According to various studies, about 23% of the world (and 43% of Americans) are on social media. We all seem to know someone who has, for better or worse, been “addicted” to the internet. They’re updating their status or posting things or answering comments. Sometimes people do have a point to make, or want to share information they feel others need to know. A lot of the time people post to not be forgotten. The unsubtle communication that social media offers works well for some things. I tend to be more gratuitously verbose. So I write books, and articles, and essays instead, because I have something to say.
A lot of my work is classified as non-fiction, of the instructional or self-help variety. Most people don’t see that type of writing as a form of self-expression, but it is. There is a point of view being stated. I have thoughts and opinions on these topics, even if my presentation isn’t emotional or dramatic. Books on writing reflect a world view, not just things that have works for me but the way I know things ought to be done. My tabletop roleplaying work definitely promotes a specific point of view.
When I write, I’m making a statement. I’m not starting a conversation or, more likely, an argument. This is why, for the most part, I now keep comments closed on blog posts and podcast episodes. I know that’s not proper social engagement, but we’ve lost sight of the purpose of interaction. When I read a book, I don’t get to engage with the author in real time as I’m reading it, or as they’re writing it. That’s proper. They need to be able to create in their own space with their own chosen influences. I need to be able to digest and interpret a work on my own terms, with my own lenses and filters and contexts. There’s a time and a place for having discussions. Those discussions should be organic, or at least organized, not forced. We’re made to feel comments are mandatory because something something web 2.0.
Writing in peace and solitude allows me to wrap my head around the ideas I’m writing about. I get to form actual opinions on things, because I’m taking the time. Writing does include reading. It’s doing research, and contemplating the things you have read. Writing things long-form means that I don’t have to dumb things down. There’s no need to remove necessary context for the sake of brevity or character limits. It allows me to present an idea, fully formed. Writing means saying everything I need to without interruption, derailment, or distortion.
You can read more about Why I Write here.