No need for real connection, no need to support one's opinions, and no need to sustain a relationship if it becomes burdensome.
Bloggers want to open up dialogue. They express their thoughts at more length because they value thought itself, not just the opportunity to "connect" or make a superficial impression. I'm over-generalizing as I know a few people who hold substantial discussions on Facebook, and there are plenty of bloggers who have nothing to say. But common sense tells me that Facebook and Twitter are called "social media" for a reason. They're not "thoughtful media." Common sense also tells me that most people in the world like to socialize, but few of those people like to think.
I have found new friends through blogging. We have much in common, and through our blogs and occasional emails, we have come to appreciate one another as real people. I have not made any new friends through Facebook. It's too promiscuous and too shallow.
In fact, one interesting effect of Facebook is that it removes the illusion of commonality with many acquaintances from the past. Because people don't follow the rules of polite conversation as strictly as most do in "company," we see their real convictions and lifestyles more clearly than we would at, say, a high school reunion. I'm no exception to this phenomenon. I can almost guarantee you that a few former acquaintances have hidden me from their news feeds because I occasionally refer to church or God. That's their prerogative. I've hidden a few of them for profanity or ranting about politics. :-) (I don't enjoy ranting from either end of the political spectrum, though I appreciate calm, intelligent discussion.)
In addition to connecting me with people of like mind, blogging helps me focus and discipline my daily thoughts. If I find that I don't want to blog about what I'm thinking on a certain day because it's not healthy, then I must consider whether I need to change my private attitude.
In short, I just like blogging. I think it's good for me in a way that Facebook most definitely is not. And I like reading my friends' blogs.
I do want to post less frequently than I did before my hiatus. Posting every day can drain that writing energy I need for the novel. Instead, I'm going to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
I realize this makes no real difference to anyone but me, but I thought I'd tell you anyway.
It's good to be back.