You may have noticed that I disappeared from social media for a week. You may not have. Either way, I’d like to write about why I chose to remove myself from the online world for seven days.
Frankly, it was stress.
That sounds insane. Social networking is supposed to be all about making positive connections, about coming together and talking, having fun. For me, it wasn’t—and I don’t think it will be again.
This is because I find the marketing and networking side of writing so stressful.
Yes, I know. There are those of you who are now scoffing (“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” and all that jazz). Unfortunately, the constant buzz and whistle of my phone as another Twitter notification pops up, or another reminder of a Facebook post, has proven to be intolerable.
I think it’s because it makes me feel like I’m falling behind.
I work a full time job as a teacher as well as being a writer, and it’s a stressful enough job on its own. It’s not the worst job on the planet, and I’m privileged to be able to do it. However, I’ve read so much online about marketing for writers, and about how you need to be online every day, always making connections and plugging your books.
For me, this is too much, on top of an already-social job. The reason? I’m a pretty anti-social person. I like my solitude. That’s part of the reason why I write so much, so fast. I love being stuck inside my characters’ heads and their world, finding out what happens next.
For someone like me, the constant ping of social media is barely tolerable. But so too is the thought of failure. I feel like I have to be online to try and claw my way into some kind of spotlight, but I never get there—and end up feeling suffocated by all the social media interaction that, sometimes, feels like an echo chamber. And like it’s going nowhere.
The idea of going nowhere links back to my point that you may not have noticed I was gone, because frankly, you probably didn’t. I’m like a little bubble in a big ocean: barely visible.
But still here.