Brain Drain and the Author: The Occasional Necessity of Pulling Back from Social Media

I released a new novel last month and I’m now semi-retreating from social media. Why? Pure exhaustion on multiple levels.

  • I’m chronically ill (Shh… spare me your miracle cures and homeopathic ways.)
  • I’m working on a complex editing project, the result of someone writing a story over the course of over two decades. The story’s in there, and it’s a good one, but I’ve been commissioned to sort it out, so I am.
  • I’m working on a historical WIP that requires significant attention to language and period details.
  • I wrote 40+ blog posts over 34 days in the way of promo, and now I’m feeling a bit burned out, so I’ve geared down.

So what was my last straw? Yesterday, I discussed a less than stellar rating (with review said to follow) on my private Facebook page. Again, this was my private page so the audience was small but apparently not small enough. I’m not sharing names or details (I didn’t in the FB post either), but this was someone I had linked to weekly on my website for over two years. That said, IMO some professional courtesy, at least in way of a heads up, was in order before this rating/review was shared. Long story short, this person apparently didn’t think so, which left my head spinning. It’s fine that they didn’t care for my work. My stories are atypical and often provoke strong opinions. The review itself wasn’t the issue. (Note: If I had asked for said review then, by all means, lay it out there.) But the lack of professional courtesy stuck in my craw. To recap:

  • I’d shared her info and linked to her blog hop for over two years
  • Apparently, we play by a different set of professional rules.

Did she owe me anything? No. But after sharing her name so many times, some courtesy was in order. But this, while it irked me, is not what caused me to pull back. Rather, it was one of my FB “friend’s” responses: (paraphrased) get some Ben and Jerry’s, deal, and shut up. It’s just business.

  • I grew up in an “if you can’t say something nice say nothing” world, and I try to follow this. I was also taught to apply constructive criticism methods. But I’ve come to understand this isn’t how most people function. Nice guys finish last and all that. Whatever. I’m not changing who I am.
  • Who the eff is this person? (I vaguely knew her from a grad program) If she had simply disagreed with me, that would have been fine. I’d have welcome the debate. That said, her angry, ridiculous mouth spew of response didn’t afford anything of the sort.
  • Business? Just business? I’d hate to be in this woman’s inner circle or, worse yet, actually work with or for her.

This review, you see, was but a catalyst, a thought-provoking reminder that some people don’t share my ethics, while this woman’s hateful, trollish response to my post proved to be a tipping point. (And before you say, but Jeanne… it was a lack of courtesy not the review itself that threw me.)

I blocked the troll because no one speaks to me in such a manner, especially on my private FB page. (Read my theory on such people in my post Well That Hurt.) No loss, especially when I barely knew this person to begin with. And, no, I didn’t engage. I blocked, removed the original post, and added a post that explained what happened and said I wasn’t giving such a person time or space.

This incident, though minor, served as a reminder of how physically ill I really am. I’m only just healing from a major flare, and each of these flares complicates and takes away a bit more of my energy. I don’t have the oomph to give this person what she so richly deserves, so I didn’t, but dealing with such things sucks valuable energy from me like it or not.

I took a moment to look at my entire social media presence, and I didn’t like what I saw.

A) I was doing too much on my Twitter feed, engaging in too many hashtag games and receiving little to nothing in return, even with those I engaged with, so I stopped. I don’t place my personal value in such things, but I also know when to quit. Right now, my pinned tweet reads as follows:

I’m pulling back on my social media & will only be participating in #ThursdayAesthetic, #writestuff, #wipand #WriteLGBTQ for the foreseeable future. If you tweet to me, I will reply, but it might take a day. No one owes me anything, but neither do I owe them.

B) I’m no longer participating in that blog hop associated w/ the original reviewer. Done. Finished. Continuing to do so would be a constant reminder of what I consider unprofessional behavior, so I’m taking action to remove that stress. Yes, I’ll still be posting every Wednesday just like I was, but I won’t be associating with the hashtag. In fact, I’ve removed it from my site’s Categories.

C) I’m once again engaged with too many FB groups and pages that don’t assist my writerly and personal journies. It’s time to tidy up my feed again.

D) I need a general slowdown while I concentrate on other things, like that editing job, like self care, like my own projects, like learning to care a bit less since that is what it apparently takes these days.

Social media, my dears, generally sucks, but it’s a necessary evil for modern authors. That said, I’ll be minimally interactive for a while.

You know where to find me.


Images from Unsplash