Do you have a love/hate relationship with social media?
Love to connect with like-minded peeps, but hate the hate, not to mention the trance of mindless scrolling?
I want to share an experience I had on Twitter recently, not to encourage you to spend more time online, but to consider another way to approach it.
I’ve never liked Twitter, never been able to get much of a conversation going there around writing or art. Also, the site is littered with negativity.
My daughter, however, has built an account of 40,000 followers supporting people who suffer with mental illness.
She has created a sweet and compassionate community for herself and those she serves.
My husband has also reported a caring OCD community on Twitter.
Given the fact that I’m writing a memoir about parenting OCD, I thought I should give Twitter another try, but focus on parenting and mental illness.
Impressed with some of the more creative accounts my daughter showed me (those kids), I decided to try something new.
A few months ago, I committed to write one true thing I know about parenting a child with OCD, every day, and then post it to my Twitter account.
Taking Twitter out of the realm of promotion and making it into a practice felt more aligned with why I write and what matters to me.
While I don’t have 40,000 followers nor do I suspect I ever will, I have met some wonderful folks, including James McMahon, who has 33,000 followers and a new podcast about OCD.
A few weeks ago, James asked me to be a guest on the podcast, and we had a productive conversation about parenting OCD.
Write one true thing about your writing project every day. One sentence that lands in your own heart and mind.
Do it because it feels good. Do it because it’s good practice.
When you go online to social media to post, instead of sharing what you ate for breakfast, post one that true thing.
I can’t make any guarantees about growing your author platform, but it feels a lot better than mindlessly jumping online and getting lost in the stream.
A few minutes into our conversation, James asked me how and when I learned about the complexities of OCD, given that almost no understands what’s happening when it first manifests.
I was embarrassed to admit that it took me five years after my daughter’s diagnosis to get my family to OCD Con, the annual conference of the International OCD Foundation, which is the source of information about the disorder.
“I didn’t want to go in the beginning,” I told James, “because OCD was already taking up so much of our lives”
I felt like a terrible parent, realizing I might have saved my daughter years of suffering. But James didn’t judge me.
“I get that,” he said. “I sometimes wonder why I’m doing this podcast because I’ve already spent so much of my life dealing with OCD.”
James didn’t think I was a bad person. He saw his experience mirrored in my own.
SAY THE THING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL VULNERABLE.
That is often how essay and memoir work.
When you allow yourself be unguarded, when you open up about your failings, someone else feels seen and understood.
James and I also talked a lot about writing. He wanted to know how I dealt with the dark moments on the page. You can listen to our conversation here.