Thursday, February 18, 2010

Too bad we don't use white-out anymore.

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!


Mistress of Fantasy said...

I understand completely. I miss the human voice aspect when chatting online as well. I offend people with my sense of humor and often have to explain, too. It does get frustrating. While we authors may tend to be private people, we still have a basic human need of contact. I do not like sitting at home without some sort of background noise when kids are at school and hubby's at work. I used to just turn on the TV to hear voices, even though they are not talking to me specifically.
Yes, I have learned how to "communicate" online, I much prefer face to face where people understand my weird sense of humor.
And on that note, you can still use white-out, you just won't be able to see your screen. XD

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

You sound too dang much like me! LOL. I hope you're coming to the LDS Storymakers conf. I want to meet you in person! =)

Cheri Chesley said...

I'd love to have her at Storymakers, too, but she lives in Alaska (she's my sis in law lol).

Writing is not the reclusive thing it was in, say, JD Salinger's time. One of the things that drew me to writing was the ability to say the things I could never say out loud. I started out as a reclusive person and I've had to come out of my shell in order to succeed as a writer--and it's been tough!

I get misunderstood a lot when communicating electronically. I'm sarcastic. I think it's genetic. But I have great friends who ask, "What do you mean?" when they're unsure of what I said. And I've learned how to be more careful expressing myself.

M. Gray said...

I am getting WAY too fond of being alone. My Mom has always been an introvert and I asked her if she was when she was a child. She said no, that it's been more of a grown up thing for her and now I'm turning out that way. I love people, but I only love being around people when I know I can be alone sometime that day too.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Glad I'm not the only sarcastic nut out there! LOL

Julie Wright said...

Happens to me all the time, but not usually in writing. I am far more polite and sensible in writing. In person, however . . . I don't have a sifter between my brain and my mouth and the most horrible things spill out and then I agonize over what an idiot I am for weeks afterward. I wish I came with a delete button.

elizabeth mueller said...

I appreciate you putting your heart out and reaching out to others, including me. It certainly takes courage to do that.


L.T. Elliot said...

I hear you. However, I don't know that I'm much better in person than I am online! I tend to talk WAY too much. =P

Daniel Dragomirescu said...

Nice and so feminin.
Daniel D. Peaceman, writer and editor

Mistress of Fantasy said...

Lol, Julie! I have no brain-to-mouth connection either. I stopped agonizing over what I say finally. People can take it however they wish. There are some things I say that make me stop and say, "What? Where did that come from?!"
And yes, I'd love to be at StoryMakers if I had the money to fly down there. Yet another reason to go visit Cheri! :D

C. K. Bryant said...

GREAT Post. I totally agree with you. Although I don't miss having to type my thoughts on a typewriter and use white-out, I do miss the one on one communication of the past. I've become a bit of a hermit, I'm afraid.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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