Monday, April 18, 2011

Facebook has the word 'book' in it for a reason...

Facebook - at the Spinning Tales conference one of the speakers recommended Facebook as a way to connect with readers. As writers (and/or illustrators) for children we cannot ignore the way they interact with the world around them, and these days so much of that happens online. Facebook can suck up a lot of time and distract you from more important tasks at hand. Privacy issues are continually being debated and revised. Not all connections made via facebook are happy ones with positive outcomes. People can be cruel in any medium. But Facebook has a lot to recommend it as well. My eldest let us know she was just fine and having fun in Las Vegas via facebook (using her i-pod). I keep in touch daily with people all round the country in a way that a phone would not facilitate, and I am grateful for this. Creatives in particular can be isolated due to the way they work. In many ways we are solitary creatures destined to forge our gems alone. But for writers, stories are filled with people and you cannot write good characters without knowing a few. I can make new friends all around the globe. I can connect with old friends. I can join in a conversation on contentious topics with a bunch of like minded individuals (politics anyone?). I can keep up with the gossip (also known as industry news) way faster on facebook. And of course having a presence on facebook means potential fans of your work can find you from anywhere in the world. And one of my favourite benefits is the way a facebook conversation can cheer me up, teach me something, advance my thinking on a subject or just settle those awful doubts we all have from time to time. When wondering aloud the other day if I was going about things the wrong way and potentially stymieing my writing career, a fellow writer (you know who I mean Mr Mewburn) wisely pointed out that the nature of the industry itself was prone to making us feel as if we were approaching it all wrong. I also liked the debate about statistics - yes they are depressing, but its better to be informed. And the lovely link this morning, from Mr M again, referencing a movie I had just seen (and enjoyed - 'Limitless' with the always charming Bradley Cooper) which talked about the biology and psychology that influences our creativity. Yes (as Frank Herbert pointed out some years back) fear is the 'mind killer'. But there are always strategies to move past these internal inhibitors - and a nice symmetry to the idea that our mind can come up with ways to trick itself. Of course I still don't believe in writer's block - the cliche much beloved by movie makers - but do think you can be 'stalled'. Being stalled is never permanent and even if you have run out of gas or the battery is dead just find a natural incline somewhere to get yourself rolling again. Facebook is what you make of it and it is filled with potential. And if you haven't already checked it out go see this remarkable online magazine about writing put together by a very cool thirteen year old I know.

No comments: