How many times have you checked Facebook today? Twitter? Instagram? I’ll take one for the team and confess that just in typing this short piece, I’ve glanced over at my Facebook page anytime I reached a natural break in my writing. I don’t think it’s wildly off the mark to say that the vast majority of us have a slight addiction to social media. I am not here to judge, dear readers; I am one of the afflicted.
In full disclosure, I only have Facebook, refusing to give into peer pressure to create accounts on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. But even Facebook is too much for me at times. It turns me into a paranoid, needy ball of anxiety intent on receiving validation. On one level, I am aware of this even as I think up witty comments to post. On another, it has become so ingrained in us – especially those my age, who can barely remember a time before the internet (that Dark Age of looking up facts in an actual encyclopedia) – to live our lives through social media that I often don’t even think about it.
I need a break from the ever-present need to scroll through other people’s dramas, from the desire to have other people validate my experiences. I need to step away for a bit and reassess what is truly important to me.
Part of this break in social media will be a brief hiatus with the blog. Though I suspect I will feel a sudden void when I’m not posting or writing pieces, I am excited that this break will allow me to refocus my energy on my fiction writing – the Muses have been loud and persistent lately, begging me to write new stories, and I must listen and follow their direction.
My purpose for this blog has always been to share with readers my love for reading, bookshops, and all other things literary (with some passionate entreaties on feminism and heart-health awareness thrown in for good measure). I wanted to run the blog primarily for one reason – to write. Did I hope that my posts would bring my name some credibility in the Maine writing community? Of course. I’m a writer; we love when our names are recognized. But I underestimated how obsessed I would become with tracking blog stats and using it as one more way to validate my existence. It’s a fine line, folks, between wanting to be recognized as a writer and needing the approval of every single reader.
So I’m going to use this hiatus to get back to the writing – to that incomparable rush of putting one word after another, and discovering stories I didn’t even know I had in me. I need to take a break from the Facebook drama and the media unreality and escape instead into the literary world – which, if you ask me, is often far truer than what we have come to accept as a reality.
Until I’m back, keep reading, keep loving the books, and keep sending me addresses of bookshops I should add to the list. See you on the other side!
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For a sample of my fiction writing, follow the link to read my original short story, “Lost and Found,” recently published by the Hawaii Pacific Review: https://hawaiipacificreview.org/2015/12/10/lost-and-found/