Something you hear often across the interwebz in the writing world is writers who are mega overwhelmed by social media and ultimately choose to unplug for some period of time to recover or get their writing groove back on or whatever. Sometimes it’s that they’re letting social media take over from writing. Sometimes it’s just that they’ve over-extended themselves.
I confess I’m always left scratching my head at this.
Apart from the fact that some of these people are just not approaching social media the right way (dude, go get Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone and step away from the crazy making!), I simply CANNOT FATHOM unplugging from social media.
Because social media is my lifeline.
I live in a small town. I am not, in real life, a terribly social creature. The older I get, the more introverted I become, such that hanging out with people tends to exhaust me. I like doing it on a limited basis, with a small, select group of people, but I am NOT what you would call a social butterfly. And absolutely no one I know here is a writer. Which means that often when I go hang out with friends, I wind up sitting there like a bump on a log, eyes glazing over while I hear long and detailed accounts of battles with pink eye, the latest kid’s stomach virus, how school’s going for the kids, and the other detritus of Normal Life for Non-Writer People, and when I make efforts to talk about what’s going on with me (usually writing related), I am often shut down. Not on purpose, not out of any kind of maliciousness or meanness, but just by sheer lack of understanding or interest.
I cannot tell you how isolated that often makes me feel.
This is, perhaps, the biggest reason I am in love with social media. Because local doesn’t matter. I have dozens, HUNDREDS of writer friends out there in the world. People I can always talk to about my latest launch idea, or gripe about synopses, or squee about my latest review. People who understand and GIVE A DAMN. Which is not to say my RL friends DON’T, in fact, give a damn. They just don’t get it. Just like I don’t often get the kid thing because I don’t have kids (how anybody can tolerate toddler shrieking without an instant migraine is a deep mystery to me). We are not in the same place for relating.
But with Twitter I can hop online at any hour of the day and troll through #MyWANA or #ROW80 or #amwriting and find other writers, both friends and strangers, who CAN relate and are happy to chat about whatever. I can’t tell you how much I value being able to do that. Because it illustrates to me each and every day that Kristen is right: We are not alone.