Stepping away from the microphone
I’ve decided—yes, it’s the middle of the night—to take a break from this newsletter for a while, at least. If you’re a subscriber, for which my deepest thanks, you won’t be charged any more. I suspect that I will creep back here every once in a while to share an article or a thought—I will still be writing at The Nation—but I don’t think I’m going to do the weekly post anymore.
For me and I suppose for a lot of writers, there’s a constant battle between too much and too little.
Too little (publication, productivity) and you start to feel you are no longer Relevant, especially in the ways that social media defines relevance: that constant battle to get retweeted or liked. This is not something I have ever wanted to participate in, which is why I am not on social media. The relevance I want is the relevance of a writer whose books get read. Still, for everyone, the decision is easier to make than to stick to, like my recent decision to kick caffeine. The Internet is always there, tugging at our sleeves. You can’t ignore it. But I think I have to try a bit harder.
Too much: too much exposure, too much “putting yourself out there.” All my life, I’ve vacillated between wanting to be seen and wanting to be invisible. I suspect most writers feel this way. But I also feel that putting yourself out there too much is a violation of the modesty that I, at least, need in order to write what I really want to write: those books that I want to get read. I don’t know how to strike this balance. And I also feel a bit obnoxious invading people’s inboxes all the time with yet another thing to read or to ignore.
Still, I do know that I’ve enjoyed doing this for these last six months. I appreciate the freedom to write and publish without all the obstacles that come between writing and reading. I’m going to hit pause for a while. I’m sure I’ll be back eventually. We’ll see how long it lasts: this is, after all, only Day 4 without caffeine.
Thanks for reading and keep in touch,