Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On being bad online, or, why social media is HAAAAAAAAAAARD when you're having a tough time

Dear You,

Last week, the lovely Summer Heacock wrote this really interesting post on her blog about oversharing (basically, a writer's How Not To Act). To be fair, there are lots of "rules" for writers online, lots of things that we are expected to know and follow and do and not do and little dances and secret handshakes and a second-letter-replacement cipher, all of which add up to Membership in the Real Writer's Club.


Okay. So. I'm not laughing to be mean. I'm not even laughing sarcastically. I'm laughing ironically. (I think. I can never remember what the real definition of ironic is anymore. I'M SO CONFUSED. Is it ironic that I don't know what ironic means anymore??)

There is no Real Writer's Club. And most of the "rules" out there are common sense that must be stated as a Rule because someone, somewhere, didn't think of that.

Raise your hand if you knew absolutely everything when you started this crazy journey.


I... have made, and continue to make, LOTS of mistakes. If I was ever issued a card for the Real Writer's Club (which hasn't arrived in the mail, by the way), I should think it would have been revoked by now. I KNOW I'm not supposed to use rhetorical questions in queries and pitches. My first drafts inevitably include them anyway. I KNOW I'm not supposed to be too familiar with agents. It's so easy to feel like I know them from following them on Twitter that I often have to delete several forms of "So how's the knee injury?" and "Nice new color on the front door there!" (There's a fine line between "personalized" and "stalker". I prefer not to get anywhere near that line).

I KNOW I'm not supposed to talk about rejection. But there-- there, is my fatal flaw.

There's something you need to know about me. This isn't an excuse, or a backpedal. It's simply the truth. I am, by nature, robust and upbeat. I dislike complaining and while I, like most of the world these days, do suffer from anxiety and depression at times, I am, for the most part, a relatively positive person. When bad things happen I deal with them in one of two ways: vent to someone, or internalize it and self-combust at a later date.

Yeah, healthy, right?

The problem is that I often vent about the little stuff and internalize the big stuff. SUPER healthy. I hate it, wish I could change it. I find myself complaining more and more about little stuff the more big stuff I have going wrong. Big and little are, of course, subjective.

And this past year/ year-and-a-half, has been fraught with Big Stuff. Loss. Sickness (mine and others). Professional rejection, on so many levels, that I can't even go into. Disappointment. Writing rejection (yes, I'm mentioning it). Financial trouble. And I've watched several people close to me go through some very difficult things, as well. Of course this isn't my burden to carry but it still hurts me to watch my friends and family hurt.

Maybe this is how everyone else's life is, too. I don't know, having only been myself. I do know I'm extra sensitive to pain, both emotionally and physically, so perhaps I don't handle it as well as I could.

I have SO. MUCH. good in my life. SO MUCH. I have so much to be grateful for, so much I shouldn't take for granted, but at the end of the day, when so much Big Stuff flies at you, it's hard to see the forest for the trees or some other more appropriate metaphor.

Long story short, you may have never heard me say, "Got another email rejecting ______ today" here or on Twitter, but rest assured I've said it. I probably told you about that or some other Big Thing by way of "Can't believe there's no more donuts left in this house *sad face*" or similar.

The past few months, I have dealt with this Debbie Downer Diarrhea Of The Keyboard by clamming up instead, simply not posting for days or weeks at a time because if I didn't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. And it was working fine until I saw Summer's post and could no longer hide from myself. Regardless of how I see it, I am Oversharing of the Negativity.

So, from me to you, I'm sorry for breaking the Rules. I'm hoping to be more positive online from now on. I'm hoping to find the balance between being Real and being Whiny. And I'm hoping to keep the internet friends I've come to know and love!



How do you deal with Big Stuff in your life and online?


  1. I don't think this post is overly negative. You're not going into blow-by-blow specifics or being overly dramatic. I think writer common sense tells us not to tweet or blog about every single rejection, or go on some rant about agents and the publishing industry. But I don't see a problem with a general "I've been having a tough time" blog post. As long as the majority of your stuff is upbeat, people won't ostracize you for breaking "the rules".

    Sorry lots of Big Stuff has been going on and hope it smooths out soon. I always tell myself during those times that "this too will pass". And if it makes you feel any better, I've gotten lots of rejections this year, too!

  2. I am guilty of this also and it is really, really, really difficult to do social media when things suck and you have to fake it and the faking it does not really work out as well as you think it does. Or as well as I think it does. See today's leaky-plumbing tweets, I suppose.

    *HUGS* that's all I got.