How Twitter changed my life
A decade ago I was in a Scottish Highland cottage writing my first novel. I didn’t get out much. My internet connection was a dial-up modem that sounded like a wheezy Dr Who creation. Submitting work was hard copy and a stamp, every time.
Today, it’s different. I write on a laptop with instant connectivity, and think twice about sending work to anyone who demands it in hard copy. (Not poetry, though. Poetry still seems to need a soft pencil and an old-fashioned piece of paper. It belongs to the old times. But I think I have a split brain on the poetry/prose divide.)
And now Twitter. Moving back south, I looked for the best way to learn quickly about the publishing industry. Only one of my friends used it: a slick journo with an iphone (@lambertvictoria). She persuaded. I tried. My life changed.
Not all at once. I did the usual Twitter virgin thing: nosing around celebrities’ accounts, following some, running away from others. It was like paddling in a vast river, and the deeper I went in, the more I heard going on.
Before Twitter, literary agents and publishers were mythical beasts who lunched hard and wore flamboyant glasses. Now I discover that they are in turns funny, profound, well-dressed, sweary and enthusiastic about writing. Not one of them is boring. Of course, that is the rather wonderful logic of Twitter: I can create a world populated by people I choose. Boring? I give them a few tweets but then I’m off. I don’t have to explain.
I admit I joined Twitter with a cynic’s aim of learning about the publishing business for research. What a fool. I have immersed myself in more online wit than I thought possible: it is like being electroplated with jokes. Most of the people who make me laugh are not professional comedians. They are generous tweeters, who notice when I reply, and sometimes smile back.
As a writer, Twitter has taught me brevity. OK, clearly it’s failed, because this blog is for everything I can’t fit there, but you know what I mean. It has taught me the value of intelligent comment in a general grumble. Like a favourite newspaper, a Twitter feed can be tweaked until it basically resembles your own prejudices, and seeing them confirmed every day is a smugly virtuous circle. I meet poets, novelists, musicians, lost friends, sleepless mothers and the odd nutter. It’s a different world. I love it.Follow @isabelwriter
I’m the nutter I hope! Your first blog comment. I LOVE IT! Truly, you’ve made twitter profound and that’s no mean feat. I salute you Isabel Writer and it’s been a pleasure to connect via Twitter. Good luck with the blog. It looks (and reads) beautifully already.
You need to get out more if you think you’re the nutter! Now thinking of prize worthy of my first comment …
Welcome to the blogosphere: like the Twittersphere but wordier. Does the second comment get a prize too? *hopeful face*
And a marvellous comment it was. Certainly deserving of a prize. Give me a moment …
This looks lovely – so simple & clear – good luck with this new venture – I’m look forward to reading your postings, & your poetry is incredible! Well done. P.S. I’m the lost friend – I hope:)
Pleased you like it, and yes, you are the long-lost friend!
Great blog and it’s good to have the opportunity to hear more from you.
I love Twitter too, after those cynical first steps 😉
Thanks! Finally got it going. It’s all very exciting, and so far all the buttons here seem to be working how I want them to.
Congratulations on getting your blog up and running so quickly. So professional as I expected. Look foward to more….
PS Wish I could knit words like you!
Thank you! Don’t feel professional about it at all – just pleased some of these page links seem to be working so far. (I wish I could knit like you ..)
Twitter changed my life too! When I started tweeting my blog (and that’s the only reason I started tweeting, frankly) my number of subscriptions doubled in a week! (Granted, that was from 35 to 74…but still.) However, while I can’t say I love it, I can say it’s introduced me to many interesting people (like you!) and given me lots of ideas to think about.
Used to be a cellist? That’s pretty interesting. 🙂
Current WIP trying to wrangle all that orchestral experience into shape!