Sunday, November 1, 2009

TWITLIT


I first discovered Twitter in June 2009.
After hearing about it from everyone, everywhere for months, I finally logged on, created an avatar and told the world about my lunch. It seemed asinine.  But, gradually, I found kindred writerly and artistic spirits and spirits I didn’t think could be kindred but were.
Twitter was as addictive as chocolate.
I loved reading what other people were doing, it was voyeuristic and altogether terrific. Getting glimpses of people’s lives is a writer’s dream, even better than eavesdropping in a cafĂ©.  Almost better than chocolate.
    After the novelty of connection wore off, I began to learn things about publishing, agents, editors, query letters and submissions that would have taken years to learn without Twitter. I shared chocolate info while savoring sweetly perfumed 70% Lindt intense pear and the witty, sarcastic, hilarious and harshly critical Tweets and blogs of the other people I followed. Their excellent writing inspired me to tighten up the blather on my blog.
    Over the past months, thanks to Twitter, my blog has been visited by artists, animators, writers, poets, scientists, photographers, journalists and lawyers.
    Twitter also allowed me to see how much writers struggle to write.  Even published and successful ones panic about deadlines, agonise about the next book not being good enough, worry about being dropped by their publisher and about how low advances are going. Good grief, it seems writing never gets easy. Except for Dan Brown, who is not on Twitter. Or J.K. Rowling, who is, but is too busy writing to Tweet. (What is she writing, and when will we see it?  Will it be under a pseudonym and if so, how will we know?) 
    Dan Brown, God bless his rich little best-seller heart, says he gets up at 4 am to write. So, I figured it was worth a shot. I began waking up a 4 AM.  Not to sit at my keyboard, but to think in the dark. (In more ways than one).  Writing is 99% thinking and 1% typing, isn’t it?  I thought about what I wanted to write that day. Toni Morrison said something like: “I type at my keyboard, but I write all over the house.”  Yes, and outside too, in cars and buses and planes.
    After deep thoughts in the dark, I'd get up just before dawn and go for a one-mile walk, while I wrote in my head. I liked being up and out while there were a couple of stars still in the sky and the street lights were still on. And, although it didn't transform me into a best-selling author, it got the day going.  So I kept doing it.
    I fret about my so-called “writing process”.  I’m not sure it is a process at all. I just write any way I can, really. Sometimes in great spurts, sometimes just a word or two. Sometimes everything I write will sing, sometimes it all sucks. Sometimes I labor over a page or a paragraph or a word, sometimes it pours out effortlessly. I rant and rave on my blog to clarify my thoughts. I tell myself that blogging is good for keeping up the writerly chops. Is it? I don’t know.
    My Twitter addiction is under control now, unlike my writing or my craving for chocolate. I find that writing requires more and more chocolate. Especially Lindt chili chocolate, not too sweet, with a little burn at the end. I like to get my tongue wrapped around a thick chunk of it and, as it begins to melt, slide it around until all the flavors erupt all over my palate then slip smoothly down my throat.
    If only I could get my writing to slide around smoothly and erupt with a little burn at the end. Perhaps more chocolate will help.
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7 comments:

Debra Snider said...

Let me recommend Scharffen Berger's little chocolate bars to you. They're wonderfully thick and they do the melting in your mouth thing perfectly. (I'm also a big fan of that sensation.)

It was so interesting to read about your writing process. If you like to read about other writers' processes, I hope you'll check out this guest post I wrote last month on mine: http://bit.ly/ZKJA4

Enjoyed reading this - thanks!

Nora Lumiere said...

Oooh, thick chocolate! Thanks, I'll get some.
Will also read your writing piece - any help is always welcome.
BTW - how do you get those tiny URLS?

Nora Lumiere said...

From Alan Halsted on Twitter, November 2, 2009:

@Nora_LUMIERE Well done!

SueG said...

Hi, I just discovered you from Clare Dudman's blog, and I'm glad I did. I've recently discovered twitter as well, and although my followers are now in the hundreds, I'm not quite sure what to do with them all. It would take all day to keep track of what everyone is saying, so I put up my status once a day, check occasionally, and hope for the best. But I know I'm missing a lot. I'm a novelist as well, and it would be great to get these sorts of insights you've described. Thanks. (Oh, and if you're interested, I'm an expat American like you, living in London: http://sueguineyblog.blogspot.com)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Twitter is addicting, isn't it? You've made a good point--it's nice to see that other writers are in the same boat and experiencing the same challenges at the rest of us.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Nora Lumiere said...

SUE G: Twitter followers are very helpful. While I'm glad to know you're an expat American, I am not.
Look forward to your Tweets and posts.

Nora Lumiere said...

ELIZABETH SPANN CRAIG:

Yup, we're all addicted to Twitter which has been more helpful than harmful, so far. I do have to turn it off to get back into character and plot, though.