Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I'm Still Not Sure If I'm Doing This Right...

…but I think I like the way I'm doing it.
     I'm referring to a post I wrote back in June "Am I Doing This Right" where I talked about the ways I was going about trying to get my first book published and how I was stepping into the big scary world of social media.
     I'm going to save talk of the publication of my first novel for another post, otherwise we'll be here forever.
     Let's start with the blog. I've heard from numerous sources that it's important to have a blog that focuses on one topic, and I can see why this is. People are more likely to follow a blog if it's about a topic they're interested in.
     I'm kind of doing this, but kind of not. For the most part, I blog about writing related topics, but I also blog about whatever comes to mind. I also like to randomly share poems. It's possible that this is keeping me from being placed on lists of blogs about specific topics, but I think I can accept that. I like being spontaneous and genuine. I like writing about whatever comes to mind, whenever it comes to mind.
     I've heard that many writers start blogging in order to give themselves a platform. I've even heard it said that it's important for writers to create a persona and advertise it. I'm not entirely sure what this means. Am I supposed to act in a certain way online, only blog about certain topics, and stick to themes? I don't know, but I don't want to put myself in a cute little box. I want people to see quirky weird Becky who shares really dark poetry but then writes a silly post about using vomit to classify genres and puts childish stickers on her rejection letters. I want to share posts about whatever's on my mind, be it something totally mundane, or something really raw and deep.  
     So that's what I'm doing.
     I have a secret.
     Promise you won't tell anyone?
     Okay, here it is: I get nervous about almost every blog post I share. Right now as I'm writing I'm thinking "Am I really sharing this with people? Do I sound shallow? Do people really want to read this?" I wonder if I'm being too emotional or too raw or maybe not informative enough. I've decided that it's okay to worry about these things, so long as I don't let them stop me.
     So I'm not.
     All right, let's talk about Twitter for just a minute. I'm actually enjoying Twitter (outside the window, pigs are flying). By that I mean I'm enjoying the Twitter writing community, which for the most part is the only reason I use Twitter. Whenever I check out parts of Twitter that aren't writing related I'm reminded of how ignorant and stupid people can be and I get depressed. So I stick to the writing community, which is awesome.
     Writers are awesome people.
     I'm not an expert by any means, but I'll share a few things I've learned. I started actively using Twitter in May and already I have over 300 followers. In the grand scheme of things this isn't a big number, but for a no-name like me who just joined a few months ago, that's pretty good so far. There are two main things I did to get my followers. The first was participating in writing and publishing contests. The second was simply by talking to people.
     People love attention. Even shy, introverted writers. Even I love attention. It's interesting to watch a trending topic and see hundreds of tweets come in per second. Some people don't even bother to read other peoples tweets. They just post their own thoughts and move on. How is that a conversation?
     People want to be heard.
     I scan some of the better writing #s (#amwriting, #amediting, whatever contest is going on at the time) and respond to comments and questions that I find interesting. I also Tweet my own thoughts.  I always get really excited when someone retweets me or responds to me, so I keep this in mind and try to retweet and/or respond to others. But I don't do it blindly. I do it when I have something to contribute or feel something needs to be heard.
     When I was trying to figure out how to get followers I read a lot of articles that stress the importance of Tweeting interesting, intelligent things. And it's true, this is important, but at the same time it goes back to being genuine. If I come across an important topic or tip, I'll tweet about it, but I'm also going to share whatever weird quirky thought is in my head, no matter how weird and quirky it is. Because this is me, and I want people to know who I am.
     So, those are my thoughts and opinions thus far about my social media adventures. Just my thoughts and opinions, and it's definitely a process that will always be changing as I learn more.
     As always, thanks for reading.