5 ways writers can support each other online

With NaNoWriMo looming, I feel like I’m caught up in an electric buzz of collective excitement with my writing communities on social media. Writers on the internet are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever encountered. Maybe it’s because writers are also readers, or maybe it’s because other writers are rarely the competition due to the nature of how our work is consumed, but the encouragement and love I feel from my writer friends is mindblowing, always.

If you’re wondering how you can get more involved in writing communities online and offer encouragement to your fellow creators, especially writers who are publishing independently, I’ve put together a collection of ideas from my own experience for you to try. Enjoy!

Make genuine connections

Social media and blogs are great for discovering other writers. If you see a post you like, don’t just read it and move on. Visit the person’s profile or site, follow them, comment on their posts and get to know them. I don’t mean mass follow everyone who posts in a particular tag or has ‘writer’ listed as their occupation. I mean actually reach out, communicate and let people know you enjoy what they’re doing. If someone is posting about their new project, share in their excitement. If they’re having stressful times, a few words of encouragement can make all the difference. Treat other writers the way you’d like to be treated and get ready to make new friends!

Share what you love

Whether you’re mentioning someone in a #FollowFriday post on Twitter or reblogging their poetry on Tumblr, sharing someone’s work or a link to their profile or website can introduce them to a whole new audience – yours! Telling a friend about the amazing book you’re reading and sending them a link to where they can download or buy it is fantastic too. It’s a lovely feeling when someone likes what you do enough to introduce people they know to your work.

Take part in tags and games

Every week, I look forward to #SatLines and #SlapDashSat on Twitter. Not only are these great opportunities to share a little bit of what I’m working on, they’re also fun ways to discover other writers. You don’t even have to wait for a particular day or game to jump into tags though. Using (and browsing) #amwriting and #writerslife on Twitter will instantly connect you with other writers, any day of the week. If you’re involved with a big project like NaNoWriMo, check the relevant tags. I’ve met so many writers through #NaNoWriMo, #NaNoPrep and #CampNaNoWriMo, and it’s lovely to know that while I’m spending hours putting words to screen, lots of other writers are doing exactly the same thing and we can give each other a much needed boost!

Read and react

Few things warm my heart like someone saying, “I loved your book”. Actually, even just having someone get in touch to say they’ve downloaded my book and are going to read it feels pretty epic. Blog comments, and even Likes, are awesome. Basically, do things to remind other writers that they aren’t just shouting into the void. Let them know you’re reading and appreciating their work. Writing can be an isolated activity a lot of the time, as you know, and hearing from the people who read your words is important, especially if you know they can relate to your experience. On that note, if you’ve read something that genuinely shifted your perspective, touched your heart, made your day better or inspired you in some way, TELL THE WRITER! As a writer yourself, you know how feedback like that can carry you through times of self doubt.

Pay for what you read

At the moment, I give everything I write away for free but people who want to pay, and can afford to, can support me on Patreon, send a payment through PayPal (like buying a book after they’ve read it) or even buy me a virtual coffee. I’m still very much at the beginning of my actually-doing-the-writing-thing journey so knowing that people are willing to put money behind what I do feels incredible (and also helps me to pay for things that I need, which is good). I support other writers and artists on Patreon, and when writers I know publish an ebook, I buy it. I generally can’t afford to buy physical books, but independently published ebooks are so much more affordable and I’m grateful to be in a place where I can spend even a little bit of money supporting other creators. For a long time, I couldn’t afford to do this. Now that I can, it’s important to me that I do. Being on the receiving end of financial support for your creative endeavours is pretty damn good. Being on the giving end of that is equally wonderful.

I hope these ideas help you to make the most of your online life as writer and contribute to your community. There are so many of us out here, waiting to meet you

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

The value of paying creators

My back is a total mess at the moment. I’ve been in a lot of pain for the last few days and it’s really difficult to move around. I’m shuffling more than walking and I can’t use my walking frame or sticks because I don’t have the strength needed to lean on my arms and hands. Imagine a penguin being tasered in the spine and that’s pretty much how I look when I try to move.

