“Who let him back in?”

You recall the crazy professor who turns up in the office even when on sabbatical? “Hi ya! Just stoppin’ in. How are you doing?”

I’ve known some.

And the ever-beset departmental administrator is sitting there thinking?: “We should have taken his key away.”

[Photo by me, a little while ago.]

That’s me right now – the professor. This “online break” is rougher than I had expected it to be. However, let me assure you, I have at least combed my hair this morning.

I must be having a degree of “social media withdrawal.” I never planned on vanishing to a cave in the Catskills. But I see all you online… and I find, damn it, I want to post something too.

I have allowed myself at least the luxury of commenting and “liking” on blogs and Instagrams, so over the weekend I read and “liked” as usual. I even “reacted” to some Insta-stories, something which I hadn’t usually done. That latter fact may have showed: for example, I “reacted” to one of Eyla’s stories, uh, twice exactly the same way and felt like an Insta-idiot, or about 178 years old. When I added that I didn’t understand what had happened (I guess I must have swiped twice or something), she said she didn’t mind:

But this is all just not the same.

Instagram especially feels now like a party where I’m outside, face pressed against the window, looking in at everyone else having a good time inside. I don’t know how people use Instagram and simply “lurk?” Don’t you want to participate?

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Coca Cola truck 🚚

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Eric has tried to encourage me:

Thanks, man.

“Why aren’t you in the library?”: that’s what my late graduate advisor half-jokingly used to ask us back in university if any of us future geniuses were noticed loitering around in the history offices. We did so because we just enjoyed blowing off steam and socializing a bit. Suddenly, that’s how I’m feeling now: like I’m loitering on here… taking a few moments to enjoy everyone’s company if only for a little while.

The upside? With no need to post to Instagram myself or to blog here, in the last few days I’ve been “in the library” of sorts. I’ve gotten lots of writing done. It is, in its way, honestly liberating.

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I'm just taking a (what I hope will be) short social media rest.👨🏻‍💻 After five years of this, I'm very tired.😴 (More at the link in my bio.) On the plus side, maybe I'll get more actual writing done on the new book!📚😂 . As with "Rick," although I won't be posting anything new for a while I PROMISE I will still be popping by following and liking and commenting on what *you* are doing.👍🙋🏻‍♂️ . A bientôt.😊 . #memes #sabbatical #breaktime #travel #Casablanca #blogs #bloggers #movies #entertainment #expats #expatlife #writers #writersofinstagram #writing #authors #authorsofinstagram #fiction #romance #books #booksofinstagram #novels #novelists #socialmedia #humor #laughs #photos

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But there is a price to be paid in “sociability.” When I wanted to share something – I had a couple of blog post ideas – I realized I should not. I’m learning I’m not finding it easy to watch the online world go by and not join in.

Relaxing is proving exhausting in its way also.

“Anyway, back to sabbatical,” the crazy guy smiles and announces as he hits “publish” and strolls out of the blog door once again to the “offline” world. 😉

5 replies »

  1. Shouldn’t there be some sort of syndrome—Social Media Author Burnout—SMAB. There’s an acronym in there . . . Kind of. Must confess, I was a bit worried when you ventured into Snapchat. Snapchat is no man’s land for me. Probably more that “woman of a certain age” fear of video, or any type of technology that reproduces likeness, but still. I have an account I use to keep up with my daughter, but otherwise, hard pass on Snapchat! I joke, but I admire your resolve and commitment to your work and am happy to see you sharing your thoughts here. Someday, I too will be published and can relax the grip, but in the meantime, I must still contend with lit mags that inquire, “How many followers do you have on Twitter?” Ugghh! Write well, my friend! 🙂

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    • I have put Snapchat on hold for the moment – indeed likely for quite a while. And I also won’t get involved in comparisons with anyone over my social media numbers. (Writer “A” has 10,000 Twitter followers and I don’t? Uh, huh. Why do his posts get only 10 or so retweets and 3 likes? Have you noticed he follows 9,500 people back? Are they even real followers? Has everyone muted him because he’s annoying?) But that they ask demonstrates its importance. They know. And as a writer, time and experiences are invaluable and indeed age actually helps: at age “23” I couldn’t write what I do now. All in, I think I do fairly well on social media for a guy increasingly of a certain age myself. My supreme goal is to write my books for my readers to enjoy, and I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. I never approached writing aiming to hope to land some big book deal. I don’t feel I write stuff that might attract one. I don’t know if I could even alter what I write to attract one. Indeed, I don’t even know if I could and not write garbage. I actually like my intimate audience: I feel I can be truly genuine as a writer with a relatively small readership and engage with them if they so choose. I’ve encountered some writers on Instagram who are, in my opinion, bores and basically spammers looking just to “pad” follower numbers; and I hate those types and run away from them as fast as I can. Since I started it a year or two ago Insta in particular has caught lots of especially younger women readers my blog here doesn’t necessarily reach – at least not initially. I recall my uncle calling my books “gentle.” He thought I could also write “cozy” crime fiction. Spoken like a true crime writer! But I do know who my audience is. Men might read “Jack Reacher,” but have not made up the majority of novel readers for over 200 years and still don’t. From what I can tell, probably at least 90 percent – 90 PERCENT! – of my readers are women. Like publishers, readers now expect writers to have active social media like Insta; but it’s a difficult balancing act as the writer: to know how to be visible to readers and potential ones, but not too much so that they unfollow or mute you because you keep posting photos of your book covers. Every now and then is fine – if you have an actual WIDER point to make – but not every other picture just to post a “new” picture. My blog here and, increasingly, my Instagram, have become my “shop front” and I try to use them in as intimate a manner as I try to write my books. However doing that latter has worn me down for the moment which is why I am taking a bit of a time out. I keep commenting and liking because I believe if I disappeared entirely I feel I might as well close up shop and that’s not my intention at all. Feel free to email me anytime at and I’m happy to talk privately. I’m rambling, Laura, because this should probably have been a blog post!😂😂😂

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