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The Social Media Life

The dawning of 2012 (and the waning of 2011) has seen some interesting and honest thoughts in the blogging community about writing, negativity, life and balance. I'm not going to link specific posts (you can browse through some of our FTF posts to find a handful) because analyzing specific ones isn't the point of my thoughts.

Take the time to enrich yourself. Make jam or something.
My thoughts are this: after some three years of blogging, twitter, facebook, etc.; many more years of writing; novel mis-starts, rejections and failures; success and contracts; making the most amazing friends in the world online; seeing the most ridiculous spurts online; and generally loving this supportive, frustrating, eye-roll-worthy, hilarious, kind, generous, emotional and talented community, my overall feeling about social media has become somewhat


Sometimes I'm active on this here internet. Sometimes I'm not. When I do participate, I try to make it meaningful. That's what matters to me, even if my outer circle of acquaintances forgets who I am for a while. Or for forever. That's okay. There's a lot of pressure for writers and aspiring writers to be very active with social media and, while that doesn't necessarily hurt, it isn't the end-all, be-all of life, either.

It's just one small facet of a big life.

You know what I'm not apathetic about?

Beta reading amazing critique partner manuscripts.
Setting up coffee dates with writerly people I've never met in person, then totally crushing on them/creating a meaningful relationship offline.
Putting family first.
Putting my writing and other work tied for first.
Lying in bed, using my laptop only to listen to Explosions in the Sky and email my fiance about the best music for stormy weather while the rain pounds my roof.
Waking up to sunshine on my new dwarf citrus trees.
My neighbor coming by to tell me the biscotti I made her for Christmas was the best she'd ever eaten.
Discovering a dear and beautiful friend has started a blog with one to two sentences per day of positive things that have happened to him.
The blessing to serve to another dear friend who is going through a difficult pregnancy.
Watching one of my sports teams win their match in the company of family and friends.
Taking photos of anything that strikes my fancy.
Laughing. A lot. All the time.
Latin dancing.
Bingo and karaoke at dive bars where Everybody Knows Your Name.
Talking to my mom on the phone.
And about a million other things.

I haven't had a recent epiphany about these ideas. More a gradual lessening of the guilt that used to plague me over the past year when I couldn't keep up with everything I was "supposed" to keep up with (blog, twitter, work, personal life). After three years of navigating what is a new arena for writers, the dust has settled for me and my priorities are more in line with what they should be for me. Priorities are different for everyone. Which is perfectly fine.

It's a good feeling to be in the right place, to be on that journey toward mastering the juggling act. Not that I honestly think I'll ever master it. Life is too vibrant, crazy, buoyant, amazing, exciting and unpredictable for that. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Instead of asking how your journey's been, I'd rather just take a page from my postive-thinking friend and ask for one positive thing that happened to you today. Ready? Go!
Kristin Halbrook

Kristin Halbrook is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novels Nobody But Us (HarperTeen, 2013) and Every Last Promise (HarperTeen, 2015). She likes many things.

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  1. I love this post so much! This captures my changing feelings toward social media over the past year or so. It's great to know I'm not the only one who just doesn't have the energy to keep up with EVERYTHING.

  2. I agree! I love this post a lot!! A positive thing that happened today was that it finally snowed where I live!! I've been waiting for it forever, and it finally came!

  3. A cool thing that happened today is that I used this infographic-making thingy ( because, come on, infographics are like crack to me, and it said my "favorite themes" are "thanks" and "LOL." That makes me feel like I'm doing something right, social networking-wise.

    (Or that I just say "LOL" too much. But whatever.)

  4. Thanks, Kara! It's so nice figuring things like this out!

    I'm jealous, Jess! We haven't gotten any snow here, and I do love a few days of it in the winter. :)

    Kate, laughter and sincere gratitude are two beautiful facets of your personality. You are utterly lovely. And I love your infographic addiction, lol.

  5. Great post, very interesting and finally it's been put into words what I myself feel on a daily basis! And, one good thing that's happened to me today? It's stopped raining!

  6. Nice post! Puts everything into perspective nicely!

    Meaningful connections (on and offline). That's what's worth putting your time into.

    One good thing that happened today? I got to know one of my side characters better.

  7. Love this post! Let's see--I finished some revisions today. That's positive!

  8. I don't have much of a problem with Social Media, as blogging is about the only thing I do. I couldn't even be bothered with Facebook!

    One positive thing though. Hmm. I think toady has several positive things so far. I spent most of the morning with my Dad, doing errands and talking the whole time.

    Another positive thing was going running this morning and going that one lap more even though I wanted to die.

  9. Thank you for this. As a debut author navigating a love-hate relationship with social media, I was badly in need of this kind of perspective. I was in the house all morning feeling guilty about various writing-related things that weren't happening. Then I went out to a doctor's appointment where I met the most interesting technician, and heard delicious stories about her past boyfriends and her childhood on the street where I live. Positively positive stuff. The real world came through for me today!

  10. i love this post--such a great reminder of the world outside the screen. my word for the year is "joy," and i've been keeping a journal like your friend's where i record one thing each day that's brought me joy. today's will probably be playing shins songs with my awesome little guitar student. :)

  11. Thanks for this post!

    Today I realized a professor I had in my first semester of university not only remembers me, but is as excited that I'm in her class as I am to be in her class :)

  12. I love this post! It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one trying to balance so many things at once. I feel like a circus performer sometimes!

    So the best thing that happened to me today would be that I received the collector's book for the 80th Annual Writer's Digest Competition, and my name was in it! :) I got pretty pumped about that.

    Hope 2012 treats you extraordinarily well!

  13. This post was perfect for me today. I've been trying to grow my blog presence, reach out and make new friends, but everytime I try a blog hop a family thing comes up. I end up not having as much time as I'd like to visit other people's blogs, and as a result hardly anyone comes to mine. But you're right. Family, friends, life, is more important.

    One good thing for me today was finally posting those things on Ebay I've been meaning to since last year!

  14. Fabulous post! You sound like you have your priorities just right.
    Good for you!

  15. What a wonderful post! Balance is so important, but can be difficult to find, especially early on. It's good to see that you've found yours! :)

    Today? So far the best thing has been starting the day with a hot cup of tea. ^_^


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Item Reviewed: The Social Media Life Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Halbrook