Reflections On My Virtual Retreat

I took time away from social media this summer, and here's what I discovered:

(1) I was able to write, finishing a full draft of TIGER BOY (forthcoming from Charlesbridge in 2014). Good news: editor Yolanda Roy likes it!

(2) I relished the silence, not missing the loud opinions of people who abuse social media as propaganda. Twitter and Facebook simply aren't appropriate containers for the big issues of life. They are best for small talk, a perfectly valid, relaxing, entertaining form of communication. Blogs are better at serving up political and religious opinions, but still not as good as well-edited articles or excellent oral presentations, which both take more time to prepare and demand the accountability of vetted research. For big, deep thoughts and arguments, at least in my opinion, there's nothing to match the spacious, thoughtfully crafted vessel of a book.
(3) I read more, prayed more, and deliberately spent more time with people face to face.

(4) After this break, I've decided to put a stop to assessing my own and others' social media "influence," getting rid of my Klout account and doing my best to ignore the numbers. Every voice matters equally, despite the claims of our celebrity culture.

(5) I got lonely at times, and remembered anew that isolation is a hazard of self-employment. The chat, humor, entertainment, and buzz of social media is a gift to writers, as is the ability to stay aware of news and events in the lives of people we cherish.
In any case, I'm back now. I'll be tweeting from the Betsy-Tacy convention this weekend in Mankato, Minnesota, where I'll be sharing five writing tips I've gleaned from author Maud Hart Lovelace. Here's to detox, rehab, and a fresh start.


Sherry said…
Welcome back. May the good influences of your break endure and may you find ways to engage online in a thoughtful, even prayerful, way.
Mitali Perkins said…
Thank you, dear Sherry. You are an example to me in this goal.
marcy prager said…
Congratulations on your new book, Miltali! I am eager to read it!
Amy Spanne said…
I gave up computer games for lent this year. I don't spent a ton of time on social media, but get sucked into the games. All of the sudden I fount this gaping, empty hole in my day! An hour of nothing to do but pray and be more thoughtful about my tasks. Needless to say, I'm back at time wasting again 3 months later. But I know it's a worthwhile endeavor. Best wishes on your new book, Mitali!
I just took some time off and am eager to put some boundaries on my on-liine time.
tanita davis said…
What a brave and refreshing thing to do. I know people who take internet "Sabbaths" and do it weekly, and I've often thought of that.

I know I waste time... but with what, I'm not sure. I'm not doing a lot of social media, but it's probably still just blogs for me. You're right about the forums for real and deep discussion not necessarily being here. I am hopeful to find some way to follow your example, be more productive, and live more mindfully. Welcome back.
Mitali Perkins said…
Thanks so much, Marcy and Amy. Caroline, all the best to you as you seek your balance. Tanita, peace be with you. I certainly enjoyed meeting you face to face, away from screens and plugs.
cynthia2156 said…
Hello my Berkeley friend! I read one of you books years ago when it was featured in the Contra Costa Times and really enjoyed it.

Hope you are well. Our oldest of 4 heads to college this summer.