The Story of My Life

by Ashlynmathews on March 17, 2015

Old door woth rusted key, pesetas coin

Yesterday, I did something I never thought I’d do. I went through Facebook and unfriended people I thought of as more acquaintances than “friends.” To get to the why, you have to understand the story of my life.

When I first started my blog back in 2012, my posts focused on my journey to getting published. Back then—and this may be the case now for a majority of writers—you were a credible “author” if you were picked up by a traditional publisher. Traditional didn’t have to be the Big Six publishers. Traditional can be a small press publisher.

Fast forward three years—three years!—and that’s not the case anymore. Many self-published authors (think H.M Ward and Jamie McGuire) have made the New York Times bestsellers list. There’s very little stigma to being self-published, or an Indie author.

So how does this tie in to unfriending people on Facebook?

What I love about life is our free will to choose what is best for each of us based on our past experiences, our present situation, and what we’d like to see for our future. I wouldn’t mind being published by one of the Big Six publishers and to have my print books available in a Target or a B&N. One can dream.

However, I realize the pressures of writing a book, of giving the rights to my story that I’d sacrificed time with family and friends for, and of having limited control over the work for however long the contract specifies, isn’t for me. I’ve learned that pressure (usually from myself through a self-imposed deadline) blocks the creative juices in my brain. Blocked juices equates to a cranky writer. Cranky writer equals grumpy mom and wife.

Okay, I’m getting closer to the why behind my unfriending people, and the closer has to do with these realizations:

  1. I don’t have a critique partner or beta readers for a reason. I’m a very indecisive person by nature. If I had too much input, I’d never make up my mind, and the book won’t get finished.
  2. I easily compare myself to others, and have a love/hate tug-of-war with their successes. Comparing myself to others and finding myself lacking is not the way to gain confidence to finishing that darn book!
  3. My final realization as to why I unfriended people? Writing is a solitary endeavor. I write under a pen name. My real life happens under my real name, my real FB profile. My real life is not a solitary endeavor. My real life is filled with my boys, my family, my husband, my friends, and my real job. I’ve enjoyed the writer friends I’ve made over the three years. However, to keep the interaction “real,” I’ve decided to keep the circle of “friends” small.

If you were unfriended, I hope you’ll understand it was nothing personal. It’s just the story of my life.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie Lynch March 18, 2015 at 1:55 pm

I COMPLETELY understand this. When I started my FB personal page 3-4 years ago it was to connect with family and good friends. Not knowing the ramifications of writer acquaintances friending me, I at first let in everyone. Then I regretted it because they weren’t really friends. They were writers who wanted to share their publications.

I then created a FAN page and asked all of them to go there to keep up on my writing. I do NOT talk much about my writing on my personal page because I interact with family and good friends.

Interestingly, very few of the writers who had friended me bothered to go LIKE my FAN page. I have been slowly unfriending them and again asking them to go to my FAN page to keep up with me. It is a difficult thing to do because people are so sensitive about it. But you are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT in doing so! We all need to have separation between our writing life and personal life.

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Ashlynmathews March 19, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Thanks Maggie for commenting! I find that separating the writing life from the personal life seems to work better for me. I don’t believe I’m antisocial in any way. I just think my life is too busy to have the extra time to devote to other people. My family and my boys are my top priority right now. You are right to have the fan page. I think, as writers, a fan page is appropriate to share writing related news with others.

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