Falling Back Into the Habit


I have made two life decisions that are honestly so inconsequential that I judge myself for even needing to make this “announcement.” However, this is who I am, and I absolutely need to explain these “decisions” that I have actually wrestled with over the last year:

  1. Later this week, I will be deleting my Facebook accounts –both my personal profile and my writer page
  2. I am broadening the scope and organization of my website, writings, and blog
Although it's been a weird year, we've managed to make time for hiking and camping this fall. It's my absolute favorite time of year - and the time when I miss the East Coast the most.

First, Facebook

There are multiple reasons I want to leave Facebook, but they all generally come down to this: I hate Facebook 98% of the time. (The other 2% I’m liking cute pictures of kids and puppies.) I’m scrolling my life away, y’all.

And what’s more? Real people I know are becoming flat and inauthentic personas to me as our virtual interactions begin to outnumber our real interactions. Also, if one more person shares a news story without looking at the date it was published or a clearly photoshopped image as evidence of some wrong or right doing, I’m going to have a heart attack. I hate how the platform allows me to lean into my already-judgmental nature, or perhaps equally destructive, my many insecurities. No matter how I slice it, Facebook is an infinite number of opportunities to compare my life against the incomplete reports of others’.

So, Facebook just isn’t for me. I do know it’s a productive place for many to share ideas and feelings, but it turns out that I’m just not disciplined enough to use it without negatively impacting my time, heart, and thoughts. Now, none of this is exactly news to me. I’ve known these things about myself for a while, but I’ve resisted leaving.

Of course, there’s the practical small-time writer concern: how will I promote that third book? (Although equally practical, how will I finish the third book if I’m always on Facebook?) And then there are the numbers. On Facebook, I have more than 700 friends. In real life, I have ten…maybe fifteen. Because that’s my personality – fewer, closer friendships rather than my husband’s personality who can make a friend in one trip to the dog park. (He once helped an Uber driver’s spouse get a job.)

But here’s the reality of it all: Whether I’m “on” Facebook or not, I still only have the ten…maybe fifteen friends. Just like the people I’ve judged above for presenting flat, inauthentic personas…I have 700+ “friends” on Facebook and would only feel comfortable wishing a fraction of them, “happy birthday.”

I’m a fraud just like everyone else. But I hate it. And I don’t want to do that anymore…which actually brings me to my next point.

My Writing

For years I’ve agonized over the content I put in my blog vs. trying to “get published.” I’ve felt awkward when writer friends ask me what I’ve submitted lately. I’ve liked post after post of classmates winning amazing awards or getting published in the most respected lit journals. My competitive natures has been simultaneously overjoyed for them and down on myself for not working harder, not submitting more, not having the nail by my apartment door for rejection letters that was suggested multiple times in grad school.

But here’s the thing I realized recently: I don’t care about any of that. I’ve been trying to make myself write essays with the goal of “getting them published” in the back of my head and it’s just not fun. It’s boring work. It’s forced work. And I don’t even read lit journals, y’all. Why in the world am I trying to write content that even I don’t want to read?

What’s more, I’ve let my own insecurity of not being the “right kind of writer” turn me into Judge E. McJuderson, and I’ve become this snob who also classifies things as “real writing” and “amateur writing.” Here’s the thing people. I LOVE literary writing. Classics. Artful, meaningful writing. Poetry. Plays. Short stories. But I also LOVE personal blogs, too. I love blogs on nutrition and exercise. I love DIY stuff. I love crafts and tutorials. I love reading about dogs and how to train them or what in the world I’m supposed to do with her Edward Scissorhands nails. I love reading about relationships and tragedy. I love reading about climbing and adventures I’m not brave enough to take yet.

But, I’ve seen those collections as “amateur” or “less than” because I’m a snob, and deep down, I need to make myself feel better about student loans that will follow me all the days of my life.

What I’m saying is, I’m tired of not writing what I want to write, because I want to appear to be a certain kind of writer. I like to write essays. I like to write books. I like to write poetry, even if it’s not going to win any awards. And I want to write a blog again – several actually. I want to write without worrying if it’s going to get published or recognized by some amazing lit journal or press. I want to write without having to maintain a Facebook page that I hate on the off-chance it will sell three more books than if I didn’t have a Facebook page.

So here’s the last part of the news: things are under construction. I’m redesigning MichelleJunot.com to include my writing portfolio (books, essays, articles, etc.) as well as this blog which will continue to feature observations and anecdotes from my personal life as well as writing updates. I will also be creating a few sister sites for my freelance work (graphic design and editing) and two new creative projects I’m working on:

  • The Lagniappe – All things DIY crafts, art projects, and attempting home organization
  • Junot Reviews – From my local Domino’s to the woman who almost wrecked my wedding dress (when things like that still mattered) or from the best documentary I’ve watched in years to the book I’ve tried to read five times and still just can’t get through it. I have some thoughts, and I’m going to share them with anyone who cares.

It’ll be semi-organized chaos (just like my life). My goal is to stop judging my writing (and other people’s) and just write what I want to write. I know there are a lot of important conversations happening in our country and world right now, but at this point in my life, I don’t have anything to add to those conversations besides my engagement as I listen and learn and take in what other people are saying. I don’t have answers to the world’s problems.

However, I do have an answer for how to spend six weeks on wedding invitations to a party that will never happen, and in a few weeks, I’m going to provide that answer with photos!

Sincerely, I’ve been paralyzed the last few years with the lists of all the things I can’t or don’t want to write about. In doing so, I’ve discounted completely the things that I can and want to write about. I’m going to write about arts and crafts, and learning to watercolor. I want to write about learning to be a wife. And, I’m going to talk through questions I have like “when’s the right time to venture into homeownership or parenthood,” or “why do people hate turtlenecks?”

So, I’m leaving Facebook this week, and then I’m going to start writing again – in earnest. And if you want to come along for the ride, I hope you’ll subscribe via email or check back in a few months. And please, if I may be a pinky’s worth political here, be sure to vote. I’m not telling you who to vote for, just to please participate in the process. I did early voting for the first time this year and it was magical. Thanks so all the volunteers and employees who are working so hard to make this election season efficient and safe.


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P.S. This is a picture of my dog trying to seem engaged while I read this out loud back to myself in the editing phase. It’s a real confidence booster.