Thursday, 26 January 2012
WRITER'S DREAM; Be a Tweeting Blogger
For many years all my ideas have first of all had to be filtered through editors - if they did not get approval, or an editor had recently commissioned something similar, the ideas didn't get written up fully - they remained a collection of notes and brainstorming. Since setting up ShimmerCastDreams I now have a place to place the ideas that do not get placed with editors! I see the blog as my own mini magazine - its subject is me and my life, so anything that I spend time doing and which I enjoy has a place here. I cannot express how liberated this has made me feel as a writer - for the first time in my career, I know that every idea I have will get written up; whether it ends up in a magazine or on the blog doesn't really matter as it will still reach my audience. This freedom is the payoff for blogging and it is also a little extra gift to my readers; here you get to read my work entirely for free so it is a small thank you for the support you have given me over the years and I do read and appreciate all of your lovely comments and tweets!
For those of you who want to be writers I cannot recommend blogging enough. As a regular practice this form of writing will help to keep the creative cogs turning. I am a professional writer; I am used to writing daily but even I have noticed that it takes less time for me to warm up and get into zone since blogging and tweeting. This is a benefit to my professional life that I had not anticipated at all. Blogging will give you the three things you need to be a writer; a voice, a platform and an audience. That is really all it takes to be a writer. Yes, I know that some of you want to write professionally and get paid for your words and blogging will not prevent this. Lots of professional writers, myself included, have written for free, especially at the beginning of our careers - it is how you make yourself known to the right people. And if you have a blog you can include the link in your queries to editors so that they have the option to look at more of your work and get to know your personality a bit. When I began approaching editors years ago, this personal touch was simply not available - I was just another hopeful name to be accepted or rejected. The option to view a blog will not be taken up by every editor as they are so busy, but if they like your voice they are likely to want to see more, and a blog is instantly available to them.
Twitter is also very useful, but in a different way. The most important thing tweeting will teach you is how to tighten your text. Editors want good, tight text and in tweeting to 140 characters or less there is no space for purple prose. Your writing will become sharper and to the point. Tweeting is quick, on the go, in the moment writing. It is very fluid - that's why its called a stream. It will also teach you how to say what is important leaving out all the rest. These techniques are things writing tutors have been teaching in class rooms for years; yet now you don't even need to sign up and pay for a class, just start tweeting and you will learn as a you go. Not everyone will like everything you post all of the time - but that is true for any writer, even best-selling novelists.
My personal opinion is that blogs and tweets should be clean and free from expletives. While there is the odd bloody or chuff in my tweets, I would never use strong language - I am aware that some of my readers are young teenagers. And it doesn't look very professional to have a blog or tweet stream full of effin'&jeffin' as we say in Yorkshire. You won't always be aware when an editor plans to look at your page, so keep it smart and although such pages should be personal, they should not contain private, sensitive information which might fall into the wrong hands.
I have found blogging and tweeting to be both fun and beneficial. If you don't have your own pages yet then do set them up -its really very easy and its free. If you do have pages then start to consider them as an extension of your writing life - use them as daily practice, or as warm-up exercises to get you into the zone before you begin working on your novel or screenplay or whatever your personal project might be.
I hope this post has been useful to you and I look forward to reading your comments.