I’ve been trying to think of ways to write this without making it seem like I’m about to flounce bitterly off the Internet, but yeah, I’m going to flounce bitterly off the Internet.
There are lots of things to blame for my lack of productivity and focus, but I’ve come to realize that the social Internet is the most pernicious and destructive force in my life.
(Well, I realized it long ago, but I’m angry at myself enough now to do something about it.)
- As my go-to escape from boredom, I find it all too easy to “check online” for five minute bursts…often at five minute intervals. This destroys the flow of any actual work I’m doing and allows me to escape the real effort — the often boring and long effort — required to accomplish things that one can hold here in the real world like, say, books. It’s actually worse than television because at least there, it’s a story that goes away in an hour. The Internet story goes on and on.
It’s good to be bored. I need to be bored.
- It is my dream to one day wander the world like the guy in Kung Fu punching every person who ever advised a writer to “self promote” in the face.
At best, it doesn’t work. At worst, you’re odiously selling yourself to your own friends and colleagues in an endless solipsistic circle of masturbatory capitalism: “you buy mine and I’ll buy yours.” I deeply resent living in a society in which we must individually advertise ourselves to feel alive.
More importantly, I’m so sorry to all of you that I let tons of bad advice inspire me to treat you like an “audience” instead of friends.
- Social networking is to friendship like porn is to sex: it’s easier to press the buttons than to do the work. Far more people have “Liked” my book than bought or reviewed it, and I’ll admit I’m as guilty as everyone else of showing my support by tossing a couple of electrons over my shoulder in someone’s direction instead of, you know, acting on something.
I’m sorry about that, too.
- Time was when I used to use stories to express myself instead of passing around other people’s thoughts. I think I need to get back to that.
And hey, it’s possible (even likely) that you have a far healthier relation to the Internet than I do. If so, congratulations. Think of me as the equivalent of an alcoholic whose ADHD won’t let him stop with just one sip of electronic gossip.
So I’m going to be far more scarce online than I have been. Please don’t take it personally.
How will I survive? How will our friendship survive?
If you’re my friend, you have my phone number and e-mail address where we can talk like real human beings. If you’re my professional friend, you have those things too and I can’t wait to see you at conventions. If you’re my fan, all four of you, keep an eye on Amazon and my website for news of my publications and appearances.
The rest of you…I have no fucking idea who you are. I absolutely hope the best for you, but I’m too old to be collecting people like Pokemon cards.
Aren’t we all?