When a writer’s work is published, it not only goes out into the spotlight, but so does the writer. People who read books are pretty much guaranteed to be interested in learning more about the people who wrote the words, to find out more about the mind behind the stories they become devoted fans of. But the spotlight can be a double-edged sword.

Writers need to use public appearances and speaking in order to help spread the word about their work and build a network with other writers. It’s part of the marketing process. The nice thing about these events and conferences is that a writer can plan ahead to prepare for these events.

On the other hand, sometimes the spotlight can bring about negative feelings. The simple fact is not all people crave or seek the spotlight, especially introverted people like me. It’s especially negative when one hasn’t had the time to prepare, and it feels that everyone’s converging on them. That’s why I haven’t liked it when people unexpectedly start singing on my birthday.

There have certainly been a number of famous writers who haven’t craved the spotlight, such as Harper Lee and Emily Brontë. With the latter, it was her sister Charlotte who got herself, Emily, and Anne on their publishing ventures; had Emily been left to herself, she may not have published anything in her lifetime. J. D. Salinger went so far as to become a recluse and gradually cease publishing (though in his case, it may have also been due to unresolved PTSD from his service in World War II as well as fans of his magnum opus).

And, of course, the spotlight can have negative effects in another way. If people start scrutinizing your life, it can lead to mental trauma and even scandal. Throughout the news there have been numerous headlines about rough patches and downward spirals that many celebrities have gotten into, with gossip about what they are doing, especially in their personal lives. I definitely don’t want that.

It’s good to get away from the spotlight and the Internet sometimes. That’s why I’m taking my efforts to balance scales further by cutting back more on the number of logins per social media site per day, with reassessments of my social media activity.

When publishing, especially these days, it’s no longer possible to avoid the spotlight, but privacy is still something worth guarding. Therefore, it’s a good idea to prepare for public events such as reading, and it may be possible to satisfy the public’s curiosity without giving away too much, regulating what can be shared and what isn’t. They don’t need to know everything. One’s privacy is one’s own and no others.

To my fellow Americans, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for home, family, and privacy.


17 thoughts on “Spotlight

  1. HI Andrew, I hope you are having a happy Thanksgiving. I agree that being an author does require a social media presence but I limit mine to sharing mainly about my hobbies, baking and cooking, and places of interest I visit. I don’t share pictures of my family very often and I also don’t write to much about my own life and personal journey. Having a social media presence doesn’t mean you have to put your whole life in the public domain, unless you want to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, Andrew! Great post on why privacy matters and the need to take a break or even a step back to reassess. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Cheers, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A sensible approach Andrew and I rarely share anything private on social media but it is useful for promoting not just my books but the authors that I like to showcase as well. I used to love being one of the crowd but as I have got older and particularly in the last two years, I have become more reclusive. I do find that the wider community here that has evolved over the last ten or so years has been a wonderful way to stay in touch with people in a different way and one that suits me.. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

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