Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

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‘Writerly Weird’: It’s an Affliction Difficult to Bare in Silence…So Don’t!

May 4, 2014

writerly weird

This has been a busy blogging week for me. I think I’ve blogged, like, three times!

Is this procrastination on my novel? Nah. I don’t think so.

Rather, I’ve had so many thoughts (and conversations) around the completion of my novel’s first draft that I’ve felt compelled to write about it.

And here I am again!

This time I’d like to quote Matthew Reilly, author of Temple and other grand adventure books.

I remember reading Temple years ago (go read it, it’s a fun read) and there was quote it in (on the first page? the intro? an interview with the author?) that stuck with me.

Anyway, I looked the quote up online and it is as I remember it, from years ago. He said:

“To anyone who knows a writer, never underestimate the power of your encouragement.”

This is so, so true.

I often talk about writing being a ‘lonely road’. It happens in your head. A novel in particular is a long, long project that requires fortitude and resiliency–and the ability to spend long, long moments alone at the computer/notebook working with whatever comes up in your mind.

How Writers Sometimes See Writing

 

And the successes are often internal. Nailed the dialogue? Fixed that nagging plot problem? Had your character do or say something deliciously outrageous? Your inner delight shines. Happy dance time!

Same goes for the (perceived) failures. Blocked? Plot holes? Character not doing what you want, being a pain in the behind? Poor little writer rages inside! Hangs her head in frustration!

I’ve had these moments happen, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’–and then gone out into the world (job, store, school) and acted like a ‘normal’ person who hasn’t had their inner landscape seismically shifted.

You can feel like a split person: writer/human.

The writer toils alone, deferring the gratification of ‘being understood’ for when the work is ‘ready to be read’.

Meanwhile, the human person drives the car, goes to the ATM machine, runs errands, picks up the kids, converses with people and generally functions in a civilized manner, as though the creative froth weren’t chomping at the bit in delight or grumpily nipping the insides, which ever the case may be.

You can feel, quite frankly: WEIRD.

‘Writerly Weird’: It’s an affliction difficult to bear in silence…

…which is why I agree it is essential that writer’s come out of their shell and proclaim their writing proclivities to the world–to both writers and non-writers.

Looking back, I can see how blessed I have been (and still am) with the number of people in my life (writers and non) who have offered encouragement, from my hubby, family, friends and co workers to Tweeps and FB connections.

It has taken courage on my part to declare my writing rites of passages to others, but their positivity has sustained me through dark days, and I’m not sure they are aware of that.

How Writing Can Feel When You Are Part of A Community

 

So I’m saying: thanks to you all for investing in me ‘the power of encouragement’.

I’m also saying: writers, come out of your shell (if you haven’t already)! Open yourself up to the power of encouragement!

And it’s something we need to pass on. Keep passing it on!

PS I recently read this article “the Importance of Community for Authors” by Book Baby and found it to be so true, I immediately signed up for meetup.com and found a writer’s workshop in my area….something I have never done. Still coming out of my shell, bit by bit! I’m getting there!

PPS Writers, how have you been influenced by the power of encouragement? I’d love to hear your stories!

 

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In Honour of #NaNoWriMo…

November 7, 2010

Twitter is constantly abuzz these days with #nanowrimo business, writers shouting out their word counts with ecstatic glee: 600 words! 1000 words! 2000 words! They’re trying to make it to *50, 000* words by the end of November. They’re racing, rushing, pushing, striving, laying it all down as fast as they can. A full novel, totally from scratch!

Are you people crazy?!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in awe! I’ve been chipping away at my novel for the past 10 years. I’ve set my goal of having it done in one year, which, given my track record, seemed pretty reasonable. But you people make me look like a tree sloth, writing/moving in mega slow motion, just hanging upside down, surveying the world with a slow tongue flick…in the time it takes you #nanowrimo folks to dash out 15 pages, I’ve written the letter ‘m’…

I’m flabbergasted by your goal setting.

A month?! You’re going to write a novel in a month?!

