Inspired by social media and fortune cookies


Inspired by social media and fortune cookies.

I’ve blogged a lot about ideas, and creativity, and the way the brain processes information to generate new ideas… but today I want to share how my Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram/G+ friends and their passion, enthusiasm and support fire my creative jets and keep me working. (Please, click on those buttons on the sidebar and join the party!)

Since my books began taking off and I chose to be an “accessible author” who actively interacts with readers through social media, I’ve been experiencing The New Accessibility.

And I have a confession to make: I’m not actually that social. In fact, social media pretty much is my social life, and Mike’s too. We work, and we do things together, and we occasionally venture to something arty or out in nature…but we’re never lonely because we have our social media friends and family. When we do go out, we’re surrounded by them on this “small island” and we’ve met them in amazing and unlikely places, like a ghost town in Utah.

If I’m ever feeling lonely, all I have to do is throw something out to the Twitter/FBverse to find myself “connected” with a friendly, interested and interactive world. Mindful of buzz that says that people are sometimes made more lonely or isolated by all the apparent happiness of projected personas on social media, while I’m usually positive I’ll sometimes leak some of my bummer stuff, like my ongoing skin problems, getting manipulated by divorcing parents while doing kids’ therapy, or the shock of raised premiums and lowered benefits under “health care reform.”

These are real relationships with real people, who really care. Readers who’ve become friends have volunteered their time to comb through my manuscripts for typos, saving me time and money hiring a proofreader. Readers email, message, review and tweet me daily asking for more books, asking for movie or TV with my characters (leading to active shopping of the series in Hollywood!) and readers have emailed me about surviving all kinds of abuse and how the books have supported, encouraged and inspired them as they move toward freedom and healing.

All of which has been an incredible roller coaster ride, a heady voyage of hard work and dreams coming true.

Inspiration comes in many forms. I confess to a fondness for fortune cookies. The Holy Ghost is camped out in the fortune cookie factory making sure my weekly Panda Express indulgence gets a little divine seasoning.

These are uncannily perfect for me. Thanks, God.

These are uncannily perfect for me. Thanks, God.

Whenever I start to lose steam for my many projects (and don’t let anyone kid you—being an author/publisher/businessperson is great, but a LOT of work) my inspiration is all around me through encouraging relationships—both those “In Real Life” and those with wonderful people I may never meet in person, like my enthusiastic writer and reader friends and fans in faraway places like Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada, Italy and England just to name a few corners of the world. A friend I feel close to through social media, Ed White, wrote about this connectedness so well here on his blog post: How Facebook saved me from Loneliness .

I’m not only saved from loneliness, I’m inspired, connected and motivated.

How about you? When you lose steam, where do you find energy?


5 Responses to “Inspired by social media and fortune cookies”

  1. Elinor Gawel (Eli)

    Retiring and then moving 6,000 miles might have been unbearable if it wasn’t for social media. I have been able to stay connected to those I love that are far away and I have met so many new and wonderful people on this island (like you) through social media. When I go someplace on the island now I am almost surely going to see someone I know if not inr eal life then through social media. It does inspire me.

  2. Shalora

    It’s a bit odd to think that I’ve reconnected on Facebook with people I knew in elementary school (and we’re in our mid-30s now). There is never a reason to totally “lose” someone anymore, short of death – except that my therapist just left the practice (and the field entirely), and now I’m suddenly remembering what loss used to feel like, back before social media. And just for the record, it sucks.

    The concept of connection is a very interesting one. I just started a new job, and being a school bus driver means that I have several hours in the middle of the day when I’m at the lot (because it’s a half-hour commute one way and I’m NOT driving that 4 times a day) for several hours. I have found that there are some days when I want a break from the crowd – but I wish I had a way to get online (no computers for us to use there, and I can’t afford a tablet or smartphone or anything). After ages of wishing I had more real contact. I guess I’m re-learning the realities of interacting face-to-face vs online, they’re very different experiences. Hopefully I’ll get some balance over the next few weeks – between fatigue (getting up at 4:45 am!), new-job stress, dealing with the kids (who are nice, but super squirrely sometimes!), then add in being around people *all the time* with me being an introvert, it’s making for a rocky adjustment period… (And doing it without my therapist is just extra-super-fun. I have a new one, but I’ve seen her twice – we haven’t bonded yet.)

    Speaking of skin, how’s the hand?

  3. Toby Neal

    Shalora, that does seem like a large and stressful change. I think I’d hate having a chunk of “wasted time” in the middle of the day and lots of people around. I’d problem-solve practically on how to “redeem the time”–bring along reading, and beading or jewelry-making projects, or crochet…your journal. Retreat to your bus and recharge your batteries the old fashioned way, maybe even take a nap!
    Speaking of skin, it’s pretty bad. Still having problems. It’s migrated all over my body, horribly itchy and not pretty to look at either. The dermatologist thinks its an allergy but i’ve come up negative on all her tests. I’ve changed my diet and every product in the house and that I use, and the mystery still isn’t solved. Thanks for asking!

    • Shalora

      Oh yeah, I always bring my knitting and a book. 🙂 I just find that I miss being online, of all random things, and sometimes I *really* want someplace comfy to sit (all they have for us are metal folding chairs, ugh) and some space from the people – even if they’re respecting that I’m reading and not talking to me, I’m still just surrounded by people from generally 6:30-6:40 am until about 5-5:15 pm. That’s a long day for an introvert who has been very isolated for a number of years!

      If it helps, I have this rash I’ve had since I was a kid – the dermatologists we saw back then (25 years ago, wow) came back with “something fungal, not ringworm, otherwise we don’t know” and put me on topical antifungals. Well, they never killed it completely, it would come back and it slooooowly spread over a small, local area. Flares for a while, dies back for a while, and it’s been pretty quiescent for the past couple of years – until recently, when suddenly it’s exploding everywhere, including my FACE, and is all itchy and crazy. No insurance, but I recently learned of a free medical clinic for residents of my county, and got prescribed oral antifungals the other day. So, here’s hoping they can do something for both of our skins! Stuff like this is just miserable, I can definitely empathize!