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 I wish I were one of those unpublished authors who take writers’ conferences by storm, rubbing elbows with agents and editors and other promising writers.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.