I’m not sure how you are accomplishing this. I presume you have:

-disconnected your phone (but not your internet connection)

-called in a month’s worth of sick days

-stocked up on Red Bull and energy bars

-hired a cleaning service

-bookmarked all those on-line fast food ordering services so you don’t have to cook

-placed a ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign on your back so those who dare approach you while you’re at the computer know they’d better BACK OFF!

I’m impressed. So very impressed. You’re a  bunch of determined, gritty, impassioned…disheveled, exhausted insomniacs…

Only writers would willingly sign up for a project of this masochistic magnitude. One they’re not even being paid for it. It’s all a labor of love!

You gotta admire the gumption. Writers are the best!

This blog is dedicated to you guys. Best of luck, everyone! I’m cheering for you!

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Self Promoting Without Cringing?

July 8, 2010


I’ve decided to try out Social Oomph to help manage my ‘on-line productivity’. Essentially, it lets you write Tweets ahead of time and program when they will be magically revealed…I’m using it to send out  the occasional ‘promotional’ blog tweet (for when I get back from holiday), highlighting some previous blogs/comics that haven’t been seen in awhile.

So I’m sitting here typing out a mass of promotional tweets…and I feel like my own ad-man. Its not a comfortable feeling. It’s like I’m putting adverts out hither and yon, so when your driving down the information highway you see:

Billboard #1: Hey Everybody! Come visit my blog!

Billboard #2: For a good time, come visit my blog!

Billboard #3: Did you see the sign? Did you visit my blog yet?

Billboard #4:Why haven’t you visited my blog yet?!

Billboard #5: Hey, You! Yes, You! You need to get your butt over to my blog!

Well, you get the idea…

It’s not just due to Social Oomph. Anytime I send out an ‘updated blog post!’ notice I experience the same feeling of self-consciousness….the Self-Promotional Heebie Jeebies…

I kind of just make myself write the thing, then close my eyes and click ‘send’…because of course I want readers. I write to be read, preferably now, when I’m alive. I’m certainly no Emily Dickinson, scribbling feverishly behind closed doors, hiding it all in a shoebox to be revealed after I’m dead…

And therein lies the crux. I want you to read this, but I don’t want to push it on you. I want you to know about this…but I don’t want to be impolite and bring it up all the time.

There seems to be a fine line between being a self-promotional Guerrilla Girl with the requisite moxie and derring-do to stand out from the crowd and be heard…and being an obnoxious, obvious pusher of ME ME ME. (How many promotional tweets is ‘too many’, for instance? Is one a day okay? Two?) It’s a line I don’t know how to walk very well just yet.  So I’ve been erring on the side of caution. (Perhaps too much caution?)

So far, I’ve been watching to see how others manage it, to get a sense of what’s considered okay or the norm. I also think building relationships is key, as is participating in the the writing community at large. You get to know and be known that way. Social media should be more than just pushing your own ideas; it’s a conversation. A dialogue, not a monologue.

When it comes time to publish my novel, whether as an indie or traditional, I know I’m going to have dig in and do even more self promotion. I hope it gets easier with practice. It seems to. Twitter and blogging have certainly made me build up my promotional muscles…and maybe Social Oomph will help me get an even more flattering self-promotional figure…

But if you’ve any suggestions on how I can do this without cringing, I’d love to know!

PS. This blog by Jody Hedlund (@JodyHedlund) inspired my own reflection on this matter.

PPS. Her blog is I also where I first came across the terrifying idea of hosting your own ‘themed book launch party’…

PPPS. If, by chance, one day I have to give my own ‘theme launch party’ I’ve decided its going to be an all out Regency Extravaganza with me in my best Jane Austen-esque ball gown, a buffet of Regency delicacies (like turtle soup), a whist card table in one corner (gambling optional), an open bar in the other (port, cordial & sherry mostly, with perhaps some home-brew Raspberry cordial), and quadrille dance lessons every quarter hour!

PPPPS  This is another helpful blog I’ve found re: authors using social media by C. Hope Clark (@hopeclark)

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Writers and Twitter: Yes, it’s a Good Thing!

