Happy to be on the outside looking in…

Hello everyone, this is my first post, and I’ve finally decided on a name for my news post, “From the outside looking in.” It’s probably too long, but I plan to use “From the Outside” most of the time.  It’s perfect because I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in (even when I was on the inside). I’ve come to believe a lot of people feel the same.

For the last 20 years I’ve been an education professor, but now I’m retired so now I can write fiction. True, I’m not making a lot of money at it (well, any money–yet!), but I’m having a lot of fun, having my voice, and slowly getting better at it.

Right now, however, I’ve entered the world of publishing and once again I’m looking from the outside in. For example I’ve been on Twitter lately, reading people’s feeds, and thinking, “WTF?!?” How does this help people connect? That’s what I want.

I started an account because some random guy on the Internet said that writers needed gumption and for him gumption was about having a strong presence on social media.

So far I have no followers. I haven’t started to reach out. Some part of me wants to see how long I can go with no followers, not one. I know how to get followers. I had an account many years ago and deleted it because I was too busy. It’s easy, you follow someone and they follow you back. It’s called tit-for-tat. As a professor I told students I would post announcements (like when class was cancelled) and guess what, they followed me! Your popularity is not dependent on how cute your dog is (although cute dogs help, no doubt about it! I’m shamelessly using mine). It’s more about social media algorithms.

But, letting my Twitter account stand idle with no followers, that, to me, takes real gumption! I’m feeling this desperate need to click, but I’m a rebel, baby! Right now my account looks so pristine, untainted by even a hint of pointless drivel. No doubt it won’t take long before I’m having fun spouting gibberish to nobody in particular. It’s an acquired taste, I’m sure.

Can you guess what I write about? I write science fiction and my characters will always be on the outside looking in. I’ve finished my first novel called Virtuous Souls and it’s out on submission. I was thrilled recently to learn that the Chanticleer Book Review team chose my novel to compete for the Cygnus Award for emerging new talent in science fiction for 2017.

We’ll see if my novel sells to a publisher. In the meantime, I probably should go do something about my sad Twitter account. It’s just that when I look at some of these social media platforms, I can’t help but worry that some people feel they’re on the outside looking in — feeling like losers. And, it’s easy to get the impression that there are clear-cut winners and losers, especially as people compare jobs, cars, homes, or numbers of twitter followers. Let me just say right now:

IT’S an ILLUSION, BABY! We all face challenges, and in my book (literally) everyone can be winners, even if they’re dead!

PS: Drop me a note below if you wish, or check out my twitter feed at @PCLePage if you want to see a picture of my dog! 😊  What I do like about social media is the connection!

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