I’ve drifted in and out of various online creative communities over the years. Twitter has been a constant. Wattpad is comparatively new. I was going to include both in this post, but it started to get really long, so today I’ll be talking about Twitter and I’ll tell you about my Wattpad experience in my next post. These posts aren’t about creating your author platform, using social media to grow your audience, or anything even close to being instructional. They’re about my own experiences, good humans, and creative connection.
Why writing communities matter
First of all, I want to talk about why community is important for writers. And yes, I know there are lots of physical-world writing groups and meet-ups, but life doesn’t always allow for engagement with those for numerous entirely valid reasons. Also, even if hanging out with other writers in meatspace is accessible and available to you, online communities are a different thing. They’re usually not tied to a physical location, so late nights, early mornings, and in-between hours where where late night and early morning merge have company.
Writing can be a very solitary experience. Even if you’re physically able to get out and about regularly, or you have a non-writing job that you go to, writing itself is still often solitary by it’s very nature. Writers live in our own heads a lot and that does things to a person. Having a community of people – often people of various ages and backgrounds – who get that is pretty amazing.
A writing community understands. A writing community celebrates your good times, supports you through your not-so-good times, and shares your excitement about your fictional people and fictional worlds. A writing community is a source of entertainment, the good kind of distraction, joy, and understanding. Also, I might be biased, but writers are lovely.
I’ve been on Twitter since…wow, I just checked and it’s been over eleven years. Writing hasn’t always been my focus there. In fact, I only really started to get involved in the writing community a couple of years ago. I’m not there to Grow My Audience™, advertise services, or sell things to people. Fair play to anyone who is there for those things, but it’s not that for me. I’m not interested in follow trains or having thousands of mutual followers who I never interact with. Again, if that floats your boat, float on and be happy. But yeah. I’m not there for that.
Writing Twitter gives me a creative boost every day via hashtag events where prompts or themes are posted daily so writers can share a line from a current project or write a new piece of poetry or microfiction to fit the theme. I take part in #vss365 (very short story every day) almost…well, almost every day. I also co-host #SlapDashSat which, just to be contrary, is specifically not themed. It’s an open invitation to share whatever wonderful wordstuff you want to share.
There are many really awesome tags and writevent very kindly shares them every day, so that’s a great place to start! To engage with tags as a way to meet other writers, simply browse the tag you’re taking part in and interact with other people’s Tweets. Because Twitter has the option to simply Like something, it’s perfect if you’re feeling too shy to reply (although I promise that feeling will pass super quickly once you dive in). Twitter is all about interaction and talking to strangers is encouraged!
If themes and prompts aren’t your thing, there are general tags writers use to start and share conversations with other writers. #WritingCommunity and #amwriting are two of the most active. Because Twitter is so ephemeral – there’s no way you’re ever going to keep up with literally everything posted by everyone you follow or in every tag you check – I find it pleasantly free of pressure. No-one expects that you’ll definitely have seen something they posted and it’s completely accepted that people generally dip in and out of their feed as and when it suits them.
If you’re not a regular Twitter user and have heard all the complaining that the site is just political rants and awfulness, take my word for it, this does not have to be the case. I pretty much ignore ‘trends’, news and other curated-by-Twitter content, choosing to focus on my own feed and the tags I take part in.
The great thing with your feed is that you are in total control of what appears there. You choose to follow people and you see their content. If you don’t like what someone posts, don’t follow them. You can also block and mute accounts, and even mute words and phrases. It’s really easy to curate your Twitter experience and you are under absolutely no obligation to use any social media platform in any way you aren’t comfortable with.
If you’re on Twitter already, or if I’ve talked you into joining, I’m there as EveryNextDream. You’re very welcome to come and say hello! It would be great to see you in that little part of my world.
Coming up in part two
Next time, I’ll be talking about my experience of Wattpad. It’s a very different platform from Twitter and probably prone to a similar level of inaccurate assumptions based on how a specific segment of users engage with it.
I would love to see you back here for that, so if you’d like to subscribe to receive email notifications of new posts, you can do that with the subscription thingy in the sidebar. If you’re a WordPress user and you’d like to see my posts in your WordPress Reader, you can click the little Follow tab in the bottom right corner.
Thanks for reading and I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon. If you’re on Twitter, why not leave a link to your profile in a comment so we can Tweet together? ❤