On Sunday morning, the first thing I did when I woke up was cry.

Then I turned my phone on and a PayPal notification popped up. Someone who enjoyed my writing had sent me $50, completely unexpectedly. The goodness of this takes a number of forms.

First of all, it paid for my web hosting for the next year plus part of the cost of software that I use for work. Knowing that those expenses are covered is amazing.

Secondly, it reminded me that what I create is actually worth paying for, which is easy to forget because I have roller coaster self-esteem and am still recovering from a previous job that left me feeling like nothing I did was ever good enough no matter how hard I worked.

Thirdly, it reminded me that people can be kind and wonderful, right at the time when those things are most needed.

The value of paying creators goes so far beyond a Patreon pledge or a PayPal payment (or a book bought or a piece of art commissioned or or or). It means more than covering costs and being compensated for a job done. It says, “What you create is worth something to me” and that matters more than people often realise.

My gratitude for the support and encouragement I receive from people who appreciate what I do is endless. Thank you ❤


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2017

NaNoWriMo begins in three weeks and I’m beyond excited! I’ve been laying the foundations of my project for over a month, getting to know my characters and creating a structure for the book. October is being spent outlining in as much detail as possible and November (NaNo month) will be for all the writing.

50,000 words feels like a lot to write in thirty days. It’s a slightly intimidating number and I’m not completely sure that I’ll manage it (it’ll be the longest thing I’ve ever written), but I’m going to give it my best shot. I felt a similar level of trepidation before starting my Camp NaNoWriMo projects in April and July of this year so it’s a familiar sensation. I completed both of those with plenty of time to spare, but they were less than half the length of this one. It’s a massive challenge but I do like massive challenges.

Although this project has been in my head and on my computer for a while now, it’s still very much a voyage of discovery. I’d like to say that I’m intentionally refining my process, but really I’m still getting to know it. I’ve found that I definitely need a solid outline or I end up changing my mind about things and having to rewrite a lot. I’ve also found that I can’t just sit down and create an outline from nothing because I’m more characters-first than story-first.

What I’ve discovered works for me is to have a firm concept in mind for the project, then spend time with the characters while creating a rough structure. As I get to know the people who live in my head, the story begins to shape itself based on their motives and desires. I create very detailed character profiles and this sparks chunks of dialogue and other vague sketches. These spontaneous bits and pieces may or may not end up in the finished project, but when they appear in my mind I write them down because they always help me to build the story.

I don’t want to say too much about the details of my project because I’m still creating it and so much is subject to change, but I’m happy to share a blurb (very much a work in progress!) and introduce you to the characters, so here goes…

A retired contract killer, a hacker with a poet’s soul, an underworld chauffeur, a musician with a penchant for blood magic and a solider struck by lightning.

Inspired by the concepts and symbolism in tarot’s major arcana, 22 Cards weaves a winding path through five lives connected by the delicate threads of chance and possibility.

Brett
Hacker with a poet’s soul. Night person. Hardcore multi-tasker. Vodka, take-away food, Danish art house cinema. Death before drudgery.

Cain
Musician with a penchant for blood magic. Pills for breakfast. Keeps dead flowers for too long. Wants you to love her, dangerously.

Mercy
More casual chauffeur than get-away driver, but never say never. Woman of few words. Craft beer. Concealed weapons. Shit happens.

Noah
Retired contract killer, reluctant ex-smoker, coffee connoisseur. Stormy seas and expensive coats. Has feelings about not having feelings.

Wolf
Ex-military, current wandering god/fallen angel archetype. Accidental purveyor of prophetic wisdom. Struck by lightning – twice.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, which is pretty much just brain-spew since I haven’t started properly writing, and won’t until November, check out 22 Cards’ page on NaNoWriMo’s website here.


