We Are Never Getting Back Together

I’ve not written a single blog post since the world melted down and began pouring itself over us all like molten lava. Anyone who’s been alive recently knows what I’m talking about, so I won’t bore you with with sentence fragments like, “In these unprecedented times…” By now, heaven help us, the times are precedented.

I only stick my head out of the hole I dug a few months ago (whew! That was some foresight on my part) in order to say I’ve quit social media, specifically that dumpster fire known as Facebook, and I swear I’m not ever going back, no matter what. This is no biggie, of course, except that I also have a manuscript that’s being shopped to publishers as we speak. Being on Facebook seems to be the kind of virtue signaling publishers like. Seems to suggest you’re trying, that you understand how much selling books is your responsibility and not theirs.

But nothing, no book deal, not even a million dollars (I mean this), is worth being “connected” in this particular way. Especially not after the molten lava.

As my teenagers would say, stepping away from Facebook is my way of YOLO-ing it. In other words, I’m throwing caution to the wind, shaking my fist at The Internet, and quite possibly lowering my chances of getting traditionally published (even though everyone knows social media doesn’t sell books), and I’m super, duper not sorry.

I’ve decided that I want to be sane. Sanity is boring but peaceful, most of the time. If I have to choose between it and a book deal, I choose the former.

I’ll let you know if it makes any difference in the end.

P.S. I hope everyone is safe.

Surviving the Social Life

Am I allowed to say something that’s already been said a million times?

Okay. The internet is mean. Social media, at least. Twitter specifically. I’ve only dipped my toe in the social whirlpool in the last couple of months. Even then, I only did it because you know what “they” say: you have to be searchable to survive.

I can’t even call it a love/hate relationship cuz there’s no love.

Most of my interactions have been pleasant enough, up to this point, because I’ve worked hard to keep them that way. But today I felt the Twitter wind in my face when I least expected it. I’m not cut out for this kind of anonymous conflict (and, to be clear, I didn’t court it with thoughtless or mean words. I asked a follow-up question on someone’s post). I’m not a troll, but I was treated like one. The whole exchange left me confused and sad.

It’s one thing to develop a thick skin because I’m sending my manuscript out to publishers who might not understand it or (worse) ignore it. That kind of toughness makes professional sense, though it’s not easy to cultivate. It’s another thing to try and change my personality.

Today left me wondering if social media toughness is something I need or want to develop. And let’s say I can’t. Then what? Do I avoid the whole scene altogether? Is that publishing suicide?

What I know is this: writing is extremely important to me. But so is emotional wellness. I want to be published. But I also want to feel safe.

I continue to wonder if both things are possible.

On Surviving ‘Big Opportunities’ Part Deux

I’m back from the ACFW conference. After going to bed at 9 p.m. for the last two nights, I feel like I might be getting back to normal (it’s a process that involves a little crying here and there). The conference was rewarding, but it pushed this introvert fairly far as I shook hands, flashed my lanyard, and explained what my novel is about to people waiting to tell me about theirs. Each night I fell asleep with my mouth open, Golden Girls blaring on the hotel TV, while other conferees partied and swapped business cards.

Some takeaways: be prepared that your best laid plans might not be the ones you stick with, and that’s okay. Be nice to people, just because, and let them be nice to you. Don’t keep eating the spicy dessert because you can’t think of anything to say to the table full of strangers.

close up of human hand
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

More takeaways: my novel is interesting to agents. I will have to write a proposal. It’s good to be humble, but it’s also good to put yourself out there. Just because you want to keep “creative control” doesn’t mean you can’t compromise in order to get some help. Everyone defaults to Facebook when it comes to social media and building a brand except for one person, and she said YouTube was better. I’m trying to decide which of those I find more horrifying.

Final takeaways: my teenagers got taller in four days. God is good to me. I really, really like my own bed.