For me, the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with since getting involved in the online writing community is socializing. I had heard about the vast sources the community extended to: Twitter, Facebook, WordPress. The list goes on. I’ve had family members involved in the process, but to actually be a part of it myself, well, it feels like I’m either an Olympic diver or doggie paddler.
The metaphor is a weird one, I admit, but it’s the most apt in my situation. I’m not the social sort. I’ve been introverted and shy since I was a child. Only in the last few years have I really embraced my introverted nature, allowing it to be a weapon I can wield as opposed to one that wields itself, leaving me spending hours trying to get a hold of it. Picture the scene with the Cornish Pixies in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Yeah, it was once that crazy in my head.
In the writing world, I can’t necessarily afford to be introverted. I have to be out there on twitter, making sure that I am networking and getting connected with other people. I have to talk about my work, what I like doing, what I’m reading, who I am. For a writer, one would think this is an incredibly easy task with all of the ideas in our heads; the characters we create are like people we talk to everyday. It’s not, at least for me. The biggest difference, all of my characters are in my head. Jumping into a sea of real people is overwhelming. It’s a process that I’m still learning about day by day.
There are some people who are naturally good at immersing themselves in the lives and interests of others. For me, it is a gradual process. On Twitter, I test out what tweets work. Are my one line Wednesdays gaining interest? Are my responses to writing chats doing a decent job at expressing who I am? Is replying to this person’s tweet a good idea? The character limit on Twitter is awfully frustrating at times, though it is a challenge worth undergoing. As a writer, a complete work involves revising, editing, chopping, and transforming it to be better. A good tweet involves connecting with your followers as well as expressing a small part of yourself in the process.
I will admit that I don’t always know what I’m doing. Like the metaphor that started off this post, I am either an Olympic diver or a doggie paddler. Some tweets I feel confident about. Others, I feel as if it may not be the best writer-esque tweet there could be. What I can say is I’m trying my best and I’m willing to learn. I’m willing to dive deeper into a community that I know I want to be a part of as I grow up and develop my career.
The past month, I’ve been throwing myself out there: meeting people, gaining a couple of interviews (while trying not to have a panic attack about what I should say), and doing live chats with other authors and bloggers. I’m grateful to be involved with a community that is bigger than I could have imagined, even if I’m barely scratching the surface of it. I’m hoping that I will be able to stay afloat.
I know, I know. I need to stop using metaphors that involve water.
In order to do that, I’m going to end this post by asking my fellow bloggers and writers, what is your experience like with social media? Feel free to leave any comments and opinions below.