Making Space Online & Offline, Inside & Out

I’m not big into resolutions. For me, there’s nothing like jumping on a trend to set myself up for utter failure. If I’m going to make significant changes, the need and desire has to come from within, not from a prescribed date on the calender. So this post isn’t about resolutions, but the realizations I’ve come to after reflecting on 2009. After spending my second full year as a full time writer. After launching one book, writing another, and starting two more. And here’s what I’ve figured out:

I need more space.

No, it’s not you. I don’t need space from you. I just need more space in my life. Physical space in my living area. Space between buildings. Creative space in my head and heart. Space between all of the online interactions and social networks into which I dove headfirst throughout 2009.

Technology and social networking have allowed me to connect with writers and readers in a way that just wasn’t possible when I was a teen reader. It’s been one of the most rewarding aspects of becoming a published author, and it’s something I look forward to continuing throughout my writing career. But I need to figure out how to do it better. Right now, I’m feeling a little one-night-standish with the Web, when I’m really looking for a committed relationship.

I love connecting with readers, but is clicking the “I like this” button on someone’s Facebook status lauding the wonder of guacamole really connecting? Is joining the group “I bet we can get one million people to hop on one foot and sing the national anthem while wearing a red sweater” really connecting? Is telling people what I ate for lunch really connecting? No, no, and no.

For me, connecting as an author is personally responding to reader emails. Participating in online discussions about writing. Discovering new books and recommending them to others. Meeting bloggers and librarians in person at conferences. Visiting schools and chatting with students who love to read and write. Going on a writers’ retreat with fellow authors. That’s the kind of connecting I want to do.

I’m also trying to figure out how to get more out of blogging. It’s the primary reason (second only to laziness, procrastination, and genuine writerly busy-ness) that I haven’t been posting much in 2010. Not that I don’t want to — I really enjoy blogging as much as I enjoy reading other people’s blogs because it’s another way to connect with readers, writers, and book people. I just want to make my posts more informative and fun and not too overwhelming (for me or for my 3 readers)! So there might be more space between entries this year, but hopefully, the quality of those entries will be better.

By freeing up some space between online interactions, I’m also hoping to free up some space inside from which I can draw more creative energy. More book writing. New story ideas. Photography. Tree hugging. All of the things I need to do to keep being me. To be happy and content. Do you feel a song coming on? 🙂

Here’s the scariest part. Now that I’m making an effort to put more space in my life online and on the inside, I’m seeking more space offline and on the outside, too. I’m… wow, this is so crazy… I’m getting rid of books. Yes. Books. Whole boxes of them. As much as I love books, I’ve finally accepted that unless they’re classics, stranded-on-a-desert-island favorites, written by author friends, or certain fantasy series’ that I love revisiting, I don’t re-read books. I don’t even refer to them again. I simply collect them on my bookshelf like little trophies, because I’ve always loved being surrounded by books and because that’s just what authors do. But with so many amazing new books published each year, and still hundreds if not thousands of classic adult and YA titles I’ve yet to read, I’m just not going to re-read most of the titles on my shelves, no matter how much I enjoyed them the first time. Instead, I’ve decided to donate them to local libraries and high schools, and to keep donating, as long as I keep reading.

And reading? That’s something I’ll never give up.

All I need to do now is get back to those Colorado open skies…

What about you? Is space important to you? How do you make room in your life, online and off?

10 thoughts on “Making Space Online & Offline, Inside & Out

  1. I am definitely in need of more space offline. Getting rid of books is something I’m trying to do as well. I don’t re-read, and as nice as it is to have a bookshelf overflowing with books, some of them have got to go. Since I’m a teen, my bedroom is where I sleep, my workspace, and general hang-out. And since I’m a cyber-school student, and my bedroom has the best internet access, I’m in here much more than the average teen. Another thing I’ve found myself doing is donating clothes I can’t wear anymore. As much as I’d like to, I’m never going to be a size three again, so holding onto that super comfortable and generally awesome pair of jeans isn’t going to do me any good.

    I’m still struggling with time management online. Twitter, especially. It’s just so… Accessible. I can go on with the intention of just checking updates for a few minutes, then spend thirty. Procrastination seems to be my best friend lately.

    • Good idea about the clothes! I could probably stand to drop some shoes, too. I’m the same way with the online time management. I’m hoping my new approach of trimming randomness and focusing on real interactions will help!

  2. I am selling my house, quitting my job in Corporate America and moving to Oregon to manage a ranch on 40,000 acres. It is surrounded by National Forest on 3 sides. My horses and my dogs will go with me. I am donating most of my material items to those who really want, and need, them. It was a huge step, but I’m content taking it. Talk about SPACE!!!

    Miss you!

  3. Am also into regularly purging. I am almost ready to start an artists colony for people like us, especially us YA people since we are uniquely intertwined with new media (seems like), for whatever reason. And, yeah, move west!

  4. Totally can relate. I felt like I was suffocating from lack of space in our old place. When we moved I tossed out a TON of stuff: clothes, toys. Junk I didn’t need. And I’m giving away books, too. Only my faves line my two claimed YA shelves in the office. Classic faves, like signed books from favorite authors or current ARCs and TBR’s.

    The space thing is crazy.
    Add two little kids to the mix and WHOA. 😀
    Hang in there, you’re doing grand.

  5. I’ve simplified so many different aspects of my life. I can attest to still needing more work in the online arena. In my case it was about getting rid of negative, weighing personalities in my life, as well as learning to live simply. By living simple, it merely means not bringing anything new into my home, unless it was needed. If you do, something has to leave in it’s place. If you’ve had no use for something in the past year, most usually you wont’ miss it if it’s gone.

    One very simple rule of thought. Life is much too short. When in doubt ask yourself am I willing to give up what little time and life I have in pursuit of whatever it is that is troubling you or someone that is just complicating your life. If the answer is yes, they’re worthy of taking up space in your life. If the answer is no. You’ve gained some more valuable time to give to something more worthy. (Hugs)Indigo

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