In September of 2012, I finally took the social media leap from Facebook and joined Twitter. I was desperate to connect with other writers. I’d edited my manuscript six times on my own and I had heard of the whole querying business. It seemed like an impossible mountain for me to climb alone. Minneapolis and St. Paul both offer great writing workshops and clubs but the options didn’t fit in with my schedule as a mother and nurse. I spent the spring and summer of 2012 reading all I could about writing and blogging (I have a little Mom blog I do for fun). Each book and blog urged me to use Twitter to connect.
So I made a screen name… and got totally confused!
The world of Twitter is so different than Facebook. Hashtags? @’s? Trends? #cliche games. And how do you “make friends?” Get people to follow you? Find people to follow?
It was a headache and I nearly quit. I dove into SheWrites.com, a website that allowed me to directly connect with authors. A few authors, Carol Hedges(@CarolJHedges) and Kelly Hashway (@Kellyhashway) offered me great insight into the “How to’s” of querying and agenting. They encouraged me to dive back into Twitter. Slowly, I found myself dabbling in some fun hashtag conversations and I connected with more great writers.
When I connected with Kelley Harvey (@KHarveyWrites)and Fiona McLaren (@Bookomnivore), my relationship with Twitter changed. I made two great friends and critique partners. Thankfully, they showed me how Twitter works. I started finding writing contests that challenged my craft, specifically the first two hundred and fifty words of my novel. The Twitter gods aligned and I found myself in a critique group, The Off Beats. We help each other with manuscripts, pitches, internal freak outs, and have become a great group of friends. The Off Beats are all people who love to help others. I can’t live without them. Check them out: Kelley Harvey, Fiona McLaren, Katrina Sincek (@Katrina_Sincek), Abby Cavenaugh (@Abswrites), Amy Cavenaugh (@AmyCavenaugh), and Cat McScully (@CatMScully). They are always willing to answer questions, all are great writers with their unique talents, and have been invaluable critique partners and friends.
But Twitter didn’t stop there for me. Twitter helped me connect with agents. I found live tweet contests and met more amazing people, like @NikkiUrang who’s writing is fantastic and friendship is invaluable. As an added bonus, she only lives twenty minutes away! Twitter also helped me learn to pitch. One hundred and forty characters, I can do. But somehow, I’m still struggling with anything longer than that. Thirty-five word pitches are my nemesis. Someday, I’m going to be the pitch queen. Until then, I’m learning from Fiona McLaren and Katrina Sincek. Now those girls can pitch!
I can’t wait to see what other opportunities I can find through Twitter. I’ll admit that there are days when I still struggle to understand how it works. It’s a mysterious entity. That little birdy is truly alive, I swear.
Feel free to follow me @LizzyCharles_. I love meeting new people and making lasting connections. I’ll see you there! 🙂