Life Without Facebook

It’s been several weeks since I quit Facebook and I wanted to share a little of what it’s been like for me, both as a person and as a writer trying to make my way through the traditional publishing gauntlet.

Pro: I’ve been much more emotionally stable since quitting FB which has led to deeper and more frequent work sessions on my current novel. When I’m mentally churning about something, it’s hard to get into a place where I’m really focused. No junky FB input=clearer brain=better work.

Con: I do not wish friends a Happy Birthday until I accidentally remember several days after the fact. I did not know when a friend’s grandmother passed away recently. I found out days later and felt sad that I hadn’t been able to reach out when it happened.

Pro: I do not write statuses that are either superfluous OR controversial. I do not spend one second wondering if what I write will be misconstrued or ignored. I do not fear the rage police.

Con: I kind of don’t know what’s going on.

Pro: I like people more now that I don’t know what they’re saying online. I pray more for them instead of judging them. I’m helped to do this because I’m not in a constant state of outrage or disagreement. I’m a kinder person in my thought life.

Con: I can’t see my literary agent’s FB posts. These are an easy way to get the latest industry/agency updates or anything else she thinks we should know. It makes me uncomfortable that I have to email her with questions she might already have addressed.

Pro: I have less anxiety now that I’m not bombarded with endless hot takes on sensationalized news stories by people who may not know what they’re talking about. I’m sleeping better than I was.

Con: I’m a writer, and I’m not building a platform on the largest social media site on the planet. I don’t seem socially conscious or concerned because I’m not publicly commenting on issues. I’m basically invisible.

Here’s something interesting, though: a few weeks after quitting FB, I got a personal email from the editor of a major print and online publication (to be revealed later) asking me to write a column for their Jan/Feb edition. When I asked how he found me–after picking my jaw off the floor–he said, “I was on your website, though, honestly, I’m not sure how I ended up on there!”

To be clear, I did not query this publication. I did not go looking for an opportunity to platform build. This came to me, and I was shocked. As a Christian, I immediately knew it was a little sign, a gift from God reminding me that I don’t have to go insane in pursuit of publication or praise or platform. That he has my life in his hands and that, no matter what happens, I can trust him.

So, am I glad I got off Facebook, all things considered? Yes. I’m infinitely better off without it, and I have no intention of going back. But more importantly, I’m reminded that I do not have to do what everyone else is doing if it isn’t good for me. You don’t, either.

The Ennui of Presence

As I delve deeper into novel writing (and rewriting), I find myself growing quieter online. It has something to do with needing to limit mental distractions, yes, but it’s also about keeping my thoughts from draining out in a slow dribble to people I don’t actually know, thereby dissipating any creative energy I might have. The more I don’t say, the more I create, is what I guess I’m getting at.

The elephant in the room, of course, is that one needs an online presence in order to find readers for her work. I get that it’s boring to metaphorically turn my face to the sky and rip handfuls of hair out while a Hans Zimmer soundtrack plays in the background, but just know I’m over here doing it.

This guy has an online presence. Photo by Pixabay on

Because the less time I spend reading other people’s half-formed thoughts (and sending my own into the ether), the better I write. Or that’s my hunch, anyway.

There is absolutely no point to this post, except that I wish I knew what platform building actually is (and, yes, I’ve taken the marketing courses, so I know what experts say it is). I wish I knew if all of it had any real purpose or if it’s some Kafka-esque exercise in futility, and it turns out we’re all just wasting massive amounts of time while become dumber and less motivated to do anything real.

The irony isn’t lost on me that I’m sending these half-formed thoughts out into the ether for people I don’t know when I could be writing…