Deb Dana Has No Friends

Okay, so maybe that title is a little misleading. I have friends (Hi, Amber! Hey, Mandi!). Just not writing friends. Other than these lovely Debs, whom I’ve only met virtually, and my sister-in-law, UK author Sophie McKenzie, I don’t know many writers.

So what’s wrong with me? Am I shy? Socially awkward? Do I smell?

I can say with near certainty that the answer to all of those questions is “no.” But when it comes to writing, my typically chatty and gregarious nature flies out the window, and I become a bit of an introvert. I wish I were one of those unpublished authors who take writers’ conferences by storm, rubbing elbows with agents and editors and other promising writers. But I’m not. Perhaps due to my fierce independent streak, combined with my initial insecurities over whether or not I’d ever publish anything, I have, thus far, chosen to sit on the sidelines and interact with the writing world from afar.

That’s where Twitter comes in. When I first signed up for Twitter three years ago, I wasn’t a believer. “What am I supposed to do on here? Talk about what I ate for lunch? WHO CARES?”

But now I see Twitter is so much more than that. A writer’s life can be a lonely one, working all day in front of a computer without any office banter or coworker gossip. The lifestyle can be a little isolating — especially if you’re me and don’t have a critique group or writer buddies.

With Twitter, I have my virtual water cooler. When Jennifer Weiner posts a link to an interesting NPR column, I can click on it and tweet about it with her and other writers. I’m part of a conversation — even if it’s only a virtual one.

Is it the same as chatting with writers in the flesh? No. And I still love visiting my in-laws in the UK so that my sister-in-law and I have time for one-on-one writer talk. But through Twitter, I’ve connected with dozens of writers, and even if they aren’t my real-life friends yet, I hope many of them will be some day.

What about you? Do you use Twitter? Have you been able to connect with people of similar interests on there? (And will you be my friend?)

*In case you’re wondering about the photo, I typed “alone” into a search engine on a free stock photo site, and this is one of the photos that came up. “I am alone, like a stuffed polar bear staring at a terra cotta roof.” Perfect.

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16 thoughts on “Deb Dana Has No Friends

  1. I’ve connected with writers on Twitter and I think it’s a great way to find people in your own area and then MEET THEM! That’s what I did. I have also connected with authors on writers’ forums and in FB groups, blogs, etc. I have met every writer friend online! There are a lot of writers in your area — no reason for you to be alone!!! Although I must admit the bear is pretty cute!

  2. I was dragged, kicking and screaming, to Twitter by one of my CPs. I thought it would be just another time sink. But you know what? I love it! It’s there when I need a break, when I need to connect with somebody who doesn’t exist in my own head. And if I’m busy, I can ignore it without hurting its feelings. There’s a lot to be said for that, especially when I’m up against a deadline.

    • Exactly!!! I can make Twitter accommodate my schedule, instead of being bugged by colleagues when they’re bored and I’m trying to do something important. I can dip in and out as I like.

  3. I adore the polar bear pic. He needs a hug. A writer friend said to me a couple of years back, “Join us on Twitter, dear. It will only take a few minutes of your time!” Ha! I am now addicted to the Twitter and it takes a ton of my time, BUT! Twitter is where I met my agent, and the people who connected me to Book Country which is where my editor found me. Also where I discovered the Ball and found my awesome Deb Sistahs! And, I have met tons of my online friends in person, roomed with them at conferences, found crit partners, etc.

    • The bear definitely needs a hug. Possibly five.

      And I discovered the Ball on Twitter, too! Now I just need to meet some of these people (including you ladies) in person!

  4. Oh, hey, Danes!

    The Polar Bear photo is pretty amazing. And I have zero doubt that you will become in-the-flesh BFFs with all of your new writer buddies in no time. You are a hard person to resist becoming besties with. Just don’t forget your old friends when you’re voted prom queen of the writers’ ball or whatever.

    Meanwhile, I am terrible at Twitter but attempting to improve.

    • I could never forget my old friends! Who else would understand what I mean when I say, “But buck game rucking home”?

      And you are not terrible at Twitter! You have way more friends than I do on there!

  5. I LOVE Twitter for this purpose – even if it does leave me explaining to skeptical family members and non-writing friends why it’s an amazing resource and not just talking about “I bought soap!” I actually met my writing group through Twitter – we hooked up online a few months before the 2011 Historical Novel Society conference and then met in person at the conference. Shortly after that, Heather Webb (our fearless leader) put together the amazing SFWG. I’ve also met a lot of other writer friends, and keep in touch with them, via Twitter.

    I LOVE the polar bear, by the way. It’s simultaneously hilariously melodramatic (I HAVE NO FRIENDS…ALONE IN MY TERRA-COTTA PALACE) and very zen (Friends? I am the lone bear…meditating on my situation). Fantastic image, perfect for the post!

    By the way – your Deb sisters are your friends, real life as well as virtual, even though we’ve never met (yet!)!

    • Hooray for my Deb sisters! Seriously – being part of the Deb Ball has made me feel like more of a writing “community,” and I couldn’t be happier!

  6. Love it when you come to the UK and we talk too writing too! And also love Twitter for many of the same reasons you give. Its funny, i was discussing just the other day how many people spend more time trying to work out how to be authors (going to conferences, attending workshops and seminars as you describe in an attempt to meet other writers, agents etc) than actually writing! Which is not you, who got on and did it all with grit and determination (on top of talent and style!) i didn’t know other writers until I was published and now I know lots, and I’m sure the same thing will happen to you! Can’t wait to see you in December x

  7. Hello, friend! I believe the internet was specially made for writers. I love Twitter for connecting with others in very casual ways. And yes, I do the odd shameless self-promo, but I hope I find the right balance with being incredibly charming.
    😉

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