Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Does Twitter Make Me A Better Writer?

I have realized that the time I spend on Twitter actually does make me a better writer. Hear me out, okay?

Those 140 characters, that's what gets me. Watching the number of available spaces diminish as my hands flutter over the keyboard really makes me aware of the words I use.

Lately, I've found myself editing my tweets. Not the usual changing "to" to "2" or "and" to "&" - since those new keystrokes take up less characters, but I've been more in tune with the number of words I've used and how I could say the same thing with less.

This can only mean good things when it comes to my writing, right? I would think so. Since an overabundance of words can slow the pacing.

This isn't the only reason why I'm a better writer - there are so many people who post links to really great articles about writing. These articles talk about craft as well as the publishing industry as a whole. Learning as much as a writer can about the business side is also important. Conversations between people also provide a lot of information. Just recently, I saw a person ask about self-editing books. She was flooded with recommendations. Other writers post tidbits about craft in their 140 characters.

Twitter chats are a plethora of information. I try to attend #kidlitchat and #yalitchat each week. #kidlitchat is on Tuesdays at 9pm, EST. #yalitchat is on Wednesdays at 9pm, EST. Both of these chats are attended by writers, illustrators, agents, and publishers. It's AMAZING the amount of information that flies by in those 140 characters. Never, other than in the internet world, would a wannabe writer have access to these industry professionals. Part of me wonders why more writers aren't participating in these chats. You are missing out, people!

So, does Twitter make me a better writer? Craft-wise, probably not that much. But it does make me feel more connected and informed of more than what I would normally know from here in my living room in Michigan.

Do you tweet? Do you find it something you "have to do" or are you enjoying this new explosion of industry information?


SG Redling said...

Great post! Twitter really does make you get to the point, with that character countdown leering at you. I'm a latecomer to tweeting and now it's the first thing I check. I love the way retweets link you up with folks you would never stumble across with other social networking sites. I've gotten book suggestions, writing groups, even a contact in Istanbul! And not only do you have to keep it short, so does everyone else. Nice.

Cassy Pickard said...

Oh do I have a lot to learn. I'm on Twitter, but confess I rarely post anything. I'm worried about the giant time suck of FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and whatever else. Kris, I think your point is really well made; I just have to wake up and begin to take advantage of all that's out there.

Unknown said...

Shelia~I agree with everything you've said. It's amazing to me the contacts we all can make using this simple tool. Okay, maybe it's not soo simple, but once you get the hang of it, it really is easy.

Cassy~You also make a good point about time suck. I'm rarely on FB anymore - just there to check out what friends/family are up to. I never look at LinkedIn unless I get a request, and then I remember, "Oh, I'm on LinkedIn too!" Twitter is cool because I can check in, use the lists I've created to only see those people I truly want to know what's going on, and send out updates to whatever I'm thinking about. BUT...we all could be writing, but I think it's important to schedule time to get "out there" and socialize with our peers.

Julie Duck said...

I have writer friends who simply will not tweet. They think it's strange. Unnecessary. Boring. They won't even do Facebook! Yes, they are missing out.

Where else would I get to see editors, agents, and publishers and their personalities... in 140 characters or less? Twitter is one of the best things I've ever encountered online. A must-have.

- Julie

Liz Lipperman said...

Kris, like Sheila and Cassy, I'm on Twitter but confess I really don't check it out. The few times I've tweeted, I've had to edit my comments down. And I so agree with you that it makes you think about saying the same thing in fewer words. One of my CPs is a journalist, and boy does she whack my words.

Great blog. One of these day, I'm going to email you privately and find out how to get the best out of Twitter.

Unknown said...

Julie~ You and I think alike!

Liz~ I totally understand. It is a great tool, and I encourage you to email me(!) and I will help as much as I can.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I use something like tweetdeck because then all I have to do is go to one place and post a comment and it shows up on all my sites. Saves a ton of time and allows me to scroll down each section and view other posts quickly without getting caught up in the games, etc. Before tweetdeck I never posted, now i do all the time.

Great post!

Unknown said...

I agree, Kari, that Tweetdeck is a wonderful piece of software. I do use that occasionally, but prefer to access Twitter directly at the website. I don't spend nearly the amount of online time at FB. I use that more for checking on friends/family. Maybe when I've got a deal, I'll set up a fan page at FB.