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Twitter friends: An integral part of the writing experience

My husband always rolls his eyes when I talk about my Twitter friends.

“You don’t really know this people,” he says. “They’re just words on a screen.”

Maybe he’s right. We don’t “know” each other in the true sense of the word. I have no clue if you guys like coffee or tea, prefer Coke or Pepsi, or even where most of you work.

And yet, I know many of you. You’re all like me in one sense: you’re writers chasing a dream. You’re learning all you can and reaching out to like minds for guidance, just as I am. You’re trying to stay afloat in a sea of online resources and get your voice heard. Most of all, you’re looking for support encouragement from others who know it’s like to be driven to write.

Most of us can’t find that with our “real life” friends. When they initially find out we’re writing a book, they think it’s awesome and brave. They can’t wait to read it. They want to know about the plot, the genre, the characters. They can’t give you enough support.

Time passes, and as everyone goes about their daily lives, you’re sleep-deprived, scratching out a scene whenever you can find enough quiet time. A few weeks later, your friends excitedly ask how the book’s doing, hoping to read some.

Your response is probably something like this: I’ve got the outline done and the first 5000 words written. It’s going great!”

The friend blinks. “You’ve only got 5000 words? But it’s been so long! When do you think you’ll be ready to publish?”

Yes, I’ve had this conversation with many friends. Every one thinks writing a book is a cool thing and something they’d love to do. And most of them think it simply involves sitting down at the computer with an idea and letting your thoughts rip.

Most have no clue of the planning that goes into a book, and many are oblivious to the difficulties of getting published.

“Go to Barnes and Noble,” one of my friends says. “Look at all the books there – and a lot of them suck. I’m sure yours doesn’t. No way you won’t get published. Someone will snatch your book right up.”

If only.

But my Twitter friends – my writing buddies – they get it. They know the writing is like a marathon, not a sprint. Writers are the wise turtle, not the impatient hare. All of us have our own methods. No two are the same, but we still get what the other’s going through. Who else but a fellow writer could understand the frustration over spending a half an hour over one paragraph, or getting lost in hours of researching and trying to decide what needs to be utilized and what should be left out? Only another writer knows the high of great writing, when the words actually do flow out of your fingers, and only another writer could understand the crushing lows of self-doubt.

Our face-to-face friends may smile and nod, tell us to buck up, it’ll be okay – the usual. But online buddies can empathize and offer real advice. They can tell us to quit whining and get busy writing, that it’s the only way to pull ourselves out of the funk, and we actually listen.

Why? Because they get it. They get that finishing the first draft is just one step of many. They realize it could be a year or more (in some cases, many) before that book is ready to query. And they understand the book may never be published or even submitted. A real life friend would be shocked if I shelved my draft because I didn’t think it was ready and started something new. A writing friend would get that our craft gets better with every book.

So I may not know if you guys are vegetarians or carnivores, but I know you understand what I’m going through. I know that at any moment I could log onto Twitter and ask a question or post a link and get a response. You cheer when I have a good writing day and commiserate when I don’t.

You’re there for me in a way real life friends can’t be, and I’m immensely grateful.

Thank you and best wishes on your writing journey. I’ll be right there beside you!

16 comments on… “Twitter friends: An integral part of the writing experience”

  1. Omg, that's right!! I have the same tiresome conversations. Not to mention that my friends who don't spend as much time online don't get why I need more friends, lol, and I explain, tenderly, that I also need writer friends and since those lack in my immediate surroundings, I have turned to Twitter. I'm loving it! And yes, it's a tough process, writing a novel, I am just praying I can finish mine this year. 🙂 Thanks for another great post, Stacey. And btw, I just love meat. So you know. 😀

  2. A carnivore! Good to know. Me too:)My friends are the same, as well as my family. My sisters especially don't understand why I shelved the book I wrote last year or why I'm not quite done with this one. They expect to see me in print soon, since I've been writing so long and don't seem to hear me when I say I'm still far away from that goal.I'm loving Twitter as well, and keep plugging away at your novel. You'll do it:)

  3. Great post! I only joined Twitter a little over a month ago and my only regret is that I didn't join in sooner. Being able to connect with other writers has been absolutely amazing and I LOVE it! I've never had so much support or encouragement while working on a WIP before. It's great!You are exactly right with this one. Very nice job! 🙂

  4. AvaSo glad you're having a great experience with Twitter. The support is amazing and has really helped me to push through some tough times with writer's block, etc. Thanks so much!

  5. So true! My relatives keep telling me to just send my novel out, I've been working on it for months, and that the editor will edit it, that's what they're for. I just keep thinking, "That's not how it's done…." So it's really nice to have people online who get what I'm going through.

  6. Other writer's get it! And I love that they do. And while your husband may scoff at twitter friends, it only starts with a few words, I've met some of best friends online.

  7. PlamenaI feel your pain! I have the same situation in my family. They're just trying to help, but it's very frustrating.Thanks for commenting:)

  8. Lyndsay, Auden, Rhi and CatherineThanks so much for your responses. It's so good to know we've all found friends and support through Twitter. And Rhi, I actually met my best friend online too. She only lives about four hours away from. Small world:)

  9. Great post! I can't tell you how many times I've gotten the, "why isn't your book at B&N; yet?" It's so nice to mingle with people going through the same thing!

  10. Before a recent conference, I began following the hashtag and following people. At the conference, it was a delight when someone would say, "Hey, you're @StacyWrites." I love Twitter for the networking. And, I've met several people in person over the years too.

  11. LOL, Lindsey. It's amazing how easy people think it is to get published. Stacy, that's a great story! I would love to go to a conference and meet up with people that way.

  12. Well said! I cherish the online creative community. There's always something to learn, and the support is a life line.

  13. LeslieYou're right! The online creative community is a great learning and supportive resource. Thanks for the comment:)

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