Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do writers need social media? Part 2

(crossposted from The Big Idea)
In my previous blog post, I discussed how blogs, Facebook and Twitter (ie social media) can be used by a writer to hook a readership and publisher. But are they worth the time away from ‘real writing’? In this blog, I explore how social media could enhance the writing itself.

As Musk and others say, exploring inner worlds in order to share them is what writers do anyway. I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing that sense of vague fear and dread before starting a new scene or chapter. The fear might be linked to the worry that this time, we might not be clear enough thinkers or complex enough psychologically to pull it off this time, and then our lack of depth would be exposed. So writing is also a quest to become a better, wiser person, a person with something to say (you see how cleverly I’m circling here?)

If this quest for self-betterment is what you would do anyway, then the only question remaining is whether you would feel comfortable sharing it. For some the answer is no – it would endanger their inner world and disturb their writing process. That’s OK. Having a blog doesn’t mean you have to bare all – you can choose to bare only some (although sincerity and truth are important, and readers make smart lovers.) For others though, discussion and dissection of issues are exactly what they crave, the thing that feeds their writing and fires off further ideas. They actively seek to connect, to graze ideas, to converse, to follow links until they hit one which might be the key to understanding their character or anchor a plot point. Reading, watching and linking to good writers, readers and thinkers is not a side activity – it is part of the process of writing.

read more here

1 comment:

Tim Jones said...

Thanks for the mention of my blog in the Big Idea version of this article, Renee! I agree with everything you say about the value of blogging and other social media activities for writers, and yet ... and yet ... I've come to the point, in terms of my other commitments, where my blogging and other social media activities are competing directly for time with my 'primary' writing.

That isn't so much of a problem for Twitter, where my tweets tend to relate to whatever I'm working on at the time, but I find that writing blog posts and writing comments takes a lot more time and mental energy. I try to post on my blog twice a week, but it's been a struggling at times this year to maintain that.

The main casualty this year, though, has been my frequency of reading and commenting on others' blogs (including yours, as you may have noticed!). I don't feel good about that, and even in strict 'writer building a social media platform' terms such a withdrawal not a good idea, but something has had to give, and so far, that's been it.

(Though the length of this comment suggests I haven't completely given up!)