Advice on how to use Twitter to write, network with other writers, and learn about the writing business.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Networking with Other Writers

I remember when I first got on Twitter as @Scablander. I followed a bunch of writers hoping to learn from their wisdom. They tweeted about where they went for dinner, and never bothered to follow me back. I felt like I was alone in the wilderness. Let’s face it--the big boys will ignore you. They are sick of nobodies asking them the “Secret”. (I think the Secret is “What is the sound of two hands typing?”)

So how do you find other writers you can talk to and learn from on your personal account? One of the best ways is to get into a Twitter Chat. One of the biggest probably is #WriteChat. Between noon and 4:00 p.m. PST on Sunday, type in #WriteChat in the “search” and watch the screen light up. WriteChat is a bunch of writers getting together on Twitter at the same time and chatting on a topic. However so many are in on it it’s become chaos. Just find someone talking about something interesting and try to jump into the chat. Be sure to type #WriteChat in your tweet so others can see you. Or if that’s inconvenient just do a search on the last #WriteChat and see who looks interesting. Follow them. Say hi. Worse they can do is block you.

There are other writer chats. @Inkyelbows (more on her later) has a list of them at Twitter Chats for Writers. Keep in mind that Twitter Chats come and go so don’t hold Debi responsible if the list is not up to date.

Another way to find other writers is to look at peoples lists labeled “writers” but I find chats work better. They will recognize you as that person they chatted with.

Of course you really don’t know where most of these people are in their writing walk. They may be teenagers working on their first novel. They may be old veterans who make a living writing. The only thing you do know is they are all passionate about writing, or they wouldn’t be talking about it. Of course there are always those who think they’re a writer and are thinking about writing this great novel they have in mind. They will get bored and leave quickly, so don’t worry about it.

I think what is really great about Twitter is you can form support groups. If you complain on Twitter that you have writer’s block, a bunch will tweet back encouragement and advice. If you comment on a behavior others would consider crazy, they will tweet back it happens to them all the time. Let’s face it, writers normally don’t run in families. We are bizarre mutants that pop up. If you are lucky, the family will give you encouragement, but even the most supportive family won’t really understand you. Only another writer will understand why you have to get up in the middle of the night and write.

Writers will also tweet links to great articles on the internet that they find. Some will actually turn their Twitter account into a news feed for writers. Which brings us back to @InkyElbows. I think she got all of her followers by word of mouth. InkyElbows is the Guru of Writing Websites. This isn’t some title she bestowed upon herself. This is a God-given super power she has decided to use for the side of Good. Her secret identity is Debi Ohi, a cartoonist and Young Adult fiction writer. Ask her any question on writing and 90% of the time she can instantly send you to a website that will answer your question. She is amazing. However use Debi wisely so we don’t use her up. Follow @InkyElbows because she is always tweeting links to useful websites. Also check out her advice on using Twitter on her website. (See Other Website Links to the right.)

If you go to the lists on my @Wendell_Howe Twitter account, you will find a list called Aids for Writers. These are all Twitter accounts that tweet information for writers. Follow them if you find them useful. And share with your followers if you stumble across a great blog. Be sure to retweet if you found it on your Twitter feed.

Think of Twitter as a club. It will take you awhile to get to know people. But you can make friends with the same interest you have--writing.

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