As a relatively new blogger/self-publisher of novels, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about how to use the millions of social media platforms out there to promote yourself as an author and your books as…well, books. OK, I’m exaggerating when I say “millions” of social media platforms, but doesn’t it feel that way sometimes?
Social media sites have been such a major part of my life (since I started using Facebook in utero…hey, I’m not that old) that I even came up with an idea for a new social media site called ShoutOut where everyone connects to the same chat room, turns on their microphones, and starts shouting out stuff like “boooored,” “we totally support you Kim Kardashian” and “team edward all the way haterzzzzz.” Millions of people just shouting at each other about their innermost thoughts and perspectives on the world *eyes begin to overflow with tears* …someday.
But until I make a billion dollars from selling ShoutOut to Facebook so they can add even more ways to make insecure teenagers feel small, I will have to do what I can to improve my skills, because that’s what really matters. When I say “improve my skills” I mean writing, of course. That’s what I do. I’m a writer. Did you hear that? Let me shout it into my micro…wait, I haven’t invented ShoutOut yet….damn it.
Until I become a super rich social media player, here are some methods I’m going to use to improve my writing so that I can write books that are more good:
- I’m going to write like I speak. This is some advice I used to ignore back when I thought I could be the next Cormac McCarthy and get away with writing prose that sounded like this: “He ate the bacon and then the eggs and used the bread to wipe up the egg yolk from the plate, and with his eyes fixed on the napkin holder and his mouth chewing without remorse like some eternal machine rendered silent by the eternity of all the breakfasts he had eaten and would ever eat again…” Yes, I wrote this. I am a genius. I also sound like an autistic redneck.
- I’m going to lay off the adverbs. “What did you say?” he asked questioningly. “I think he said he was going to lay off the adverbs,” he responded authoritatively. “Oh,” he muttered dispiritedly. “But I like adverbs,” he added hopefully. “Well…you’re an idiot,” he said conclusively.
- I’m going to practice every day. Some writers write only when they’re inspired, or in the 10-15 minutes between American Idol and their next tweet regarding…American Idol. That’s not practice. Writing is like playing the piano, you have to get drunk at cocktail parties and show it off to people who can’t do it themselves. When I started writing, I used to walk twenty miles in the snow to get to my creative writing class even though I couldn’t afford boots because I had to spend my lunch money on whiskey and Moleskine notebooks, and the whole time I was walking I would write in those Moleskine notebooks until my fingers bled from the cold. You think I ate food? You think I slept? You think I tweeted? No. I wrote, and occasionally ducked overhanging branches.
- I’m going to read books OTHER PEOPLE WROTE. Yes, even the bad ones. I’m going to read the crap out of Twilight tonight!
I feel like I’m forgetting something. Oh yeah, I have to go invent ShoutOut now. Take care, and remember the moral of this post: you can be a social media wizard, but if you don’t have the writing skills to…hold on, 110 new tweets just came in….damn it, I have to go.
What about you? Do you write better now that you’ve read this post?
*Photo courtesy of engrish.com