I’ve said that my ambition is to be able to add “author of…” to my LinkedIn profile.
But I quit Facebook. I don’t Instagram. I wouldn’t know how to Pin or Tumbl anything, and though I have a Twitter handle, I don’t Tweet and I barely check on the people and media I (allegedly) follow. And I don’t even use LinkedIn that much, either.
So, correction: what I really want is to one day be truthfully described as “reclusive author of….” (followed a modest list of reasonably selling books that a few obscure but well-respected reviewers variously describe as “poignant,” “heartbreaking,” “funny,” “laugh-out-loud,” “insightful,” or “searingly honest.”)
But it seems that blogging carries with it some kind of obligation to engage in, and with, every form of social media imaginable. I find that off-putting. And exhausting.
Because dammit, I’m trying to WRITE, here.
For me, writing requires more than 240 (is that how many you get, now?) characters, minimization of distractions, quiet contemplation, and time. Sometimes accompanied by classical music. I don’t claim to be some kind of brilliant artiste (we’re saving that for the reviews, right? HA!) but I want to write stuff that is worth reading. I don’t believe that every tiny detail of my daily existence (what I ate, where I went and how I got there, the current state of my physical being) is worthy of…what do we call it? Sharing.
AAAAAAAK!!!! Sounds like something you do “in group.” (Which isn’t to say that it isn’t valuable…in group. If that kind of sharing is your thing, more power to you. Don’t hate on me. But don’t expect me to read all about it on every social media platform imaginable, either. Unless it’s really funny. Or poignant. Or heartbreaking. Or laugh-out-loud. Or insightful. Or searingly honest. etc.)
I do understand the importance of audience.
I like being on stage.
I like singing in public.
And I want people to read my stuff.
But I regard the audience-performer and reader-writer relationship as personal, one-to-one, intimate kind of thing. Each audience member or reader brings their own stuff to the theater, or the page (or the pixels).
As a performer, I experienced the freedom (and the catharsis) of total honesty on stage – because the theater is a place where everyone agrees to pretend that that what’s happening isn’t real, when it is actually more real than any reality the audience will go back to after the show.
And as an avid reader since childhood, the intimacy of what happens between the page, the brain and the heart is really important to me.
Now, I’ve put myself on the page side of that intimate relationship, and found a kind of freedom, there, too.
I used to wonder about how authors of very personal books felt at book signings, meeting so many people who now knew… all that about them.
Some of my family and a few of my friends read this blog. So I know that they know stuff about me they didn’t know before; stuff that you, my blog friends, also now know about me, and about my life.
But it’s OK – because I’m discovering that the same kind of agreement exists between reader and writer as exists between audience member and actor: we’ve made the choice just to know that we know what we know, and keep it – intimate. Personal.
It’s weird, I know, for something so public to be so… private, but I think you get what I mean. Claudette wrote about it recently. I’ve written about the pain of grief and betrayal, the revival of love, the embarrassment and absurdity of things I’ve said and done, about regret, and gratitude and striving to do better. I hope some of that has gotten down under your skin, and given you a chance to feel what you need to feel about those things, or think about them, or just laugh, at least. And it’s that part of “sharing” that makes it worthwhile, to me.
But I don’t find it necessary to reduce those experiences to 240 characters, or a photo of a pizza. Or a cat.
Unless it is Sophie, expressing her opinion:
Because, cats. It’s the Internet, after all. HA!
Wishing you some quiet contemplation, classical music, a good read, and funny cats, I remain,
Your social-media-impaired but always up for a good blog read,
(Featured image by ijmaki from Pixabay. I just noticed for the first time that even though it isn’t required, I could be crediting the makers of the images I use from Pixabay – and I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so you may see these image credits from now on – if you don’t, it’s because I made the image or took the picture).
12 thoughts on “Socially Impaired”
What a wonderful post. 🙂 And thanks for the link-love! I guess that post I wrote was really hard for me to share, but I felt so…poignant? Is that the right word? to put it out there…I don’t know.
You’re right about the intimacy of blogging/writing and sharing by way of words. The community. Us writers sharing with each other, supporting, reading, disagreeing even. It’s so…personal. I can’t remember the last time I had a lasting conversation about topics like this in real life…except the one I shared in that post you linked to, in which I was excluded (by default, because I didn’t WANT to explain my point again)…
Anyway. As usual, it was great to read you. 🙂
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David Sedaris, Nora Ephram and a whole host of others used daily experiences in their lives to write their stories. One of David Sedaris’ siblings said she hated to speak to him about anything because it would wind up in a book. But your life is your story. So are your experiences. Even if you carved a book out of your blog posts – which you could do easily, having read yours for a while – you’d have a very rich and rewarding story to tell. Who knows? You could be reaching someone who’s desperate to hear your message. Or sympathetic. Sharing your life after loss is like lighting a candle in the darkness. Anyone who’s gone through an experience such as yours (and continues to do so) will have a sister in the blogverse. It’s what got me to read your blog. Though my losses were different, they’re parallel. As I read through your successes and trials, I know I’m not alone out there. As, I’m sure, many others feel the same.
