Monday, May 13, 2013

On Writing and Social Media


Once upon a time, a writer wrote. She picked up an implement of some sort, set it to paper and poured words from her head onto the surface. Often, the words were jumbled and in need of some sort of revision, but occasionally, they were beautiful.

Some writers still do this, eschewing desktops and laptops for more traditional and rudimentary tools - paper and pencil, ink or crayon. Others hail the keyboard, thrilled by its ability to enable them to get the words onto the page quickly, before they float away like dandelion dust on a spring day.

But the computer and its compatriot, the Internet, will not be ignored. Not satisfied to simply leech into the minds of authors, tempting them with the fruits of speed and ubiquity, they have corrupted the minds of publishers as well.

Now writers must do more than write. They must blog and tweet, pin and post, comment and correspond in pithy phrases and keywords that show they are search engine-savvy. Electronic Sirens, these pursuits that surround the art of writing lure writers away from their true calling for hours, disguising themselves as forms of the same craft that these writers pursue. Before they know it, these writers have lost hours, even days, promoting themselves into oblivion as the tool becomes the task.

As in all things, moderation is key. Turning away from the temptress entirely can lead to oblivion of a different kind, and so we must blog and tweet with discretion, pin and post with care. Refusing to gorge ourselves on technology, astute authors will learn when to push ahead and when to retreat with our laptops and pens. Often, the allure of the Internet will be too great, but occasionally we will find balance, pulling ourselves from the murky waters of self-promotion and into the sunlight of creation, knowing all the while that the symbiosis is undeniable.

Once upon a time, a writer wrote. And though the web of writing tasks in which she immerses herself has grown more sticky with time and technology, a true writer still finds writing at its hub.

2 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...

Very, very true!

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

And a little bit frightening, too! :-)