I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time…
Being me, I wavered back and forth, back and forth, like a willow in a strong breeze before finally deciding to shut down my personal Facebook page and hide my Twitter.
This action, though hardly life-changing, made me feel strangely adrift.
It was so hard to decide. On the one hand it’s nice feeling like I’m part of a larger community of writers, readers and bloggers. On the other hand, it takes up big chunks of time (I have absolutely no discipline!) and is distracting.
The thing that decided me though was this. I love getting messages from readers. I love seeing what my agent and writer friends were up to or what good fortune was shining on them. I love feeling in touch with friends old and new, and sharing photos with my wide-spread family BUT–
It is an oddly empty experience in some ways too, like eating a whole bag of potato chips/cheezits/lindt chocolate balls. It feels good. It tastes good. But is it good for me?
It seemed that the more I surfed, the more dissatisfied I felt. In fact, it bordered on a feeling of depression and I wondered why?
I think that because posting a status update or a tweet reduces life to small bites, it almost takes away the uniqueness and specialness of all those moments. I wasn’t really savouring those moments because almost my first thought was to go post a witty or smart update about whatever it was my hilarious children had just said/done or whatever brilliant, incisive thought had just switched on in my brain.
And for the most part, people (myself included) post about the exciting/wonderful things they are up to and it gives an incomplete picture of what life is really like. Life is a series of pretty dull non-events sprinkled with a few thrilling ups and some heart-breaking downs. It’s not all thrill all the time and we cannot/should not expect this. But I found myself feeling envious of other friends who seemed to be having all the luck and it made my own experience and my downtimes seem lacking. And I know, for others, my updates would cause envy and maybe a lack of confidence or excitement about what’s going on in their lives.
But that is misleading.
Most of the time we are all working. Terribly hard. And though in my case working terribly hard can lead to a book at the end of it (yay!), the journey isn’t that cool and nothing much to talk about. It is just hard.
I want to enjoy the journey. And I do. I’ve been trying to write books for quite a long time now and I know most of my pitfalls, the times I slump and need to bring out the whip, the few and most beloved days when things just flow. I LOVE being a writer but it’s just my job.
I’m not one for resolutions (at least not at the beginning of the year) but my two resolutions this year are to be as good as mother as I can possibly be, and to write to the best of my ability and to keep on doing that.
There’s a fair amount of self-promotion involved in writing these days. You can’t really pull a Salinger and hide from public view although some people can do it. I love that Suzanne Collins bows out of pretty much all the Hunger Games hoopla. (She just does the work).
And I love communicating with fans and I love doing blogs (my own and other people’s), and interviews and I’ll continue to do all those things but really there are other people (my agent, my editor, the publicity team) whose jobs it is to promote my books. My books are where the focus should be, not me and my recalcitrant hair, and my weird squishy ego.
It’s only been a few days and I still feel somewhat adrift but I also feel free.
And I’ve been writing something new that thrills me in a quiet way. So many quiet moments to look forward to and so much more time than I had before.