As far as social media is concerned, FB seems filled with hate and politics these days. LinkedIn is invaluable when looking for a job – your resume can be accessed instantly and you can attach samples of/links to your work. Twitter is good for a research tool. I follow a lot of sources for my research, so when I want to catch up on something, I whip through my Twitter feed and usually come onto something useful and interesting. Plus following Emergency Kittens is worth the price of admission! Plus there’s a few great communities out there. I love #WritingCommunity. Very supportive.
Agents and editors will also look for your social media platform. My agent has told me to maintain at least a blog, Twitter and FB page. I hardly post on FB but I’m active and Twitter and my blog. When you submit something to either an editor or an agent, the first thing they check is your social media presence. If either accepts your work, they’ll ask you to build up one. I still have a hard time with FB but I have two blogs. I try to maintain those AND write! Not always an easy feat!
Anyway, keep up your blogs. I enjoy reading every one.
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Thank you so much!! I know I should work harder on my “social media presence,” but I’m a total novice at Twitter – wouldn’t know what to “tweet” about. And, I had to choose a slightly different handle (“ridiculouswidow”) because someone already had “ridiculouswoman.” Weird.
I had a page for my blog on FB which just had an intro and a link to each post – if I can figure out how to have just that page and delete my personal one I’ll do it- I quit because of the politics and nastiness.
I so appreciate the support from a real, “agented” writer! I’m learning as I go and finding some wonderful “blog sisters” out there. Thanks for reading and I’m glad you’ve found something in my blog that resonates.
And thank you!
You can tweet about anything. Visit the hashtag #WritingCommunity for starters. It’s a lot of writers commenting on their everyday travails and trials and successes. Or just tweet about you. “Wrote 500 words today – woo hoo!” or “It’s raining here, I’m cold, going to make some coffee” – you get the idea. And yes, tweet your link to your blog. You pick up a lot of followers that way. Ditto liking and retweeting.
You can delete your original FB page, but Mark Z doesn’t make it easy. If you Google it, you’ll come to the answer a lot quicker than if you dig around on FB’s site.
It took a LONG time to get to where I am. Started writing in 2013. Still haven’t gotten published yet. But hopeful I will soon! Getting an agent takes time. Get your manuscript together. Have good, objective Beta readers. Find a real writers group. The kind that has published members (traditional as well as indie). Join it. Go to workshops. They help you develop your craft…and give you the support you need! I’d never be able to find my agent without the group I belong to.
Lastly, believe in yourself. Every single writer (there are NO EXCEPTIONS) believes they have no talent and their work is worthless. But ask them about their book and boy, they’ll talk a blue streak.
Please check out “Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity” blog. It will help you in your writing journey.
And yes, as one who’s lost nearly everything (job, parents, estranged husband, way of life, sanity) and had to start all over again, your blog sure does resonate!
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Thanks, I appreciate the advice! I’m sorry for your losses, but inspired about how you’ve managed to keep moving ahead. I’m trying to get WordPress to let me follow your blog but it keeps asking me to log in when I’m already logged in! Grrr! I’ll try on the laptop tomorrow.
I believe you already follow me on my other blog, “Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman.” This one’s science-based. I write sci-fi so I keep this one up for that.
The greatest gift my Dad gave my brothers and me was a sense of wonder – back during the “space race,” if there was some cool celestial event in the middle of the night, he’d wake us up and let us look through his telescopes. I remember a clear view of Jupiter’s red spot from our back yard. Sometimes we’d go down to the beach to get a clearer view of the sky. So hooray for science!! (And science/speculative fiction – big fan – William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Frank Herbert, Ursula LeGuin, Niven/Pournelle. I like first contact stories. So keep up the great star-writing!
Writers write, we can’t not write. Publishing is another adventure altogether and social media is the necessary ticket to come to that departure/arrival gate. How my co-authored book ever got published 11 years ago was a fortunate fluke and I am glad it happened. But marketing? Another skill I lack- but believe if your ambition leads you out into the world, it is one that is worth embracing. I love that you have such good advice to pursue support- without connectedness, it is so difficult/nearly impossible. I am inspired by your perseverance. I wish you well, always
Thanks, Judi – I’ve been too shy and anxious about seeking the support if a writer’s group – the idea makes me nervous – but then, pretty much everything makes me nervous! I did have two great “beta readers” and will ask one more – who doesn’t know me personally quite so well and will be candid – the others were too – just too reticent with constructive criticism. So, deep breath, one foot in front of the other! Hope you are feeling well – always good to hear from you!