On Twitter Helping My Writing

Suddenly I understood..

…Twitter has made me a better editor! Of course my ongoing work in my MFA in Creative Writing program is vastly useful but Twitter really keeps me on my toes. Do I really need to add that word, oops I’m in the negative characters zone, what’s gotta go?

 Let me tell you about my history with social media: crickets. I was one of those “stuck in the nineties” (thanks for that phrase Nas) chicks who didn’t trust it. Now let’s be clear, my info is out there in the greater world open to all so I can’t pretend to be on some higher plain pulling the Lord of the Rings invisible cloak stunt. If someone wanted to find me they could, but that’s not why I lost my fear of social media. Back in 2011 I submitted a piece a piece to HelloGiggles and it got published and I was asked, “Are you on Twitter or do you have a blog?” My answer was no, yet I called myself a writer. A writer needs readers. Readers need to know how to access your work. Today you can pretend like you’ll never enter the evil halls of the worldwide web but it’s damn near impossible. I could choose to limit my audience or get over it and test the waters for myself, so I got over it and started this blog on Tumblr.   I didn’t even know the difference between Tumblr and Word Press but because so many of the fellow writers on HelloGiggles used it I followed suit. As you can see, I’m not what Malcom Gladwell described in his book The Tipping Point, a maven, in this case a maven of technology aka someone with loads of knowledge about the subject. I need someone else to research these vastly detailed digital worlds for me.  Thankfully I have a couple of friends and family members who thrive off new technology and are gracious enough to share their knowledge.

So back to Twitter, it was the scariest of all because this long-winded chick, (thumbs to my chest), had only 140 characters to work with. “I used to be scared of the tweets, now I through tips (finger) to the shit, handle it like a boss bitch.” Sing it like Lil Kim’s Big Momma Thang…you got it goin on, whaaa whaaa. Initially I tweeted every once in a blue moon. Then I met a PR guru who said I should plan my tweets and set them up for automatic scheduling so I could flood the earth with my pre-arranged thoughts. I couldn’t do it. I can only tweet in the moment; to me it’s not genuine if I plan in advance. I totally get it if I’m a business, although people tell me I am a business, but I thought I was a writer first…now I’m confused.

The moral of that bit is that I tweet when I feel like it and the other night I felt like tweeting about Web Therapy an improv-driven show starring Lisa Kudrow. That shit was HA-sterical. Not only did I laugh at the nuanced improv but I really admired the efficient story building by Kudrow and cast. I’m a non-fiction writer so part of my being in school is working on just that, building a story. This semester I’m taking my very first fiction workshop and it has helped immensely but now every time I watch TV I study how dialogue strings along the story, how it delivers clues to viewer of what to expect, etc. All of this excitement was combusting in my brain so I decided to tweet about it. Here’s what I said, the bold word was deleted: Web Therapy is effing hilarious! Loving how Fiona (Kudrow) & Dad’s (Crystal’s) banter build a backstory like a time lapse pic of a building goin up

I went into the red zone with ‘effing’ so I deleted it and voila, it reads better. What I’m finding with all of my writing is, less is more and Twitter helps with that. I heard this quote from my Mom first, but she got it from the late great Coco Chanel, “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off. ” is a perfect rule for writing, that first draft is never perfect. Following that golden rule, I just deleted my original first paragraph; I promise you won’t miss it.

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