And I have to admit that I do now see why Twitter is good for writers. I have gained so much from Twitter in the past year that it’s now quite hard to imagine life without it. Not only is Twitter a virtual water cooler/coffee shop in terms of giving us solitary authors access to the daily banter that enhances the working day of those with ‘proper jobs’, but it has also provided me with a number of book recommendations I might not otherwise have discovered, it has opened the doors to such a wealth of interesting newspaper articles, blog posts, quotes and YouTube videos about writing and the writing process that I can never hope to read even a tenth of what’s available; it has provided real-time updates in the form of Tweets from writers’ conferences and events that that I haven’t been able to attend, and, most valuable of all, it has given me new friends.
Like many others, I was sceptical about Twitter. Wasn’t it all about celebrity gossip and the finer points of what Stephen Fry had for breakfast? And given the amount of time Twitter was bound to gobble up, how could it possible be ‘good for writers’?
Well, it’s almost a year since I joined Twitter, and I haven’t once learned what Stephen Fry has for breakfast (mind you, I don’t follow him, so his breakfast would have to be spectacular enough to warrant a retweet if I were ever to hear about it.)
The friends I’ve made on Twitter are mostly, but not all, other authors, and this means they understand a lot about my life, and I understand a lot about theirs. We empathise with the challenges we all face in our daily quest to ‘get some work done’; we sympathise with each other’s isolation; we commiserate over rejections and we celebrate successes.
But there is a downside. All this wonderful support comes from having a strong network of people that you frequently interact with, and interaction takes time. Twitter is also the BEST vehicle for procrastination, and what’s more, when you confess to procrastinating, loads of other authors will jump to your defence, convincing you that it’s normal or even desirable to procrastinate. I’m guilty of this myself and even wrote a blog post encouraging others. *hangs head in shame* See 7-ways-to-justify-procrastination
So, in the interests of the health of my second novel, and at the risk of returning to Twitter to find that no-one remembers me, I’ve decided to follow fellow author Isabel Ashdown’s (@isabelashdown) example and have a month (ish) away from Twitter. Gulp. I’m going away for a week in August anyway, and lots of other people will be away too, so I won’t miss much, right? Who am I kidding – I’ll miss loads.
But despite wondering how on earth I’m going to survive for a month without the support of my lovely Twitter mates, I’m going to take a deep breath, and I’m going to do it! See you in September!