I used to have a love-hate relationship with Twitter. I loved it because I met fascinating people and learned things I’d never hear about otherwise. I hated it because it could swallow whole every moment of my free time.
But ever since this weekend, the “love” part has vastly overtaken the “hate” part. That’s because I discovered an incredible virtual resource for writers on Twitter.
Quite a while ago, I overcame my distaste for all things “networking” and joined the social media scene. (You can see all the social networks I’ve joined in my far-right sidebar, “Where to Find Me Online.”)
Since then, I’ve poked along at being a good citizen of the social-networking world, sometimes avoiding it for days, other times engrossed in the conversations on Plurk, Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, etc., for hours at a time.
But mostly, I’ve just watched rather passively, growing curious about such things as this post about Twitter chats for writers on my friend Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s blog, Inkygirl.com – Daily Diversions for Writers.
Twitter chats??? Isn’t all of Twitter one big chat? Not when you combine tweets with hashtags, I learned. Turns out, there are all kinds of topic-specific chats scheduled just about any time of any time, including many for writers.
Well, being a writer, as well as one who loves discovering resources for writers in the virtual world the Internet has birthed, I decided to see for myself why Debbie writes so highly of Twitter chats.
Wow! What a discovery!
Last Sunday, I popped into the #writechat Twitter chat, which starts at noon Pacific time every Sunday and lasts approximately three hours. I had no idea what to expect, but what I ended up finding was a treasure trove:
- Founder and moderator @WritingSpirit (author and creativity coach Julie Isaac) posts a discussion topic at the start; last Sunday it was “Inspiration VS. Organization. Tips & tools for each and how they work together.”
- For three hours, published and unpublished authors from around the world generate a wild text-dance of advice, comments, recommendations, links, etc., about that topic or others related to writing.
- Ask a question about writing or publishing, and an amazing number of experts will gladly provide information, advice, and support.
- More than 230 writers contributed roughly 1,700 tweets on Sunday, most of which were directly related to writing.
In the short while (less than an hour) I was online with the chat:
- I learned about many organizing, mind-mapping, and writing software programs – much of it free – that writers use.
- I picked up scores of new ideas for getting organized and inspired/motivated to write every day.
- I received gratifying reminders from published authors that an MFA is not essential to getting an agent or publisher interested in your novel.
- My Twitter “following” and “followers” lists both grew with the addition of writers I met.
So what’s so special about a scheduled online chat versus reading blog posts and books on writing tips? In a word, synergy.
Even though the several hundred writers participating on Sunday live great distances from each other, their writer-mind-energy comes together and creates a synergistic effect that gives me the same uplift, inspiration, and renewed excitement about writing that I’d get from a physical congregation of writers sharing and supporting each other. It’s a phenomenon Second Life residents are quite familiar with – the sense of camaraderie and connection created by interactions in the virtual world.
If you miss some or all of a #writechat session, you can find the transcript online at What the Hashtag?!, a Web site created to support the ways in which people use hashtags on Twitter. But while you’ll get the information, you’ll miss out on that wild, flowing energy of a live chat.
Julie Isaac (#writechat’s moderator) has posted some key information about the weekly chats in a post on her blog, #WriteChat — A chat for writers on Sundays at Twitter, including a few comments from participants, such as these (all of which I concur with):
- “Mondays are less cruel now that they begin with a #writechat session the night before.”
- “Wow! Thank you everyone. My first #writechat & I have books to read, people to follow, etc. Fantastic info & lively discussion.”
- “LUV everything about #writechat, it’s a Sunday must. So glad to have found this community of smart writers.”
(When you’re there, explore the rest of Julie’s blog, WritingSpirit Resources – it contains a ton of information and inspiration for writers.)
So, if you need an infusion of support and energy from other writers, check out #writechat – or any of the other Twitter chats available for writers.
Summary of helpful links about Twitter for writers:
- Read Twitter Chats for Writers (and the wealth of resources linked there) on Inkygirl.com
- Read Inkygirl.com’s post on 10 Ways Twitter Can Help Writers
- Read Julie Isaac’s post #WriteChat — A chat for writers on Sundays at Twitter
- Get an idea of what’s discussed on #writechat by viewing a transcript on What the Hashtag?!
- Follow me on Twitter, if you’d like!
As a relative newbie on Twitter, I’ve still got a lot to learn. So I’d love to hear from you any other ways you know that writers can find help and support on Twitter. Just add a comment to this post.