Am I missing something?

My daughter e-mails me a link to a site, Better Book Titles, very tongue-in-cheek in its recasting of great works into reductive one liners, and I immediately send out a tweet: ‘Spiders Make Great Publicists,’ by E. B. White. You don’t have to be a writer to lol about this. . .

I’m getting the hang of it, the art of the tweet, the curiosity of the follow(er).  I began blogging over a year ago, nudged along by writer/friends, one in particular who spelled out  her own blog’s evolution in an eloquent post, Questioning the Blog. We often talk about serendipitous moments — you open a book to just the page that fits your thoughts today — and today she just happens to have a pithy post about Solitude.

Writers work in solitude, and they crave community. The question I ask myself on any given day is: how much is too much?  It’s only within the last year that I’ve begun moving into that fathomless online sea of networking: I belong to She Writes, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and most recently, #amwriting, lured by tweets from its founder, Joanna Harness, this oh-too-irresistible one the other day: Get Out There and Do NOT Tweet! I post to Scribd via my affiliation with the Women’s National Book Association. I write regularly for smartly.new york.

All of which brings its own rhythm to my workday.  On the best of days, there are no false starts for me. A mug of French Roast at my fingertips, I  take leave of the world outside, pick up where I left off in that other world, the one under construction, my novel. Until that tweet — is it a bird outside? or that avatar of one, a widget? — beckons with its inimitable call: you could be missing something, a vital breadcrumb, follow the links — a breaking news story, a poem someone wants to share,  inside info in the world of publishing. Do I take a break, answer the call? Well maybe a few minutes. I’m stuck anyway, a roadblock. The only way to cut through is to go around.

So here I am, caught in the chatter, voices coming and going, ships passing in the night.  Until something nudges me back, a gentle wind steering me to a quieter shore.   I admit it, I’m deeply awed, sometimes overwhelmed, by the sheer volume of voices asking to be heard, noticed, maybe even acknowledged, mine just another. And I’m equally gratified by the way in which we find one another, like-minded souls who value what that mix of serendipity and searching brings forth.

The only question now is: Do I make the plunge into Facebook?

11 thoughts on “Am I missing something?

  1. Dear Deborah,

    I loved this. I have never used the “you’ve got mail” tone, so I actually have to go and check to see if anyone is talking to me, or saying something I might want to hear. But I do find myself using any bump in my writing to save and go check out cyberspace.

    I don’t know whether this is better than actually getting up and going doing something else-like get a snack-play with the dog–or go talk to my husband–which would probably take more time–but it does seem to be the way I work.

    After a life time of working in an academic environment, when there were always colleagues around to chat with for just a few minutes (between classes, as they walked by your door, as you packed up your stuff to leave campus) I see my brief messages, comments, as recreating that sense of community, and filling up the cup of my imagination.

  2. Ah, Facebook! I just took the plunge myself about 6 months ago because my high school daughters wanted it for themselves and I wanted to keep an eye on what was going on. I do find that, if you join Networked Blogs, you can then use it to post your posts to Facebook automatically, which is really nice to get out the word that you’ve got a new post.

  3. Debooooorah! I loved and relate to that bit of wisdom at the end: “And I’m equally gratified by the way in which we find one another, like-minded souls who value what that mix of serendipity and searching brings forth.” Thanks for referring to my blog post … I just thought about those reasons again the other day. Next, Facebook. I joined not that long ago. For me, it’s a bit like strolling around the village green, bumping into old friends, waving to and chatting with people from afar. Sharing photos and a little music. It’s fun to be found, fun to find others. The other day my post was about the “hive-hum of goodwill” experienced there. I’ll “friend” you!

  4. To Facebook not not to Facebook. You are right, these things take time. I personally believe that Facebook is a must. You can create as many pages as you want (for one book, or just for you as an author) and your blog will be duplicated, which will allow you to have access to new readers.Let us know how it goes!

  5. I too loved your post. Writers are of the sort who like to look inward yet are drawn to see, smell, hear, taste all that is around them, not wanting to miss anything.

    I too find myself, as you so eloquently state: “…deeply awed, sometimes overwhelmed, by the sheer volume of voices asking to be heard, noticed, maybe even acknowledged, mine just another.”

    My kids’ brains are perhaps better wired to flit about from one thing to the next without missing a beat, for I find myself getting distracted, confused even, by the ever multiplying voices which tug me away from my center.

    To even have access to so many stories, so many thoughts and lives and minds, is incredible, isn’t it?

  6. The very face of Facebook leaves me fractious and fidgety and the frantic tweet tweet tweet of Twitter makes me s-s-stutter. Call me old fashioned (again!) but I prefer the smaller, more intimate virtual settings such as SheWrites, and the personal blogs of those I’ve had the good fortune to meet on these smaller, more thoughtful platforms.

  7. Deborah,
    Join us on Facebook. We are harmless (most of us) and we can help promote your articles also.
    I got to get better at Twitter – once they give us 8 days a week. elizabeth

  8. I joined Facebook before Twitter or SheWrites, and only joined because a friend of mine said: “I’m promoting your writing on Facebook, why aren’t you?” I love Twitter because it’s so fast. I appreciate the SheWrites community, but find the site itself kind of unwieldy. I can keep myself focused on my work when I need to, but I just find there is never enough time for everything. So why am I blog hopping again? Thanks for a great post.

    Susan

  9. You can create a fan page for yourself/your book at Facebook, as another individual mentioned above. I agree that social networking may not merely be for publicity of one’s work or for building a platform, but also to reach out to others (helping them and ourselves, since writing can make us “crave community” – as you said). (Your term “solitude” is more specific and better-sounding than “loneliness”, since we can enjoy writing even if we work alone.) At the same time, online social networking, including blogging, can (sometimes) still distance us from other people. We still need to take the time and effort to meet others face-to-face.

    Nevertheless, thank you for stopping by my blog too.

  10. Here’s my feeling about Facebook: Yes, join! First of all, if you’re a blogger, it’s a great way to build traffic. Second, it’s a wonderful resource. I recently wrote a post about drive-in theaters, and, through facebook, I found an expert on drive-in’s who I was able to connect with right away and interview. He then sent me a slew of photos to choose from for my blog. Great resource, great publicity. Also, nice way to hook up with old friends. So, my advice? Do it! Thanks for sharing!

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