One of the truths of today’s publishing world is that a writer must have an on-line presence. Doesn’t matter if you’re self-publishing or going the traditional route, writing fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, your name has to be out there.
Blogging is one way to accomplish that, but it’s fairly time-consuming. Readership growth is slow compared to other social networks. And snail-like compared to what Twitter can provide.
I was looking for an easier way to make contact with other writers and readers when I started my Twitter account. I didn’t post too often – it seemed a little forward of me to put my thoughts out there for others to consider. (You’d be surprised how often this particular mind-set encumbers writers.) I posted now and again, and I set up an account at HootSuite to enable my blog posts to feed into my Twitter account. In a few months I had about 30 followers.
Then, like a bolt out of the blue, I saw a post from one of the writers I followed labeled #1lineWed. It was a really nice line of prose, and I simply had to find out what it was all about.
Clicked on #1lineWed and the sparks started flying!
Before I go any further, let me explain what #1lineWed is. It (naturally) occurs every Wednesday, and is a place for any writer – professional, hobbyist, poet, novelist and anyone else who writes – to post a line (or many) from their work in progress. A theme is posted every Thursday by @RWAKissofDeath (the mystery/thriller arm of Romance Writers of America). All you have to do is find appropriate lines in your unpublished work and post them. That’s it!
The hardest part (for me) is making sure I’ve only got 140 characters including the hash-tag. The easiest part is finding other authors to follow, and most, if not all of them, will follow back. In my first 4 months on Twitter, I gained, as I said, about 30 followers. After 6 months of playing #1lineWed, my following has grown to over 2,000 and gets bigger every day. Even better, my Twitter feed is full of wonderful writing that inspires me to “keep on plugging on”.
#1lineWed has two additional benefits that I never saw coming. If I post a line and it gets a good reception, I know it’s golden. If few or no people like it, I know it needs work (or maybe I just chose poorly – sometimes it’s hard for a line to do its job out of context).
Second, it can be an eye-opener when I search my manuscript for themes: one recent theme was texture, and I found I used the word “soft” over 200 times in one manuscript. Believe me when I tell you, I cleaned that up quickly!
But the BEST part is the writers’ community on Twitter. What a wonderful group of people! If you’ve got a cover reveal or a publication date coming up, they’ll cry “Bravo!” If you’re stuck in the third chapter of a new work, they’re there to cheer you on. Enter a contest and need support? These writers will have your back. And if you’re just plain having a bad day, someone‘s always willing to commiserate with you.
I feel like I’m connected to a community in a way I haven’t been since my fibromyalgia forced me to quit working 15 years ago. My outlook on writing as a solitary pursuit is no more. The writing community on Twitter is fluid, yet close-knit. Sharing and accepting. Smart, funny and talented. In short, they rock! And I’m extremely lucky to be sharing words with them.
There’s plenty of room for you, too!
In addition to #1lineWed, I also “play” #2bitTues. The #2bitTues theme is posted on Sunday by @AngDonofrio, but it’s optional, so if you don’t have anything that conforms, you’re welcome to post whatever lines strike your fancy. One note of caution: NO selling!
Still can’t get enough? There’s #meta4mon as well as hashtags specifically for poetry, flash fiction, 6-word stories, etc., etc., etc. But be careful – these hashtags are addicting and you may find yourself using up all your writing time playing along.
Looking for an agent/publisher? There are contests you can enter, too: #PitMad and #AdPit are two coming up soon!
And you can find me on Twitter: @giffmacshane