It’s my last post and I’m sorry to say goodbye. So sorry that I’ve been putting off writing it.
Now it’s super late and I’m racing against the clock and just realised (at 9.30 a.m) that I didn’t press the right button last night, so that’s why this is overdue!
Mulling over what to write my mind kept coming back to social media. Before being published I steered a wide berth around it all, not even doing facebook, but the marketing people said I should have something online or I ‘wouldn’t exist’ for my readers! I’ve been lumbering around the twittersphere and its planets ever since.
Social media is a double edged sword; on the one hand you feel like you’re connecting to people yet there are dragons too. It reminds me of school hierarchies which writing helped me escape when I was young. I’m sure everyone’s got a bullying story and mine’s unremarkable; a rough-ish school where I wasn’t alone in taking a fair few thumps. My bullies were as varied as their reasons for picking on me, handing the title to each other like an Olympic torch over four years; three boys, two girls, and most humiliatingly, some kids much younger than me who pinched and scratched me every day on the school bus. At high school the bullies moved on to fresh quarry but the social strata was maintained; there were the in-girls, the cool boys, the ones who got invited to the party, the ones who tried to get invited to the party, the ones who never even knew there was a party. Fewer wrists bore Chinese burns, but we still knew our place.
Social media and the internet sometimes reminds me of then; that rather than making worthwhile connections you get reduced to a fleeting moment your comment or image was ‘liked’ or re-tweeted; your confidence can be badly affected. It can seem like playground tit for tat; people randomly following and unfollowing each other. It seems an especially hollow waste of time taking photos if only for how they’ll make you look on Instagram rather than for just remembering the special moment you had. When you throw book marketing into the mix it gets weirder. Got a nice review? Lovely! Got a luke-warm one? Grrrrr! That book took me years! Online it’s easy to start comparing yourself to other people, and writer’s do this too, as GirlsHeartBooks blogger Sharon Jones recently described.
So for up and coming authors or those young writers I want to say; don’t do it; don’t ever ‘go compare’. The way to madness is paved by analysing other writers’ careers, interviews, number of awards/likes/follows or worrying about what other people are doing, how great a time they seem to be having compared to you! If you are a published writer enjoy your hard-won success, if you aren’t, enjoy writing for itself until your time comes. Even though being published can feel like the ultimate goal, the goal posts are always changing; writing’s not for the fainthearted so believe in yourself and never look over your shoulder. My son, just 17 but wiser than I’ll ever be, says; only look in your neighbour’s bowl to check that they have enough. A soundbite, but a good one that fits many situations.
Finally, if you liked Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero, the sequel Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn is out this July. I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks to all who wrote to say they enjoyed my writing here. But biggest thanks of all to wonderful Jo and Julie who welcomed me on board, made good my mangling of word-press, and best of all created such a great platform for authors to share their passions and interests with their readers.
Good luck everyone!