Left jaw-dropped on Sunday by a Facebook post on a fellow writer's site. 'I had my pants on backwards all day, who knew?' she shared. Too much info? By the end of the day seventy-three people had commented. Apart from wanting to tell her that when she reaches my age, she will discover that such occurances are so frequent they are hardly worth remarking upon, it did make me think... and I am still thinking.. about the way we writers now have to 'put ourselves out there'.
With the development of Facebook/Twitter etc, it is getting far harder to preserve one's privacy - given that readers, actual or prospective, now want to share not only our work, but our lives. And yet, here is the paradox: writers, by their very nature, possess the sort of introvert, secretive personalities that make them go and lock themselves away in a room for hours at a time, so that they can invent stuff in their heads.
No longer is this enough, though. It is now almost obligatory upon any writer wanting to sell his/her work to feed the insatiable reading public's hunger for details of their lives, or their writing regime. I wonder whether we are beginning to reach the counter-productive stage, where maintaining a high-level media profile is actually hindering the 'real' writing process from taking place. Even writing this blog means that I am not composing the second novel, or hard editing the first, prior to formatting it as an ebook. Not sure how to square this circle. You?
(And in answer to my question about Shakespeare, yes, I am absolutely sure he would have loved it. I can just imagine the sort of stuff he'd have posted, too: To Deptford, where I quaffed much ale. Upon return to my lodgings, discovered I had been wearing mine hose inside out. A merry jape.)
LOL Carol, when have you ever been introvert and secretive?! xReplyDelete
I do it so secretly that nobody notices!ReplyDelete
Two years down the line, this is even more pertinent. I love your take on Will's status update :)ReplyDelete
It's interesting to see how the internet is changing the way an author has to interact with their public. I agree that we have to reveal some of our inner workings but I think the main thing is that we are in control of what we reveal. Most of what I put up is for effect and because I know it will create a reaction. I agree that it can hinder the writing process but, in a way, it's a very real part of the modern writing process!ReplyDelete
I must admit, I do feel that the necessity to maintain an online presence is time-consuming and a hindrance. But it also seems to be a necessary evil.ReplyDelete
However, I do draw the line at TMI. I still believe that as an author one must maintain some level of integrity and hang on to a little bit of their privacy.
There's nothing wrong with maintaining an online persona, but it should be focused on the writing and not on the person.
Without social media I almost certainly wouldn't be a published author - I found my publisher on Facebook. Another writer friend found hers on Twitter. And social media is great for promoting one's work - though I agree that it's necessary to install some kind of filter between the brain and the keyboard.ReplyDelete
To answer your original question: if Shakespeare had been on Facebook, it might have given us a definite answer to the theory that he spent his "missing years" in Italy. Just imagine the selfies: "Selfe with Shylocke by ye Rialto, Venice" or "Selfe with Two Younge Gentlemen by ye olde arena in Verona" or even "Selfe at ye Forum in Rome, at ye spot where ye mightie Caesar fell"....
I think you're either the sort of person who treats Facebook like a kind of diary, or you're not. I am not - and neither do I want to take part in things like 'the writing process blog tour'. I mean, why would anyone be interested in the fact that I get an idea for a book, think about it a bit, write notes down, and then start writing? I could understand if I was an internationally successful writer with zillions of fans, but I often think that the modern trend for 'telling all' can lead to an unrealistic sense of one's own importance, too. As far as the writer friend with her kecks on back to front is concerned, I don't think it's got anything to do with her being a writer. I think it was the fact that it was amusing. I've never been one to update my FB status every hour with things like 'Feeling a bit tired today', but have been posting things on FB that I considered either interesting or amusing since long before I started publishing books - just because I like to make people laugh!ReplyDelete
Yes... thinking as I write! It also depends on how much one is naturally inclined towards 'telling all'. Some writers use their blog as a kind of domestic diary, detailing their and their family's ups and downs and funny moments, others (like me) use it more for writing about selected subjects/ideas. However, creating a public profile, or 'branding' is nothing new; it's only the same as the way film studios would do it for actors, or record companies for pop stars, except that before the internet it was done via fan clubs and magazines. If people like someone's work it's only natural for them to want to know more about the person, I think; and it's up to you how much you give away. Oh - and I loved Shakespeare's FB update!!!! It gave me the idea of re-posting my famous authors on Twitter blog post, the one with old Bill in it, so thanks!!!
I liked those posts - yes, time for a revival!Delete
On social media (I think he had Twitter in mind!)ReplyDelete
"The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite." — William Shakespeare
Twitter! When I wrote this, it was before I'd been on Twitter!Delete