Social media isn’t always I bad thing. In a past blog, I mentioned that it is becoming necessary for authors to reach out and engage the public. Many agents and publishers want to know in advance what the author is willing to do to promote a book once it is published. This past week, on a few different occasions, I was reminded that people, regardless of whether or not they are authors, also require solitude. I was also reminded that our society now makes that a hard thing to have.
First, there is my own experience. This school year has been a whirlwind for me. I teach five different classes every day and I teach after school four hours a week – grades 5/6 two days and 7/8 two days. I am not complaining. My four days after school are days that I do project-based learning – something I am extremely passionate about. While I love doing this, I am the first to admit that it takes a tremendous amount of planning and effort. In addition, my 5/6 grades can have up to 30 students. It’s a challenge. I love challenges. I thrive on challenges. However, I come home exhausted. I am not a spring chicken. In addition, I have quite a bit going on in my world and these things take up most of what little free time I have. Last week, there were some wind storms that caused us to lose power – a definite inconvenience. However, it was also a godsend. I came home on two different nights and there was no sound (my husband, who loves television, was away) and I couldn’t use my computer. Yes, I did have my cell phone, but I needed it to be my alarm in the morning so didn’t want to risk a low battery. For two nights I sat and read by candle light. Sometimes I found myself just staring at the candles like one stares at a fire. All my stress drained. In contrast, my daughter, age 28, felt she was going crazy. She put on Facebook that I was easily amused. Eventually, the power came back on, and life resumed its noise.
On a few other occasions this week, there were notes from other authors and bloggers that I know and love. They either had taken or were taking a social media break due to either a need for solitude or the craziness in their own lives. I felt better knowing that I was not the only one. Still, I find myself musing over the fact that we feel the need to apologize for this. I find this an interesting turn of events in this ever changing world.
What’s the point of all this? Because of my internal makeup, I need solitude. It isn’t always a negative, despite what the new world order says. I haven’t done much writing this year because my life is bordering on insane. Others are stating their own need to withdraw. I imagine there are writers for whom solitude is as necessary as the air we breathe. These are probably the same authors that take our breath away with just the perfect word or phrase at just the perfect time. I used to think that authors needed to change to be more social, but I have changed my opinion. While I don’t deny the need for authors to engage the public, I am coming to see the need – perhaps necessity – for solitude in life.