Not that kind of wall, not the kind that keeps things out. I mean a wall you hang your treasures on, like pictures or posters or inspirational quotes. A digital wall will do. Facebook had it right when it called a user’s space their wall. Where they got it wrong was charging us to show our friends our walls, while still selling all that information about us to businesses that may or may not have good intentions.
There’s a popular social media meme (which may or may not be a way to collect data about you) that encourages everyone to share a picture of themselves now and ten years ago. That poster on the wall over my desk has a picture of me after my publisher’s annual author/reader conference. I was a new author and the interaction with readers and other authors was awesome and inspiring. One author convinced me to check out Second Life–she’d been reading my blog and thought I’d love virtual. She was right. Not long after I discovered Opensim and while I make my home there I keep a presence in many virtual worlds.
Back when I released my first book, authors had just started blogging. We visited each others spaces for problem solving tips, inspiration, and to strike up friendships. Every now and then I would log on and see some author I admired had dropped by to comment on something I was doing or to thank me for something I said. I even landed my first video game writing job because of what was on my blog. Somewhere that early community wandered off track. We traded socializing for promoting. Posting status updates and tweets was faster than blogging. It didn’t take as much time or as much thought.
But the pressure to produce one book release a year quickly turned into four releases, and then four releases in a year turned into one a month if you want to be taken seriously. Anything that saved time for writing was adopted. Authors hired assistants to manage their social media and then ghost writers to help meet impossible production schedules. What used to be a lovely back and forth between writers and readers on Twitter at Happy Hour every evening is now just a bunch of automated bots posting and retweeting scripted lists of users posts to an audience that contains few real people.
Even more than I miss taping anything I want to this blog wall, I miss long thinks about what I could share to help others, or how to describe a problem so others could share solutions with me.
As always, I will write my own posts and my own books. While my slow production might mark me as not serious about my career, I will do it at a pace that allows time for serious thinking about who characters are and what they have to say. What stories and poems have to say. Maybe at some point I will be able to get past my one release a year average. But I think it’s time to get back to pinning up my ponderings and poetry on this wall I own. I won’t let the business side of writing get in the way of the thoughtful side again.