Reflections On My Virtual Retreat

I took time away from social media this summer, and here's what I discovered:

(1) I was able to write, finishing a full draft of TIGER BOY (forthcoming from Charlesbridge in 2014). Good news: editor Yolanda Roy likes it!

(2) I relished the silence, not missing the loud opinions of people who abuse social media as propaganda. Twitter and Facebook simply aren't appropriate containers for the big issues of life. They are best for small talk, a perfectly valid, relaxing, entertaining form of communication. Blogs are better at serving up political and religious opinions, but still not as good as well-edited articles or excellent oral presentations, which both take more time to prepare and demand the accountability of vetted research. For big, deep thoughts and arguments, at least in my opinion, there's nothing to match the spacious, thoughtfully crafted vessel of a book.
(3) I read more, prayed more, and deliberately spent more time with people face to face.

(4) After this break, I've decided to put a stop to assessing my own and others' social media "influence," getting rid of my Klout account and doing my best to ignore the numbers. Every voice matters equally, despite the claims of our celebrity culture.

(5) I got lonely at times, and remembered anew that isolation is a hazard of self-employment. The chat, humor, entertainment, and buzz of social media is a gift to writers, as is the ability to stay aware of news and events in the lives of people we cherish.
In any case, I'm back now. I'll be tweeting from the Betsy-Tacy convention this weekend in Mankato, Minnesota, where I'll be sharing five writing tips I've gleaned from author Maud Hart Lovelace. Here's to detox, rehab, and a fresh start.