March 8, 2022

Death of the Author, Resurrection of the Writer

Hello, and welcome back to my blog (she says to herself).

I've been MIA for quite a while now, but not without reason. If you watched my last few Rant Rave Reviews, you may know that I got a new job in my hometown. This meant selling my house, moving all my furniture into storage, staying with my parents while house-hunting, and then doing that all in reverse once I closed on a condo. Knowing how busy I would be during all of that, I basically gave up on writing for a while, but now I am finally settled in!

That hiatus also gave me some perspective. While scheming about how to re-start my creative juices for my WIP, I've also been trying and failing to figure out when and how often to post on social media. Part of my new library job is marketing, so I'm learning the intricacies of algorithms, what times of day are best to post things, how to add locations to Instagram (which FINALLY let's one post from a computer!), and I must say... I hate all of it.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it or not--it's been so long--but I've noticed this trend on writing Twitter to focus on how many pages written and copies sold and followers obtained. This makes sense, from a marketing perspective. It does not make sense from a writing perspective. From a writing perspective, it is positively fruitless, tacky, gross. Aside from the fact that every minute spent on twitter doing a writer's lift is a minute not spent working on one's story, there is also the fact that, in the grand scheme of life, well, Twitter is pointless.

Perhaps I should step back a bit. More and more, I've been struck by the urge to run off into the woods and forsake social media. Not technology, just social media. I think the internet is an amazing resource for writers, and though smartphones certainly have too much claim on most people's time, I think when properly used, they are a handy tool like any other. But social media? Twitter is at best a time sink and at worst a witch-hunting cesspool, ready to unperson anyone who dares to Tweet not 100% in lock-step with the Correct™ point of view. Facebook is handy for seeing news of local events and connecting with IRL friends and family from afar, but the moment it steps beyond those bounds, it, too, becomes a bottomless pit of prattle and argumentation. And TikTok? Don't get me started. There are a handful of talented creators on there, but the site in general reminds one of jangling keys or the ear chimes in Harrison Bergeron, even ignoring the actual psychoses it's causing in children and tweens. 

To sum up, when Tumblr--yes, Tumblr, the armpit of the internet--has the most going for it, you know that something is wrong.

And yet, we authors are faced with a conundrum. How do we market ourselves if not on social media? To be fair, there are uses for Twitter, like PitMad and other events where authors tweet a blurb for their books and interested agents contact them. Events like that are a revolution in author-agent relations. But other than that, I'm not sure that it's worth it to have such a widespread and constant web presence. Not from a marketing perspective. Not from a writing perspective. Not from a living perspective.

I often say that life is too short to read bad books. So, too, is it too short to Tweet about things I don't care about. I was put on this earth to tell a story. No one was put on this earth to Tweet another question meant to drum up followers and raise their standing with the algorithm.

That's not to say that I'll run off into the woods and disappear, no matter how tempting that may be. No, I'll still have this blog and my YouTube, places where I produce content that I actually like producing. I'll still have Twitter and Facebook (I have to for my job!), but I'll probably use them only to update the world on my writing and videos. I'm giving up Instagram; it's just not worth maintaining. And Tumblr? I'll still post on there, because I genuinely enjoy using it. We live in wild times.

The take away is this: I have decided to no longer live as an author, concerned with my career as such, but as a writer, focused on writing. I'm hoping to blog about something at least once a month, but no promises. I have a couple poems in my head that need working on, and there is, of course, my WIP, an alternate history mystery in which ghosts and psychic abilities are an accepted part of reality. I'm really excited for it! I have 6 chapters of around 19 or so written, and the plot has almost entirely solidified in my mind. I'm looking forward to bringing it to life and sharing it with all of you in the coming years. As always, stay tuned!