If you are a writer and you are not on Twitter, you should be. When I first joined Twitter, I didn’t really get it. I posted updates about my pregnancy and funny little observations about Oscar, but except for my family, I figured nobody was reading my tweets.
Then one day I was browsing around the Writer’s Digest website and I came across Jane Friedman’s Best Tweets for Writers. I immediately began following her and all of the writers she listed. My use of Twitter really took off at that point, and began to realize that Twitter is not about posting what I had for breakfast, it’s about networking, crowdsourcing, community, and promotion.
With Twitter, I am able to connect to writers, editors, and agents, on a daily basis. I find it much more immediate and effective for communicating and making connections than writing emails or commenting on blogs. Top names in the business will respond to tweets and even retweet. They have offered resources, observations, inspiration, encouragement and advice. Now you no longer have to move to Manhattan to rub elbows with writers and publishers.
Twitter is a great place to go to get ideas, solve problems, and have your questions answered. I find that I get varied, enthusiastic, and useful responses when I ask questions. My fellow tweeters are always available, night and day, to brainstorm, offer up writing prompts, kick me in the butt, or point me in the direction I need to go. If someone doesn’t know the answer to a question, they usually know someone else who does.
One of the best ways to build community among writers on Twitter is to participate in chats. I try to participate regularly in #writetip, #litchat, and #amwriting. These chats are designated by hashtags, some are ongoing, and some occur at set times each week. For example, #litchat occurs Friday afternoons at 4:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.
These chats are fast-paced, fun, and informative. I always walk away inspired, having learned something new, and with a handful of new followers and writing friends. The Twitter writing community has helped me get through NaNoWriMo, tough writing projects, and writer’s block.
If you have a blog or writing project to promote, Twitter is the place to do it. Millions of people on Twitter are looking for stuff to read online, and you can use Twitter to direct them to your blog, podcast, website, or e-book. I have found that writers are enormously supportive of each other, retweeting announcements and commenting on each other’s blogs. Many writers, such as Mur Lafferty, have used Twitter to gather large numbers of loyal followers.
In order to network and build community on Twitter, you have to follow and be followed. I love Follow Friday because I see who my favorite writers on Twitter are following, and who they recommend. However, some people are overwhelmed by Follow Friday because people will often post large lists of who to follow, without any context or explanation.
I’ve decided to highlight a few of my favorite writers in honor of Follow Friday. This is a very small percentage of who I follow, so I will try to highlight some new writers each week:
Carrie Kei Heim Binas is a novelist whose excellent blog is a must read.
Claudia is a beekeeper and novelist, as well as a regular participant in #WriterWednesday. Follow who she follows and you will connect with some wonderful writers.
A writer and comic, Debbie is a regular participant in Twitter chats. The cartoons she posts on her website are a hilarious and necessary diversion for any struggling writer.
An endless supply of useful links, inspiration, and quotes from famous writers.
Joanna Penn is not only a writer, but also a social media expert. Follow her on Twitter and tune in to her great blog posts and “vlogs” about writing and publishing in Web 2.0.
Who do you follow on Twitter and why?