J. D. Salinger became one of our most-beloved literary hermits. And Steig Larsson is holding strong on The New York Times Bestseller List six years after his death. Though I cannot mathematically prove that hibernation/extreme unavailability makes you an instant bestseller, it does seem that it doesn’t hurt to be either A.) extremely accessible a la Maureen Johnson or B.) extremely inaccessible, like Jane Austen. (She might not have been a hermit in her day, but if she had a dollar for every time she was referenced today…)
So for those aspiring writers that would prefer to be extremely inaccessible, as opposed to the alternative, here are ten easy steps to hide from today’s world:
1.) Do not Twitter.
Do not have Twitter contests, or tweet links to your blog or latest book, or have conversations with fellow writers over the internet. Not only do people not need to know what you are currently eating or reading, to truly hermit, they need to not know whether you are still eating or reading at all.
2.) Change your email address frequently.
True, this may make it hard for your agent to find you. But this will add excitement and adventure to both your publisher’s and your agent’s lives! It will also make it more difficult for spam bots, random newsletters you never actually subscribed to, and notifications from the IRS to find you. If there’s anything a writer in hiding wants less than fan mail, it’s a notice from the IRS. Speaking of…
3.) Don’t pay your taxes.
The government will have a record of your address, phone number, etc. And when they’re low on cash, they’ll sell you out to the Post. Hermiting Writer, Presumed Dead, Is ALIVE! Still Not Writing Sequel.
4.) Throw out your iPhone.
Phone calls? Emails? Text messages? How can you possibly hermit effectively with all these distractions? Plus, Facebook event reminders might weaken your resolve to hermit. Then you have ruined months of work over one birthday party at The Village Pourhouse. Strengthen your souls, young writers! Infamy awaits!
5.) Change continents.
Even if you stopped using the phone, the internet, and the postal service, your friends and family still know where you live. And if reality TV has taught us anything, it’s that one of your friends is auditioning for The Real Salingers of New York City as we speak, and they’re listing you as a reference. You are doomed, my friend. Your only choice is to move to Europe, and start introducing yourself as as consultant. Nobody ever knows what that means anyway.