“Writers lead such a lonely life.”
The lady sitting next to me at a women’s luncheon delivered those words with a sigh, a ‘you poor dear’ look, and a condescending tone. I glanced around the table to see more ‘poor dear’ looks and in my best terminal foot in mouth disease tone replied. “Exsqueeze me? I don’t think so! I have so many people living in my head I can’t take a shower alone. They wake me up in the middle of a nap and at night to talk. Lonely? Nope.”
“What do you mean?” Another lady asked with genuine interest. “People in your head?
Then I remembered people who are not writers don’t have friends and enemies living in their heads to talk with at any given time. Poor dears.
Needless to say, the topic for the rest of the luncheon was the rich life of the present day author. I explained between facebook and twitter I was in touch instantly with over fifteen hundred people around the world. Every day I could chat with almost the same number of my writer friends on private loops. People in the UK, Nova Scotia, Canada, every state in the US, South America, New Zealand and Australia. I heard about wild fires, earthquakes and many other events before it was announced on the news. I blog and go to conferences. I am not alone.
They all nodded and asked questions but alas, it was like being at an air show. Everything flew over their heads. Why? Only one was on facebook. Two had heard of twitter. The others didn’t have a clue. All went blank over blogs and no one understood Yahoo loops. Then came the question, “when do you find time to write?”
Busted! I’d been telling them about my old life. In uncharacteristic meekness I said, “I manage.”
Here’s the rest of the story.
Attempting to do all the required social media, promo blogs and write a book an agent, editor, publishing house could sell, my head felt like a melon at a Gallagher show. I honestly can tell you I like social media. That said, for me it's a mind drain drug. I'm looking at what other people are writing about, saying, doing, responding, being a chatty-cathy and lose my stories, myself. I decided enough was enough and retreated.
Don’t misunderstand what I said about editors and publishers. I get publishers wanting a commercial book. I’m just not one of those smart, savvy authors you can hand a topic and in three months hands back a book. The stories I write really do come from the people in my head. If I changed them for the sake of selling, instead of waking me up at three in the morning to talk, my H&H’s would bludgeon me to death.
A quick side bar here. If you hear I died in that manner please report to the authorities that it was one of my heroes or heroines so they won't be wasting their time looking for some poor sucker.
The more I backed off from social media and other influences the happier I was with my writing. An injury, that forced me to take pain meds and muscle relaxants had me more loopy then normal and forced me to further reduced my contact with social media. That side effect was nothing compared to the side effect of enjoying my writing again.
Soon I had adopted the Dog Whisperer's mantra for my Internet usage. No touch, no talk, no eye contact, until I was calm. I embarked on a wonderful summer vacation only doing the thing I wanted to do. Write! Finally, I'm calm.
I'm only now beginning to reconnect with the social media. This is my first blog in ages.
I feel confident if I get too excited again the no touch, no talk, no eye contact, will bring be back in line.
I have a suspicion there are more of us suffering from too much of something in their lives. If so, how do you deal?