New Connections: Social Networking and Writers’ Groups

This time last year, I was used to logging into Twitter only to check the tweets of a handful of celebrities that I was following at that time, and to occasionally tweet about my bouts of fever or exam anxieties to no one in particular. My blog was in coma, I spent most of my Facebook time playing Zynga games (Yoville, Farmville, CafeWorld, Petville, Fishville- you name them, I’ve played them all, with the probable exception of Mafia) and in short my social (networking) life was near about non-existent. Then there were last minute revisions, then the exams, then post-exam trips to the shopping mall and to the movie theatre- and I disappeared from the Internet. When I returned in the 2nd half of the year, I went back to playing games. It would have probably gone on like this if I did not receive that message out of nowhere from the 100 Stories for Haiti Facebook group, asking for submissions for yet another charity anthology, this time for the victims of the Pakistan flood. Before this message, I didn’t know that whole anthologies could be put together via social networking sites. All I knew about the Haiti book was that the proceeds from the sales went to the victims of the earthquake. I heard about the book via the First Edition FB page (FE being a Dorset magazine that had published a couple of my poems. It doesn’t exist anymore) and I had joined their group because one of the 100 authors (I don’t remember who it was, it might even have been Greg McQueen- the editor himself) had requested people to like and join. Then the message came, I gave it my best shot and was soon part of 50 Stories for Pakistan. We were asked to promote the book, and I began tweeting, expecting as usual that no one would read my tweets. But the #storiesforpakistan tag brought me my first writer followers- I believe Rebecca Emin was the first one of them and all of a sudden I had a whole new world of writing open before me. I learned of writing prompts, Fiction Fridays, Six Minute Stories & One Minute Stories and writing contests on various blogs. Through the tweets of Rebecca, I learned of yet another anthology looking for submissions- Shambelurking & Other Stories. Another hash tag, another Twitter list, some more new connections.
And then came NaNoWriMo. My newly acquired writer friends were tweeting about it,and even though I didn't even no what all this was about, i jumped headlong into it. I asked around & realized I had to write a novel in a month. A novel? I hadn't contemplated writing novels at that point of my life- that too in a month. But my new connections said it was fun, and I took the plunge. I lost pretty badly of course,but in the process I learned things about plotting, outlining, character charts etc. etc., and I am still learning. NaNoWriMo also got me added to two writers’ group on Facebook – Fellow Writers and Thursday’s Novelists. In fact, it was through the former that I came across Patti Larsen- the lovely lady behind this blog-hop to whom I had sent a distress mail to ask for help with outlining during Nano.
The point I’m trying to make here is for me- the whole thing has been like a chain reaction- from First Edition to Haiti to 50 Stories to Friday Flashes to a blog fest: 2010 has been the year of new connections online for me and these new connections have opened up possibilities and opportunities that I had never imagined were there. Through Fellow Writers’ for example- I am part of this blog-hop. Now this might not be a great blog, in fact you might be already snoring over your keypad but at least it has got me writing. I was part of the Christmas Horror Contest on FecklessGoblin’s blog, I didn’t win- but I wrote a couple of pieces for it, and that was very satisfying to myself. I did my first Friday Flash on Halloween last year- and thanks to kind retweets and Mr.Linky on the Write Anything site, I had more responses than all the comments in my blog archive put together. That itself is a wonderful incentive to write again next week, isn’t it? Now I am a big procrastinator, and I’m quite lazy too- so I’ve done only four Friday Flashes so far- but when I saw other people tweeting about their own stories yesterday- it made me feel pretty ashamed of myself. Hopefully my blog will begin to look more and more regular as 2011 unfolds. Here’s raising a toast to more new connections in the New Year. And since you were so nice as to tolerate my blabbering self-love, I’ll post a more helpful blog-link for you, titled Thank Goodness for Social Networking.
That’s all for now. If you want to connect with me- my twitter link is on the right hand bar.

Comments

  1. That is a lot of networking. I'm glad it's working out for you!

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  2. Yeah, I'm glad myself. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I completely agree. Social networking has been a great tool for spurring me on with my writing and getting me involved with projects I otherwise wouldn't have known about.

    India Drummond

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  4. Contrary to popular belief, writers cannot live or function in a vacuum. One thing leads to another, and you just never know where. That and the lasting friendships you'll make are worth it. Nice post :)

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  5. I resisted--who needs others? I'm a WRITER! Um-hum. How fun this has been... and I'm trying to get my non-networking writer friends to do it too. Why do we reisist? I think part laziness, part fear, part that old way of thinking--writing is a solitary business.

    I'm grateful to have found you, Ruchira. And all my new friends. This rocks and so do you!

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  6. Good post. It's important for writers to have an outlet where they can socialize. With so much time spent on the computer each day, there are obvious periods of frustration when ideas don't flow easily, when your brain just needs time to process. Being part of a community that is supportive is key. It's important to know there are connections, and people you can turn to.

    Plus, I get to meet people from all over the world like you!

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  7. Like Patti, I resisted for a long time. I'm just starting to understand the importance of a network of writers. Thanks for being part of it Ruchiraa. I just followed you on twitter. I'm @tarabenwell.

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