The #WritingCommunity on Twitter – How Does Social Media Benefit Aspiring Writers?
As a writer who tries to keep up social media presence, I am an avid user of Twitter. I created my account for professional purposes, wanting to represent myself as an aspiring writer who produces content on a regular basis, for potential employers to notice. Twitter is a useful platform for gaining recognition, but I have found that, after using my account for a year and a half, it’s also the best place to find connections, whether it’s for job prospects, or just to have a conversation with a fellow writer.
If you search for the hashtag ‘#writingcommunity’, you will find exactly that: a community, full of both budding writers and established ones. There are always new topics for discussion, including idea prompts, or general questions about people’s experiences. My favourites are questions about WIPs (works in progress), where writers open up about their projects and talk about genre, character, and their individual writing process.
Additionally, there are accounts that post motivational quotes or advice for aspiring writers. I find these helpful when I feel I’m losing inspiration. The account, @noveliciouss, for example, tweets every day with inspirational quotes for creatives, usually accompanied by beautiful art. Sometimes that’s all it takes to remember your passion.
In a more practical respect, some accounts help aspiring writers find an audience. For example, if you’re just starting out on Twitter and you need good contacts, there are accounts specifically tailored to you. ‘Books & The Bear’ are an American company that provide editing and proofreading services for a price. On Twitter, they share new book releases and offer advice to writers. Similarly, InkLyte describe themselves as ‘a writer-based platform that aims to establish strong ties within the writing community’. They tweet regular questions to their followers, such as ‘What subject do you find difficult to write about, and why?’
It's open discussions like these that make the #writingcommunity so accessible, especially to aspiring writers. Having like-minded people to talk to helps me see value in my craft, encouraging me to keep working at it. When I was asked about my WIP, I was surprised at how much detail I put into my answer, and it shows how much faith I have in my ideas.
Authors themselves are an integral part of the #writingcommunity. Matt Haig, author of Notes on a Nervous Planet, Reasons to Stay Alive and The Humans, regularly responds to his followers, and specialises in topics like mental health and depression. One follower reached out to him, explaining that his books helped her friend immensely, who suffers from depression. He also released 8 tips on writing in the form of a Twitter thread last year, which received thousands of likes.
Another example is Rainbow Rowell, author of popular YA novels including Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Carry On. When I posted a tweet about how much I loved Carry On, Rowell quickly responded with a thank you. She does this with the majority of fans who mention her name or her books, leaving a like or direct reply. Because she is so engaged with her community, she comes across as approachable, which is an image a lot of authors aim for.
Twitter’s writing community as a whole has been described as ‘one of the most robust writing collectives on the web.’ However, one of the issues can come from those who use the platform purely to gain a following. Within the community, some will follow accounts with the same interests and ask for retweets or likes from other writers, without any real conversation. On a platform like Twitter that has so many users, it’s common to experience situations like these, which is why others might prefer sites that are specifically made for writers, instead of just a hashtag.
Regardless, the Twitter writing community is a fun, creative, and invigorating community to be a part of. It’s a quick and easy way for artists to connect, without needing to sign up for forums. All you need is one hashtag and you can find thousands of people with the same interests.
In the age of social media, writers have truly taken digital platforms by the reins and made the most of their features. Communities have been created via the internet, and it’s interesting to think that, ten years ago, communities like these didn’t exist. Despite having criticisms for it, I have managed to achieve so much through the presence of a writing community, and there is no doubt others will continue to do so in the future.
by Abigail Martin