I spent years pretending social media didn’t exist, and another several hoping it would disappear. The day never came. I was (and still am) a fan of the real books. Those paperbacks you can flip through, spitting dust in your face when they’ve sat for too long. Or the hardcovers that creak as you crack the binding for the first time. I would spend many nights hidden beneath the covers in my bedroom, only the light of a handheld flashlight to guide me, immersing myself into a world of carefully woven plots and mysterious characters.
It was a friend of mine who convinced me to get on the good ol’ SM. He is a fellow writer who used to work with my ex-husband, which is how I was first introduced to him nearly eight years ago. We became friends fast and stayed friends after my divorce. He was even my roommate at one point (and ONLY my roommate, because I know the younger generation thinks something MUST have gone down if a man and woman live together… although I do admit that I liked to sneak up on him and twist his nipples or rip his arm hair out because, what can I say, I like causing pain.)
Anyway, he visited me one day after our tenancy together had ended and in classic Eric form, threw his lanky arms in front of him and said, “I’m serious, Chrissy (all my friends from the younger years call me Chrissy. Ugh.) you have to get on social media!” I laughed at him. We had always been on the same page when it came to that stuff– both very old school. I called him a sellout and a few other choice words, but he forced me to look at his Instagram account. He had photographs (he’s also a rather exquisite photographer. Had his own site at one point, but I always keep forgetting to ask him if he’s kept it up.) and quotes and all things writerly. He had tons of followers, at least what I consider to be tons since I have maybe 30 Facebook friends. He told me to try it. Begged me to do it just once. Just to see what it was like.
Eventually, I gave in.
And can I just say, I’m addicted. I haven’t been keeping my Instagram as up to date as most people, but it spawned into a whole bunch of avenues for me. My mom passed away shortly after I got my IG up and running and regrettably, I never got to tell her about my plan for getting my writing out there, or about how I was really going to make an effort this time. So instead, I created a website in her memory. A grief website with resources to help people who had lost a loved one. It’s also a place where I share my own journey dealing with her loss. (Check it out here if you have some time.)
From there, I created My Mind Clutter, which is still technically under construction but I’m working on it. I don’t really know what I’m doing, as much as I wish I did, because I’ve never tried seriously blogging before. I’ve had sites here and there but usually after three or four entries I lose interest. I have not lost interest with either of my sites but I have simply let life get in the way. Two full-time jobs, side work, and maintaining a relationship and visiting my father who is now a widower have become quite the difficult tasks to manage. But, I am in the process of finding a way to eliminate one of my jobs so that I will have more time to write. In the meantime, I’ll just plugging along as best I can.
But this all leads me to the question of the day: Is social media important for writers? There’s different ways to look at it, and I don’t think the answer is entirely black or white. I have always laid low. I don’t like attention. That’s why it took so long for me to join Instagram and Facebook and, most recently, Twitter. I want to write because I enjoy writing. I want to share my writing because reading is what got me through the toughest times in my life. Reading is what keeps a lot of people alive, believe it or not. The people who have nothing in their lives except a book to drift away in to forget their troubles for a little while. So basically, I write because I want to help people. I want to inspire people.
Sharing my writing makes me feel good because it means one day, something I write– even just one line– may help someone in some way. So when I joined Twitter, that’s when I realized why social media is important (to me) as a writer: Because yes, it provides great networking capabilities, it helps you connect with other resources, make new friends, make new connections, but most importantly, you may one day post something that helps someone.