Meet Me Outside Social Media?
Updated: Feb 4, 2022
I've decided to nurture my connections & share about my children's books elsewhere.
I’m not much into Valentine’s Day, but this year on February 14th I’ll be giving a Valentine to myself: deleting my social media accounts. It's not as fun as dark chocolate but I think it will be good for my heart nonetheless!
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I write books for kids about “solutionaries” who help people, animals & the planet—and, in all aspects of my life, I try to be a solutionary, too. This means I always question whether the places I’m spending my time, energy, and dollars align with the ways I want the world to be (and, if not, what I can do to help change it).
Like many folks, I’ve been disheartened and anxious witnessing social media's business practices and devolving discourse and disinformation. I've been concerned about our collective mental health, and the time-sucking stress I often feel when I'm on social media (or feeling like I should be). And I’ve done a lot of reading, thinking, and talking about these issues.
I’ve read books like Digital Minimalism, How To Break Up With Your Phone, and Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now and many great articles. I’ve watched films like The Social Dilemma and had countless conversations with my husband and friends about this (bless their patience!). I’ve been inspired by other writers and artists quitting social media and continuing to thrive in their writing/art careers (and by more folks doing it and more advice circulating on why/how to do it).
Many times, I've taken long social media breaks and almost hit “delete” for good. But then I got nervous about my career. I got FOMO. So I’d get back on there and connect with folks, share & hear book news (which is truly great—I'll miss that part most!). But I’d see other stuff, too, and watch time tick away, and have the same old stomach-clenching concerns about the medium and what we’re all doing on there (and not doing while we're on there).
So, finally, I’ve decided: It’s time for me to leave social media and put my energy elsewhere. Maybe forever. At least for the foreseeable future.
I absolutely love writing children’s books and sharing them with others. I love connecting with other kidlit creators, with librarians, teachers, parents/guardians & friends about my children’s books, and about children’s books in general (especially diverse nonfiction!). And I hope and plan to keep doing this in other ways.
I will be blogging more—sharing my book news on my author website here, and sharing about other kidlit books/creators on my diverse nonfiction kidlit website/blog, Solutionary Stories. (I had a blog in the aughts called "Having Enough (In a Have-It-All World)" and I'm kind of excited to be back to the form.) I'll be reading more kidlit blogs, too (so please drop me a line if you have one you think I'd like—especially nonfiction and/or diverse kidlit!).
At the bottom of both of my websites is a box where you can subscribe to receive my email newsletters, which I’ll send out most months (but not too often!). I hope you'll subscribe, and reply back to my newsletter emails, or shoot me an email, any time.
I'll be teaching workshops with SCBWI and The Writing Barn. I'll be participating in conferences and book festivals and visiting schools (virtually). I hope to be a guest on colleagues’ blogs and podcasts. And I hope to continue building authentic and deep connections with the people I know and meet in these places. (I also hope to be writing more books in the time I've previously used on social media!)
If you’re struggling with the social media dilemma, too, I send you support and solidarity as you find the right balance for you. If you’re interested in knowing how my children’s book career is going without social media a few months down the road, let me know, and I’ll share an update here on my blog.
And no matter what, thank you for reading this, for reading my books, and for meeting me in other places.
Happy Valentine’s Day!