Taking a News Break

The last couple of weeks have been genuinely and literally amazing as far as news goes — so much happened every day, of such importance to the nation, that it’s been hard to keep up or to process it all, or (and this is important) to get into a frame of mind to do a whole lot of work. The very last of these is not great for me, as I have a book due soon.

So this week I’ve decided to go on a news diet; basically, to not go out of my way to read news or to follow it on Twitter or other social media (I’ve also muted the word “Trump” on Twitter, to aid in this project). I’m sure some of it will leak in regardless; I’m just not going to go out of my way to find it. What I’m saying is, I’m going to go ahead and let everyone else be on top of things for a bit while I recalibrate and try to get my work/outrage balance back into whack.

This is, incidentally, something I suggest everyone does from time to time (I mean, if your job doesn’t actually involve writing about the news), especially these days when just the daily dose of news can be overwhelming. Pace yourself, folks. It’s going to be a long haul.

23 Comments on “Taking a News Break”

  1. Glad I’m not the only one. The news seems to be “All Trump, all the time” these days, and it’s just overwhelming. I feel like I’ve aged 5 years in the last four months.

  2. C. S. Lewis famously stopped reading newspapers because he thought they basically reported the same things over and over again in the long run. I at least half agree with him, but I’m not brave enough to just ignore the news!

  3. I’m afraid if I ignore the news, like I’ve tried to do since the election, I’ll wake up dead. But when I watch it, I feel sick to my stomach. I appreciate your help thru this Mr. Scalzi, really.
    I’m old enough to remember Watergate, I remember the names, I remember the faces. At the time, I was a clerk in the House of Representatives document room, and I remember the sense that history was happening right in front of my eyes.

  4. Probably a smart choice. Last Week Tonight actually had to do most of the show being specifically about the last week because of just how much went down in the span of one week, and you can tell they’re overwhelmed by the magnitude of things.

  5. With Trump out of the country, it almost feels like something is wrong. No morning Twitter storm, no lackeys hung out to dry… When this is all over, whether it’s in a few months or a few years, it will take some time to adjust.

  6. I used to read Time (back when they still did journalism) and The Economist to keep up on the world. After a time, I found myself overwhelmed with news of bad things I could do nothing about, and knowing obscure details of myriad things that didn’t really affect me wasn’t noticeably improving my quality of life. So I gave up and took a long break. It was (re)invigorating.

    Nowadays, I try for a prudent balance. I get local, national, and world news from various clipping services, and follow the headline links to get details when it seems appropriate. When something important is going on (e.g., a severe storm, an election), I’ll judiciously focus more on the important things. On the whole, I find this provides an appropriate balance between needing to know and needing to preserve my own sanity.

  7. and in other news President Zaphoid Beeblebrox is galavanting around the universe learning the sword dance while promising weapons he cannot possibly deliver oh right, no news about you know who sorry forgot I will be going now.


    Really, what else needs to be said? Trump and pence and many of the administration are conspiring and colluding about the Russians so much that they should be locked up for obstruction, treason, and conspiracy to be shitheads.

    And this is just 5 months in for fucks sake. 3.5 years to go????

    Nowadays, my news dose is mainly to see if trump managed to set the planet on fire during some 3am tweet.

  9. I have made it to the age of fifty-mumble without ever using Facebook. It can be done! Although if I were running my own business I would need both Facebook and Twitter, unfortunately.

  10. I heartily endorse your decision, sir. Especially since I’m pretty sure I know what book you’re working on just now, and it’s one that I am particularly eager to get my hands on. Yes, I freely admit that’s selfish.

    Please keep taking good care of yourself.

  11. I ignore the national news because one, it’s the same old same old and two, doesn’t affect me one iota like the state news scene. My job is connected to the latter like an umbilical cord, so it’s an absolute must that I pay attention to a news scene in a state that is roughly 1 billion in the hole for the current fiscal year.

  12. I ration my news exposure in as much as these idiots are not worth my having a stroke over, though as a federal employee I can’t totally shut it out.

  13. if you love fiction then spare sometime for N.E.W.S or else just make the habbit to getting fooled by them, as they say ” fool me once,shame on you”,fool me twice,shame on me .

  14. If you’re ignoring the news, then by proxy I’m mostly ignoring the news (since your twitter feed is half of how I get my news). I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I am still on weekly activism lists so I’m still making political calls, but I guess it will be more partitioned to once a week. And major things (like white supremacists killing a black army lieutenant unprovoked :( ) will no doubt show up in the other twitter feed I follow. And I can’t go out without hearing about the horrible things happening locally, which prompts me to make more calls. So maybe not that much ignoring of the news. *sigh*

  15. My way of coping with it is to still follow the news, but spend as little time as possible thinking about the Orange One. You sort of mentally frame it as “the FBI is looking into White House ties to Russia” and just leave his name out of it as much as possible. It helps me maintain my sanity.

    Anyway, if the book you’re finishing is the Lock In sequel, then I am surely very excited for it.

  16. I read the news with my breakfast and then pretty much leave it alone for the rest of the day. If something huge happens, like a local fire or earthquake, I’ll check it out. Political stuff, I’ll read about it tomorrow. Needless to say, I don’t do twitter. I don’t know how you can get anything done with twitter and facebook feeds a click away.

  17. I still get the physical newspaper at home and I find that it is much easier for me to skim over the bits I know will bug me and still get the bits I want or need to know (bridge closure this weekend, thousand person mayoral race, new restaurants, new county levy, etc etc).
    I’ve completely given up on TV news from any source. I just can’t; it drives my heart rate through the roof.

  18. I was on vacation last week. Didn’t follow the news, read papers, twitter, Facebook, etc. Sat on the beach and watched the birds and the ocean. It was nice. I feel better.

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