Twitterilliterate and Other things I’ve learned this month

I started the month of May with a new twitter account and 13 followers. Happily zipped off to OWFI 2015, and returned home to a week long blitz of social media. A die-hard “I’m never using Twitter” person, I found myself having to eat my words.

Apparently, agents and publishers want you to have social media accounts that you actively use. This I did not know. I have rectified that situation and gained some 200 followers in the past three weeks. A mere drop in the bucket compared to the thousands and hundred of thousands other people have, but for me, nothing short of a miracle.

I also gained about 50 new FB friends which resulted in a barrage of notifications. I thought they would settle down relatively soon, but again I was wrong. I have merely had to adjust to a new level of normal. It’s okay. I seem to thrive on chaos.

Which was also somewhat of a revelation to me. I really should have known that about myself before now, but I guess I’d never really put it in words. I’d never spoken it into being. Me and chaos are best friends.

My grandmothers used to say she didn’t have an off switch. I don’t either. My mind wanders everywhere all at once. And when I have ten things to occupy it, somehow I’m able to concentrate on writing better. Focus amid the chaos. Hey, it works. For me, at least.

But this trend on twitter, gaining so many unknown sources of connection, has been a huge learning curve in itself. Humanity is, for the most part, clothed, genteel, organized, orderly. Twitter is none of those things. The perfect partner in crime for my chaotic mind it would seem.

The mass of authors promoting their work is astounding. The percentage of those with self-published tales I could have written in grade four is equally astounding.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. I haven’t read all of them. I’ve sampled here and there. People claiming to be in the top 100 on Amazon and such, offering free reads, others. I’m honestly not sure what puts a book in the top 100 on Amazon. Downloads? purchases? number of views? Most that I’ve sampled I haven’t gotten far enough through to even have an opinion other than I don’t want to read more.

And yet, it goes against everything I believe in to say that.

Writing is a hard gig. Writers have to support other writers no matter what stage they are in. Other artistic industries support their own and it’s high time we did, too. So, I am all about promoting and encouraging other writers. Only another writer has any idea what we’re going through.

So where do we draw the line? Writing isn’t like architecture for example. A bad architectural design won’t work. It can be dangerous, even. Corrections have to be made without exception if we don’t want buildings that fall down on people’s heads.

But bad writing? I’m not sure what to do with it.

Probably my greatest joy with Twitter has been connecting with the Indie music people. I’ve always liked new and little known bands just beginning to make their mark on the world. There is something edgy and raw about their sound. Real. Not polished and popular.

And my greatest astonishment is the number of people who want to follow me that post half-nude photos for the world to see. Really? It’s a body. We all have one. Why do I need to see yours?

Good thing there’s a mute button.

I also learned this month that I can write a novel in less than a month, if need be. I don’t recommend doing so unless you have a smoothly functioning support team, a full time chef, a dog without a bladder, and a well thought out structure for what you are writing. But … it can be done.

And last, but not least, I’ve had to eat the words that I am, in fact, a bonafide panster. As opposed to people who rigorously outline everything, I am one. But to say that I write without any plan at all is not the case. I just didn’t realize that what I was doing was planning. Silly me. Another victim of my chaotic mind …

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2 thoughts on “Twitterilliterate and Other things I’ve learned this month

  1. Interesting thoughts on twitter…. I’m a former writer, a would be writer if I made the time, how else can I describe myself? Would twitter be another way I waste time that could be used for writing? Or time I could spend with my kids? How do you balance your time on the computer with time spent in real life? Frankly, I think I’m a bit afraid of social media but it seems necessary if I want my work to get out into the world, that would be once I actually have work that could get into the world.

  2. My writing journey has been weird, frankly. I’ve been writing off and on for years but had never thought of doing anything with it. Then I took a novel writing class with a “has been” novelist who was looking to restart his career under the guise of “helping” other writers. (whole other story) Anyway, it sparked my interest in getting published.

    Some people told me not to worry about having a social media platform until I had something ready to be published and actually had an agent, etc. But all the agents say they won’t rep someone without a social media platform already in place to work with. So it’s kind of a catch-22. You have to have it to get it.

    I would rather not be spending my time on social media. I have, at this point in my life, however, the ability to crank out over 1,000 words an hour on most days if I’m uninterrupted by family, pets, phone calls, work, etc … so I have the hour or so I need in a day to amble around social media sites. Twitter is easier than Facebook in my opinion but it’s different. Twitter is very public, so watch what you post. It’s also very fickle. One day someone will follow you and the next unfollow you and you have no idea why. You also get requests for half-dressed or naked people pushing sex wanting you to follow them. It’s all very weird.

    My personal balance is that I check Twitter and Facebook first thing in the morning so I know who I have to respond to or retweet. I then ignore them until lunch time when I go in and respond to things. Then I’ll check them sometimes other than that if I have time and it doesn’t interfere with anything else. I reserve Mondays for email responses and Fridays for blogs.

    The point is, have a schedule for when you do these things. Treat them like a business, as part of your “job”, and learn to turn them off when you should be with your family, cooking a meal, caring for your kids, etc … All about priorities.

    And my attitude towards Twitter … I don’t care how many followers I have or don’t have. I’m building relationships right now. If I ever get published and sell a lot of books, that will have to change. But for now I’m good.

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