Ever think about the way communication and networking have exploded because of the internet? Is it a good thing? It wasn't that long ago that we had to actually pick up a phone to communicate,(and I mean to talk, not text.) we had to write letters and place a stamp on them. It all took time. Now, with the flick of finger, we type out our abbreviated sentences and send them on, never needing to hear another human voice for hours at a time.
On one hand, I love it. On the other we are becoming less socialized. For this reason, I am so glad we all get together for writing conferences and things of that nature so we can socialize and actually meet one another. I'm very grateful for a great critique group too. They keep me humble and on my toes.
The thing I've been dwelling on lately is when writing emails, blogs and facebook posts it is very easy to take something someone says the wrong way. Has that ever happened to you? It has to me. Or I get an email or read a post and think, "What did they mean by that?" We can't hear tone of voice. We can't see expressions. We don't hear the sarcasm in a joke or see that tongue in cheek wink.
I have always felt I make a much better impression in person. I like joking around and playful teasing and often, in the blogging or cyber world, I am misunderstood. I find that sometimes I have to stop and explain myself. It's frustrating and makes me sad to think I may have offended someone with my stupid sense of humor. Now, don't get me wrong. It doesn't happen all the time, but has happened enough that it's on my mind. It's too easy to take what someone says and not "get" it. I see that happen all the time.
A miscommunication happened recently with my editor. She emailed me that she was missing some of my manuscript pages that I'd sent her. I thought she meant the ones she had originally corrected. I send those back with my revised pages. I felt terrible. I wrote back saying how sorry I was and I felt like such an idiot for losing them. She wrote back saying, "Can't you just re-print them?" She had meant my revised pages, not the originals. I was so relieved. But this is something that would have been cleared up quickly if we'd been talking face to face. I miss that sometimes. I would love to meet my editor and shake her hand, get a feel for her sense of humor and sit down to a casual lunch. Hopefully, we'll get to do that one of these days.
On the other hand, we writers tend to be private people. I don't think we always start out that way but from long hours alone at the computer, we tend to get used to our privacy and the quiet and it becomes a stretch to get out there. Once I do, I love it. I've always loved to talk, talk, talk and it doesn't take me long to get warmed up, but often, I do find myself wanting to be left alone, not answering the phone and hiding in the tub to read a good book. (The tub is filled with hot, steamy water, by the way. I don't hide there in my clothes.)
So, it's a two edged sword. One we need to wield delicately. What we say out there, stays out there, so it better be something we'll look back on and be glad we said. For those other things that we regret writing or saying . . . don't be afraid to stick your neck out there to apologize, to clean it up, to correct it. Yea for white-out!