Today, one of the blogs I subscribe to talked about the aspects of writing, finding a support group of fellow writers to encourage one in the writing process, and the importance of blogging and Twitter for writing . Despite not knowing this author personally (her specialty is a bit more of the ancien regime or Georgian era romances than mine is), her thoughts and insights mirror my own, and she has somewhere around 300,000 hits (very impressive work, as I’m a little shy of 8,000 myself on the blog I have had since the middle of November 2010). I would like to examine three of the issues she discusses: how one knows one is a writer, what sort of support network one establishes as a writer, and then how one can use blogs and Twitter (and Facebook) to build confidence as well as help with self-promotion.
When Is Someone A Writer?
It’s a hard thing to determine when someone is a writer. At this particular stage in my own writing career I would probably be considered semi-pro. I have a few published articles, ranging from publications like the Somaliland Times to religious magazines like World News & Prophecy, my first encyclopedia entry got accepted, and I have a couple of published plays. Nonetheless, I don’t have an agent, nor have I ever received an advance for a work. I’m not quite at the major league level yet, but I’m definitely working in that direction.
That said, I have been a writer for a long time. People may marvel at the prolific nature of my writing, or the seemingly effortless nature of my prose, but few people have seen the massive amount of time I have spent since my early teens in honing my writing craft through writing over 2000 poems, hundreds of personal essays and articles, and over five dozen completed plays. The work I produce now, at my current stage of writing expertise, has taken a great deal of time and effort to develop, and I have been writing consistently now for almost two decades.
Like Madame Guillotine, I have found that most of my friends are supportive of my writing efforts, either through their own proofreading efforts (which help improve what I write), or through encouragement and sharing their own experiences and perspectives. As I happen to know a lot of other writers in a variety of genres, I enjoy the conversation one gets with others who write about subjects of interest to me, but in different areas than I tend to write in (novels or prose fiction, children’s novels), which allows for plenty of encouragement without the feeling that someone is competition.
As far as I am concerned, the works of others, their musings and thoughts and writings, are often inspiration for my own. It is as if each writer is a part of much larger conversations about worthwhile works, the process of writing, and the process of knowing that others care about one’s success, and where you can encourage them in their own works. These support networks are very important.
I am not personally particularly interested in self-promotion, though it is necessary to market one’s own works and let others find out about one’s works. I personally use Twitter and Facebook to let others know bout my works. This is an area I need to get better at, but I’m always looking for suggestions on how to do this better. Perhaps an agent would help in these matters too, eventually. I will, of course, provide further updates in this area.