Being away from the internet left me thinking a lot about what it means to "be accessible." We are always hearing that as writers, aren't we? At least I am. It's important to "be accessible" to your readers. It's important to "be accessible" to bloggers and reviewers and agents and editors and essentially the media at large.
To be honest, sometimes I feel TOO accessible. Sometimes that makes for difficult, awkward, or time consuming situations. And I'm not even published! I can't imagine how much time it takes for an actual author to "be accessible."
When I really think about it, why are we expected to be available to the whole world? Why do I feel pressured to have my email on my blog, so that anyone under the sun can talk to me? Truth is, I don't know the answers. I've just been thinking about it a lot, trying to figure out where the line is—the line between being available, open, kind and supportive, and being so overstretched with non-essentials that I don't have time for the most important part of my "job." You know, that whole writing books thing.
What makes it tougher is that the line changes, I think. When I first started exploring the online world, I had the time to comment and reply and be there for whoever needed it. That time seems to dwindle everyday, and it makes me feel awful. I worry that people will think I'm a jerk because I'm not saying yes to absolutely everything. I worry that I am somehow hurting feelings or losing opportunities or whatever.
Don't get me wrong, I love me some social networking. It has brought me many a good thing. But having done it for a while now, I'm starting to understand that it certainly takes a toll. Sometimes I'm just plain tired of trying to make my life look interesting. You know what? It's not. I love my life, but it's your average life.
Everything we say about ourselves has to be sensationalized, doesn't it? Everyone else seems to be doing interesting stuff. Why aren't we doing cool things? Why don't we have any news? Why can't I think of anything to tweet about that doesn't involve food?
And worst of all—Why does it make me feel so bad about myself?
It's always, "Don't be boring. You're doomed if you're boring. No one will like you if you have nothing new or funny or interesting to say." Talk about pressure. Talk about encouraging people to put on a mask and perform their social networking duty. Sometimes, the whole thing feels supremely un-fun. Even knowing that most everyone has an extremely normal life, the facade still tricks my mind into thinking I'm the only one out there who spends the day doing nothing but the simple things that make up life.
I'm not even sure what I'm saying here. Perhaps that I get tired, and maybe that's okay. Maybe it's okay that I don't want to be accessible sometimes, and maybe it's okay if you feel that way, too.