Do you tweet?
I don’t, not really, even though I’ve had a Twitter account for over two years. Partly it’s because I haven’t always been sure exactly what I should tweet about. And partly, perhaps, it’s because of the fear that my tweets will be boring or uninteresting or trivial, all of which are possible. (Spend a little time on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.)
One of my New Year’s resolutions has been to push ahead with social media, with the encouragement of my local critique group partners and the online writing communities I’ve joined. At the risk of sounding too clinical, though, the challenge has been how to think about it all—strategically, I mean. But lately, I’ve begun thinking that I’ve been over-thinking this whole social media thing, psyching myself out, making it much more complicated than it really needs to be.
I recently read a great blog post by Jim Jackson on Writers Who Kill, and it’s helping me think about all this in a different way. He offered six “rules” about getting out there in social media. And three of his key points were most helpful:
“It’s not all about YOU.” One thing that’s been difficult to wrap my head around is whether being an unpublished fiction writer gives me any standing to be on social media at all. But if I approach it as thinking about what others might most want to know and find interesting, then that changes the equation. That means thinking first and foremost about readers and other bloggers, not about promoting myself, when it comes to blogging or tweeting.
“Add Value to the Relationship.” In other words, all this isn’t a one-way street. Focus on what you can give to and share with others. And in looking back at the posts on this blog that have resonated most with others over the past two years, that is really true. Because those posts have been about sharing articles, other blog posts, new approaches, lessons-learned, “don’t do what I did” kind of things. And there are definitely a lot of things like this to be shared.
“Be Yourself.” One of my challenges is that I have sort of a split writing personality. On the one hand, there’s the Handy Guide to Virginia Wineries (which I’ve loved doing). On the other is an as-yet unpublished mystery novel, but one that I’ve loved writing. For a while last year, it seemed that perhaps splitting those two halves and having two blogs and websites would be best, but I’ve come to see that both halves are part of me as a writer because both are things I’ve loved doing. (And I’ve been able to work in a subtle bit about Virginia wineries into the novel in a couple of places, too.)
How do you think about social media and your writing?