Social media – must I, really? But I just want to write!
by Robert Scanlan
Laura O. invited me to guest blog. I accepted and then pondered, What do I write about?
I share a simple story, reflective of one of a new author’s major challenges – often unrecognized until shortly after publication.
Jubilation rules atop an exclusive San Diego waterfront hotel, where 250 friends and family, including 10 usher/bridesmaid couples, cut loose in celebration on the jammed dance floor. I sit with a handsome and dapper usher whose withdrawn facial expression clashes with his tuxedo and the high energy of the evening.
“You look great in that tux, man. But you don’t look like you’re enjoying yourself. Anything wrong?”
“Weeelll … it’s my partner,” my 10-year-old grandson Caden responds.
His partner is 11, a beautiful child with thick, raven-black hair coiffed for this special event, likely the envy of most of the ladies present. She exudes every indication she will mature into a lovely young woman.
“She’s hard to talk to and she’s ugly. I can’t stand that hair.”
“Sorry you’re uncomfortable. Wanna talk about it?”
Clear eye contact and a nod, difficult to capture from adults in everyday life, open the door.
Over the next 15 minutes, Caden listens attentively as Pops assures him that his response to this new experience is very common; his outlook almost certainly will change in the next two or three years; and he will be amazed at the transition by the end of high school.
“In the meantime, and continuing for life, your job as a man is to find something you like, not what you don’t like, about every girl you meet, and to help her feel better about herself for whatever that characteristic is. Works with guys, too. And you’ll have more friends.”
A paralyzing challenge for many new writers is: What do I like about myself and my book? This question displayed in my mind as, “I want visibility for my book, but who will like it and how do I try to reach them through social media?”
The answer lies in finding what is likeable within myself and within my writings: What do I like about myself? What do I like about my book?
I identified attractive qualities, and felt good about these personal and literary characteristics. Sometimes positive and insightful friends can help this process. Then I asked myself, “Who is likely to agree with me? Who appreciates those qualities, too?”
With bold and sensible outreach, my perspective – and possibly my life – changed within weeks. Writers can open new worlds through social media. I can almost guarantee it!
The other good news is that a person need not wait until after publication to start this process. Today is a highly effective time to start!
Caden just turned 13. Maybe it’s time for another chat … see how he’s doing.
Robert Scanlan recently published Tigers Under My Bed: Life Lessons Tamed During Three Organ Transplants, a five-star rated book on Amazon.com. He is a recipient of three organ transplants over the past 17 years, and the recipient of awards from Donate Life in both California and Arizona for his work in promoting donor registration. Robert facilitated the liver transplant support group at UCLA under the auspices of the Clinical Social Services Department for two years. He is a lecturer at USC in Los Angeles in their post graduate program for social workers. His speaking engagements have addressed thousands of nurses, doctors, patients, and the general public. Reach Robert via LinkedIn.com or at Robert@tigersundermybed.com . You can subscribe to his blog at TigersUnderMyBed.com.