A major task in my city is freeway driving. Trying to get from Point A to Point B is an impossible issue. Traffic is a snail’s ride on a parking lot, causing significant irritations, especially when time isn’t on your side. Recently, when I was in a holding pattern, within a ¼ of a mile from my exit—a thought came to me watching all those solo drivers. ‘How many were alone, had family, or had friends.’
Writers know all too well what it’s like to drive solo: click-click-finger-strokes on the computer’s keys, or the quiet of pen to paper. Unless you’re a buddy-type of writer (I tried that, and now my buddy and I haven’t spoken for years!) working with another person—you are alone, because pulling together a novel is a solitary game. You might have an editor waiting in the wings, but the first draft is on your dime.
But when the solitude ends—we crave company, and not just company from people who don’t get us, appreciate us, and cheer us on—we need— like—friends on social media, who follow us! Our friends, people we’ve never met, flood us with smiley faces. We are no longer alone! We feel loved! It’s as if our cyber-space friends can read our minds. Someone understands what it means to be a writer! We count the number of friends as if each one were gold stars. Their value and name suggest no matter how isolated we are, these friends will comfort us (probably more than our family who aren’t sympathetic to our years of passionate writing and still without that movie deal!).
Recently, more recent than I care to admit to, I expanded (at the request-shove-push-of my marketing guru) my social media. I only wished to write, which was fine if I’ve already sold a million books! When I gave in to the pressure, it felt like coming to a new high school in the middle of the year. I had no friends and was unsure of how to make any. It was perplexing (and sometimes still is so).
If you write, even one chapter every several months, as I’ve done in the past (life got in the way of life), you want someone to read it, other than that person looking back at you in the mirror—YOU.
I realized when my recent novel The Last Merry Go Round was published a couple of months ago, I needed to play with other kids in the sandbox. The motive was there, the story was there, and so, I started my social media expansion thing. I have to say in all honesty I LIKE IT. I’ve made friends who don’t just smile back but engage in thought-provoking dialogue. I’ve also found groups where I can promote my work and discuss the craft, like: Book Promotional Library, Coffee House Readers, Nook & Kindle boos, Promote Your Books, Indie Authors, Writers & Readers Unite, All Things Books—to name a few.
Now, I’m not saying that social media takes the place of face-to-face conversations—how could it? I still prefer engaging in the direct exchange of ideas, but a good second is when I get a message from someone who has read my blog, read my book, ‘liked-followed me’, and commented and re-tweeted on what I’ve written in response to a subject. I try not to be the Confrontational Mean Girl. As a writer, there is the gift to choose your words wisely!
We’re in a new decade, and one thing I’ve learned is that each year brings on new challenges, adventures, problems, solutions, and new friends.
So, before I go and check my new messages, I want to say ‘thank-you’ to the hundreds—stretching into the thousands—in My Social Media who Email Me, Encourage Me, Follow Me, Tweet Me, Liked Me, Friend Me, Linked me, travel on my writing journey, read my blog, bought my book and gave me reviews—I’m very grateful.