Ditching the social internet thing…..

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.

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8 Responses to Ditching the social internet thing…..

  1. Lynn says:

    You’ve described the whole Facebook-Twitter phenomenon perfectly – it really is like a royal pig-out which leaves you feeling a little bit unclean afterwards.

    Good for you for following your gut. You can always go back if you change your mind.

    Everything on Facebook and Twitter is sooo fleeting. A couple of days ago (when I should have been painting) I followed a link on someone’s Facebook page to an interesting story. Read the story, wanted to go back and comment on it, but I couldn’t even find the entry with the link – in a matter of hours it had become stale as yesterday’s bagels. I get an almost panicky feeling that I can’t keep up with the pace.

    There isn’t the same forum quality as you have with blogs. (I do hope keep your blog this going!!)

    I like you last post and want to comment on it when I have a bit more time.

    Anyway…back to work for me.

  2. Treggiari says:

    Thanks Lynn. It’s weird how easy it is to fall into the trap of all this social media, and like most things it’s not all bad which is why choosing to opt out is difficult. I will certainly keep the blog going (and thanks for wanting me to).

  3. MonicaSGS says:

    Want to keep up with new books and such going on. Am I just not seeing it or is it not on your site?…. how do I subscribe to your blog so it will come to my email when you update? Don’t want to miss out on one of your works!
    And don’t put too much weight on what others are posting. I have seen my friends with these grand lives, only to find out later that they are exaggerating quite a bit.

  4. Treggiari says:

    Hey Monica,
    I think you can just follow me with google friend connect. Up there on the right hand side….
    I usually post news in the news section of the blog. The last item of interest was about my non-fiction novella, Love You Like Suicide. I have a book out on submission, one in revision and I just started working on something new so hopefully there will be more news soon.
    Thanks for your comments. I agree that there’s a fair amount of embellishing going on (me included) but it does sink its envious claws into my soul and distract me from work, so I’m happy to be blissfully ignorant.
    Jo

  5. Scoot says:

    Good for you! I have been tempted many times to do the exact same thing. I find myself falling into the trap where I spend more time checking social media sites than communicating to the person right next to me. Good luck on your new goals for the year! They sound perfect.

  6. Treggiari says:

    Thanks Scoot. Scary how we spend so much of our time looking at a box rather than looking outward!

  7. Your words read as a carbon copy (I’m old enough to remember those) of my own thoughts and experience with both Facebook and Twitter.

    I deleted my Facebook account a couple of years ago and let my Twitter account run on idle. It was a great liberation not only from the little psycho-emotional traumas of such falsely promising and ultimately deeply unsatisfying pseudo-communication, but of time, precious time to write more and read more.

    Recently, after a long break, I was persuaded to return to ‘social media’ as the only way to go these days in promoting writing/blogs and so on. I quickly fell back into the old uncomfortable pattern.

    This post caught my eye because I was just trying to decided what to do: delete again or attempt to have a more managed and disciplined relationship with it? There is no doubt that Facebook and Twitter do bring people to my blogs and other work.

    Your reflections here have certainly helped me clarify what i intend to do, shall do now. I shall keep the accounts but not go there. I will simply ‘share’ both my own work and the work of others to them ‘from afar’ as it were.

    I already feel liberated, just thinking of not seeing those wretched ‘timelines’ anymore!

    So, thank you. I think you are wise beyond measure. I hope that ‘social media’ will prove, in the end, to be a passing fad rather than a vision of our society’s future.

    • Jo says:

      Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting, Austin!
      I think there is good in Facebook and Twitter and both are invaluable as promotion tools and so important to writers for instance who do need to self-promote in our modern age. However I don’t think I have lost anything by removing my personal accounts and keeping things strictly business which works particularly well with my Facebook author page because anyone can post items of interest on it and it becomes less about me and more about the work.
      Jo

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