“I pick up my iPad, open my social media, and I see…”

I was up early on Monday because I awoke with an entire – previously unplanned – chapter in my head. That does not happen often. So I jumped out of bed at 5:15 before I could forget any of it and had the whole thing more or less committed to “paper” within an hour.

As I finished, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Then I decided for some inexplicable reason to treat myself to some… social media. LOL! I scrolled Twitter and saw this from the other day:

[From Twitter.]

Reading that, first I thought on how I write not for other other writers. I aim to write for readers (who may be writers too, but I don’t care if they are). I don’t use “social media” primarily for other writers either, and I think writers have to STOP with this “support” stuff because (I believe) it is not what writers should be looking to do.

I long ago resolved never to buy a book merely to “support” any writer because I did that ONCE some years ago and exactly what she is talking about above happened to me. I will not be “used” by some other writer and discarded, so I only buy a book because a topic and style interests me and, well, I would like to read it; I would buy it if it came to my attention regardless of whether I “knew” the author or not. Indeed I have acquaintances online whose books I have NOT bought; they may be nice people, but for me their book’s (or books’) subject matter and writing style simply does not really interest me and I am not made of money.

In particular, I do NOT buy any book online without reading the free sample and I urge any prospective reader to do the same. I have actually been turned off by books by both “big-name” authors as well as many “indie” ones if the free sample did not grab me. For example, one “acclaimed” book I did not purchase because I considered the free sample not to my taste (to be kind): The Handmaid’s Tale:

[From The Handmaid’s Tale. Amazon free sample.]

That novel is written it seems in the first person, present tense. First person can be fine. (The Great Gatsby is.) It is the combining of the first person and the present tense that while it may be okay in my humble opinion for a few thousand words’ short story, it is wrong for especially a lengthy novel. Endless repetition of the likes of “I think…,” “I walk…,” “I look…,” and “I, I, I,”… aye, yai, yai, yai, yai… irritates the heck out of me and even bores me with its unfortunately necessary overdescription of mundane activities (like spending an eight sentence paragraph describing getting up, putting on gloves, and walking to a door) because THAT is what that “I” character happens just then to be doing and/or seeing. I am unlikely to want to buy a (especially 300 pages or more) novel written in that style.

Second, there is also for many the perennial irritation/disappointment at being unfollowed without explanation by someone you had long followed back; and that does not apply only to writers, of course. The fact is we know that people unfollow all the time – even if you mutually follow each other. Indeed that sort of thing happened to me just the other day when, without warning, I was unfollowed by a long-time Instagram follower I also followed and I had not the slightest idea why.

Eh, it happens. Clearly if someone I have “known” for a while unexpectedly unfollows, unless they are shedding all of their follows (to try to look important) I have to believe that I must have lost their interest or really annoyed them for some reason. In the end followers, like readers, are allowed to want to follow/read you or not follow/read you and the best thing to do if someone suddenly does not is not to get uptight about it.

[From War and Remembrance (1978), by Herman Wouk. From my Instagram Stories, August 8, 2021.]

On the other hand, your extramarital love interest having encountered your spouse on the other side of the world… now that is probably something to worry about. LOL!

Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. 🙂