June 7, 2010

I owe my husband an apology. Initially when he set me up on Twitter, I was skeptical (see blog: ‘Tweetie Bird Fly Be Free’). But now that I’ve been on it for awhile, I’ve had a change of heart.

As a writer, I love it! Here’s why:

Shared Experience
I love the immediacy of Twitter’s connection, the ‘nowness’, the commonality of our experience in the same time/space continuum.

I find it very reassuring to know that right now, at this very moment, there are writers all over the world diligently pursuing their craft, tearing their hair out, staring out into space, joyfully daydreaming, and talking with their characters in their heads…

Through Twitter, I’ve learned that all writers are ‘aspiring’. Even the published ones. Everyone has a Work In Progress. Publishing is almost incidental. Writers just write. We write, write—and guess what? More writing!

And it doesn’t feel competitive at all, but positive and uplifting, like you’ve just had your writer battery charged. Everyone’s making it happen, in spite of the pitfalls, and you can too.

(So get writing).

Craft Chat
On Twitter, there is a lot of discussion re: the writing craft in the form of quotes, tips/advice, or via individual personal experience—and while you may not agree with everything said about writing, I think it’s good to engage with it: it helps you to define and refine your own vision of what the writing practice means to you.

Sometimes what shows up on Twitter can be very fortuitous . There’s a kind of Serendipity to Twitter: benefits arise seemingly ‘by chance’. Who you meet, what tweets you stumble across, it’s all ‘happenstance’. Trouble with dialogue? That day, a tweet about dialogue ‘magically’ appears…

Twitter gives good metaphorical kicks in the pants. It’s like the world-wide-web is saying: Here’s what you need, no more excuses.

(So get writing.)

Publishing Try-Out

Each Twitter is a form of self-publishing. Even if all you do is twitter ‘hi, I #amwriting’ someone can read it! (See Johanna Harness’s blog for  an excellent description of #amwriting here.).

When I first started putting tweets out there, I was quite nervous. You’d think I was auditioning for chief columnist at ‘The New Yorker’! But as with anything, your comfort level grows the more you do it. I’ve grown braver with each Tweet, even connected to other blogs via Twitter and left comments, a little sprinkling of my point of view here and there.

Each time, its been a bolster. And when someone (anyone!) has read my blog, via Twitter, it seems to affirm it even more. “Look! I’ve been read!”

Ergo, I. Am. A. Writer.

(Thanks, Twitter.)

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Twitter Haiku

May 8, 2010

I wrote my first Twitter and it felt a lot like trying to write a Haiku…its not easy to convey your meaning in only 140 characters. What I wrote wasn’t very deep, though:

nervously clicking
out of shell now, hello you
twitter newbie wakes

Yes, that’s the (silly) Haiku version…☺
To see what I really wrote, look me up on Twitter… @julieejohnsonn

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Tweetie Bird, Fly Be Free

May 7, 2010

I was complaining about being a lonely writer of ‘comedic-romantic-historical-mystery-fiction’ again so my husband got me set up with a Twitter account in the hopes that I might find a ‘niche’ for myself out there.
He said: “Just start following someone you like. Often they give links for you to follow and that leads to something special.”
So I signed up to follow Jim Carrey, Neil Gaiman and Stephen Fry. Very amusing/interesting people, but not exactly ‘niche’ writers…and not really linked to my interest in romance and history…
“Keep trying,” said my husband.
So I spent another hour trolling various Twitter and blog links, getting increasingly frustrated.
I said to my husband: “This is worse than microfiche.”
Of course, that offended his techie sensibilities! He said: “Here let me do it.”
Then he found me the blog site: Two Nerdy History Girls.

A more realistic thread to pull. Huzzah!

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Just Do It

April 20, 2010


Yesterday my husband, with my permission, used his high-tech superpowers to send my blog out via twitter and facebook.I feel like I’ve just stepped off a cliff.

But its all good. Really. This is part of the purpose. Write. Release. Pry my writing from my white knuckle grip and set it free to roam wherever…

It’s  good practice for when I finally ‘let my novel go’. (…Er..I kind of need to finish it first…)

Many thanks and much love to my husband, who continues to encourage me through the writing equivalent of a marathon run.