And this one about how we all place ourselves into “filter bubbles.” Many people in one scientific study “were surprised to learn just how cocooned inside far-right or far-left bubbles they were.”
If you wish to keep up to date with my fiction, you can now subscribe to my mailing list here. While there is Twitter and Facebook and G+ and my blog, all of those have an aura of the impersonal. They seem to me a bit more like shouting into a crowded room and hoping a few people turn away from everyone else’s shouts for a moment to listen. An email list seems more personal to me. People subscribe because they want to.
I plan to keep this list pretty low-frequency. I’ll send out updates only when I have something tangible: a new story out, a new book contract, and maybe once or twice I year I’ll send a free gift to subscribers like a novel or story excerpt. Sometimes the internet can be so very large and impersonal, so consider this my way of having a bit more intimate relationship with fans of my writing. Please fill out the form if you’re interested:
The world is full of cliches of writers as drunks, addicts, horrible spouses, slobs, sociopaths, delusional freaks, hypersensitives, narcissists, hoarders and so on. And there are the cliches of writers as great lovers, wild adventurers, warm-hearted parents, magnanimous, free-thinking geniuses, etc., etc. The thing is, all of these are lies, cliches perpetrated by mass media, which romanticizes the writer as something one is rather than something one does.
We live in a world of images, and while this is a miracle (for example, imagine a person from a hundred years ago learning of Instagram), the nature of social media is just that: a world of images. When we log onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., we see carefully crafted images self-selected to convey a particular message. And because of this, it’s far easier for us to present an image of being a thing than to actually do that thing.
Parse that last sentence again.
It’s much easier to look like something than to do that something. If Sally Upstart Writer is looking to connect with the world via social media and the images she has in her head of what a writer is (images, by the way, Sally didn’t form on her own, but learned from the media she has consumed for a couple decades), then she will tailor her image to be what she thinks a writer is, because in the social media age, image is everything — you are your image.
The thing is, what makes someone a writer is writing. Not images, not your clever Tweets or your Instagram pics or your Facebook shares. This is not to say those things don’t have a purpose. But when your social media presence becomes a substitute for actual writing, when you are externally validating your self as a “writer” by the amount of social media feedback you receive, you can be sure your narcissistic tendencies have taken over.
I’ve done this myself and I’ve seen this behavior in others, especially those who are just starting out.
My advice therefore to Sally Upstart Writer is this: ignore everything you’ve ever heard about writers. It will be difficult at first, because you’ve absorbed all these images of what the media tells you a writer should be. But the only thing a writer is is someone who writes. All else is smoke and mirrors.
I’ll be headed up to Albany this weekend for Albacon. There will be readings! And panels! And general con cheer! Looking forward to a fun weekend talking books! My schedule follows:
Saturday, 10:00 AM — Reading with Mercurio D. Rivera (not sure who will be reading first, but we both have 30 minutes. I may do voices for Mercurio’s story.)
Saturday, 4:00 PM, Troy, “Social Media” — Kressel, Lafferty*, Laity, Shvartsman (no description online yet, but I believe this panel is about using social media for promotion.)
Saturday, 5:00 PM, Troy, “How Others View Us” — Frederick*, Grant, Kressel, Rivera, Kauderer (they hate us! they despise us! they—who are “they”?)
Sunday, 12:00 PM, Troy, “Novel Craft – great plotting & effective world-building” — Doyle, Kressel, Macdonald*, Stine (looking forward to this one!)
Hope to see all you shiny folks there!