Last week I read two blog posts that offer good, solid thoughts about the social side of writing. Both point out that many writers view Twitter, Facebook, blogging, book tours, and all that other marketing stuff, as trivial. To these writers, socializing gets in the way of their writing.
And if you’re an unpublished writer, social media use is especially bothersome because you just want to work on your book. When you finish, then you’ll think about socializing and promotion. And maybe not even then.
Many writers are burned out from social media expectations. The first post and its comments section were full of this sentiment. They’re planning to scale back on their use. They may even quit using some of the social media apps all together. Writers write, they say.
In the second post, I read this:
With 1.5 million books published last year, what we are seeing is that lots of folks are doing just that: writing. Which is why I focus more and more not on getting one’s work published, but ensuring it is read; ensuring it finds a reader who appreciates the work, and is affected by it in a positive way. (From Should Writers “JUST” Write? by Dan Blank via WriterUnboxed)
His thoughts sat well with me. “Focus … ensuring it is read … finds a reader … appreciates … affected by it in a positive way.”
Dan says a lot more in his post, but that paragraph sang out to me. He tells how social media (and marketing in general) can move from being a chore to being a sweet connection, genuine and for the enrichment of both the writer and the reader.
We live in a different world than the one my favorite authors lived in. Advances in technology have created a living, growing space for millions of writers to share their craft. We can connect with readers in numbers and ways our writing forefathers never imagined. (With the possible exception of Ray Bradbury.)
Unpublished writer, don’t wait to have your name on a book before stepping into the social media stream. Now is the time to discover who your readers are, to find out what your peers think, to seek the advice of people you respect.
Socialize on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Use them for well wishing, photo sharing, and research. Pin your interests. Subscribe to and comment on blogs. Find a great recipe. Join a writing forum. Follow an agent. Get your mental floss.
Use the amazing wealth of tools available to learn about writing. Share about writing. Read other people’s writing. Give people opportunities to read your writing.
Have fun with it.
Sure, my goal is to be published one day. But more important to me is that my writing gets read, now in my beginning stage, and once I have a work published. And I believe social media use is that bridge for me. It’s time well spent.
(Aside: Have you noticed that even when you’re not writing, you’re writing? I can’t help it. Even my tweets.)
You can socialize as little or as wildly as you’d like. But do it, not because you think you have to, but for the joy of what you’re giving and getting.
Your writing life will be better for it.
(Thanks to Carrie Mumford for her post Is Social Media Mandatory for Writers? which I reference here.)
Where would you place social media use in the writing life?