How to “do” the Internet as an Author

The internet is down at my house. Or close to it. I’m
getting connection intermittently and slowly. My frustration and sense of
isolation reminds me how dependent I am on the internet for work and for
companionship. Perhaps this is the plight of many writers; working alone at our
desks to create a world with our words, but how to share it?
In 2010, I attended the AWP conference partly to look at publishers for my
first manuscript. I wandered through the giant book fair, gazing wistfully
(perhaps even with jealousy) at all of the beautiful books of poetry. I stopped at
the booth of a press that I admire very much and made some idle chit-chat with
the editor. We spoke of my writing and when I said I had a manuscript ready for
publication, he asked it I had a blog. I had been planning on creating a blog,
but I didn’t have one. Oh, he said, we don’t publish anyone who doesn’t have a
large social media following
So, I went home and started a blog. And I considered
Twitter, and Facebook, and Instagram, and Pinterest, and…. Goodness, the list
just stretched on forever. If I invested time in all of these different social
media sources, when would I write poetry? And besides, who on earth would want
to read a blog about my life or whatever it is you put on blogs. But I
soldiered onward. I started a blog.
I found that I liked blogging but yes, it did take time from
my poetry. I found that the introvert in me loved Facebook because I could keep
in touch with my friends without having to actually, you know, talk with them. But each of these
things took time away from reading and writing.
I would have loved to have taken a class about how to match my
online presence to who I actually am without all the trial and error. Without
feeling icky. Without wondering if I’m creating a system akin to shouting into
an empty dark hole. So I’ve been pretty excited about Cindy Dyson’s upcoming
class No Blogging Required! How to Match Your Online Presence with Who You
Really Are
. It’s an online class
using Skype for just two short evenings on October 7 and 14. If Skype makes you
nervous, register for the class and then contact me. I’ll walk you through how
to set it up on your computer.

And in the meantime,
be patient with me until my internet is back up to full speed. I’ll be the one
crouched in the local coffee shop using the wifi and clutching a double latte
in my hand.

~Erin Coughlin Hollowell, ED of 49 Writers

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