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Stone Flowers Grow In Cold Places, now available in full on this site and DeviantArt

When I first published Stone Flowers Grow In Cold Places, I made it available for free download in multiple formats and uploaded it to Tablo and Wattpad. Tablo and Wattpad are great because they allow writers to create an online book that looks like a book but that can be read in any browser or in the sites’ own apps. Their product, for want of a better word, is beautiful and delightfully functional.

BUT (I like big buts and I cannot lie), I don’t have an existing audience in those places. So while they’re awesome to direct people to for a slick and user-friendly reading experience, they aren’t places where my work is going to be discovered unless I pour a mahoosive amount of time and energy into promoting myself on those platforms.

I have nothing against pouring a mahoosive amount of time and energy into promoting myself and my work online, obviously, but I only have a limited about of those things (as everyone does) and I like to use them smartly, so it makes sense to make the most productive use of platforms where I already have an audience. Since my books are free and I’m not tied to channelling traffic to a specific sales platform, it makes absolutely no difference how many places I make them available to read. Actually, the more places the better!

At something-after-midnight, because that’s when all my best ideas happen (what is sleep anyway?) I realised I should make my books available to read in full here on my website and also on DeviantArt. All my online everythings direct to my website in some capacity and I’ve been using DeviantArt for over a decade, so thousands of people already follow my work there.

Because actually getting up in the wee hours to do things that require concentration is silly and not entirely possible, I quickly brain-spewed into Google Keep on my phone, got up the next day and got to work.

I’m very happy to announce that Stone Flower Grow In Cold Places is now available on my website here and on DeviantArt.

It’s still on Tablo and Wattpad, and I’m definitely going to continue to add new books to those platforms, but I now have even more publishing options to embrace. Self-publishing continues to be an adventure and I love that it affords me the flexibility to share my work with readers in so many different ways!

If you haven’t already read Stone Flowers, get stuck in – it’s about 20,000 words so it can be read in about the time it takes to watch a film 🙂

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

My writing is a Daily Deviation on DeviantArt!

This is technically last week’s news cause it happened on 2nd September, but I had a bunch of blog posts scheduled already so it’s being announced here today 🙂

My horror flash fiction piece, Spark, was featured as a Daily Deviation on DeviantArt.com. Daily Deviations are “an assortment of submissions are chosen each day by this select group of staff and volunteer members who wish to showcase artwork they have found impressive or otherwise interesting enough to deserve being brought to the attention of the community-at-large”.

This is such a hugely special thing for me, partly because DeviantArt has been my home, family and community online for over a decade, and partly because this is the first Daily Deviation I’ve received for a piece of writing.

*sniffle*

You can read Spark on DeviantArt here, although if you aren’t a logged-in member, you won’t be able to view it because of Mature Content settings (it’s a pretty horrific story). You can read it here on my website though.


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Another Shinbone Star article

You might remember last week I posted here about an article I wrote being published in the Shinbone Star. I’ve been offered the opportunity to write for the Star more often, as a foreign correspondent of sorts. I’m not sure of ‘foreign’ refers to Scotland or the internet, since both are places where I live, but either way it’s rather exciting.

My latest article, Spiraling out of control, 140 characters at a time, (published 29th August) is a discussion about President Trump’s questionable online communications strategy.

The Shinbone Star: No longer encumbered by any sense of fair play, ex-journalists return to active duty to fight the Trumpian menace!


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

My article published in the Shinbone Star

At the weekend, my recent rant/article about online responses to nazi’s activities was published in the Shinbone Star. This is quite an honour because the Shinbone Star is staffed by American ex-journalists, and I am neither American nor an ex-journalist (or a current journalist, or any kind of journalist).

That rant/article originally appeared on my personal Facebook profile, then here on my own blog. As it is full of my usual colourful language, I was surprised when the editor of the Shinbone Star got in touch to ask for permission to republish it without editing out all the cunts and fucks.

The Shinbone Star: No longer encumbered by any sense of fair play, ex-journalists return to active duty to fight the Trumpian menace!


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!