So I was thinking about this in the shower this morning – it’s where I do all of my thinking, lol – all of us are living a double life, but how far does it go?
The concept isn’t new. People have spoken about cyber-lives for years. With the rise of social media it’s easy to communicate with any number of people who share our passions.
But when I read forums, and blogs, I find myself wondering, how far apart are we? I would imagine that the vast majority of folk have friends and family on their social media platforms. But when it comes to reading, and more specifically in my genre of romance, how many of us share our thoughts and passions with those closest to us? As readers, are people more inclined to share their ideas with those in their virtual lives than those in their real lives?
The idea then progressed to writers. Writing requires willpower and stamina, you have to have the ability to push through even when everything in you wants to go to bed, and forget the whole mess. Yet, in some circles certain genres have a stigma attached, preconceptions exist about what being a writer of those genre indicates. Certainly, romance and erotica writers have stigma attached to what they do. It seems amazing, because there is such an outpouring of love from readers on genre specific websites and discussion boards. But I’m sure every romance writer has seen the eye roll, or the heard snigger, that accompanies our confession to others of what we do, as if somehow your genre is sub-par.
On the internet, in the reader and writer zones, we can discuss freely and be proud of what we read, and of what we write. But that’s not always the case in the three-dimensional world, which to me only reinforces the belief that there is something of a divide. Are you living a double life? Am I? Just who are we? Are we who we are online? Where we can be honest and share with those who accept our views and passions? Or are we that person at the water cooler who states we had a “quiet weekend”? When in truth the book you’ve been waiting half a year for has just been released, and you’ve spent all weekend awake reading, and discussing, said novel with your virtual buddies. You didn’t get a wink of sleep, and are surviving on pure adrenaline. But who would understand?
So again, there is this divide.
But those who do the sniggering, or the judging, don’t understand. They don’t know the passion, the enjoyment, that we get from reading and from writing. I’m sure there are those in my three-dimensional world who would be shocked to read my work. But it’s tame compared to what else is on the market. But they don’t know the market.
I read a comment on a Goodreads message board a while ago about FSOG, about how big a success it was, and how impressed everyone was. This comment I read said something along the lines of, “it’s just that New York sat up and took notice.” It made me laugh because I said the same thing to bemused friends who ranted about the book. I’m not passing judgement on the work here, just to be clear. I’m simply saying that when people were so amazed by this “unique” book I thought, ‘there’s been stuff like that out for years!’ Those readers didn’t know the market. But you do.
Readers here in this virtual world have experience of the genre, they have a love for it, a passion, that in my view makes you the most educated and valued audience a writer could have.
Is there a divide between reality and virtuality? Yes, probably. But that doesn’t make one right and one wrong. It should make us value each other more. In short, no one understands me like you do, lol, you guys are the best!
Good luck on your adventures,