5 Ways Social Networks Will Make You A Better Writer
#5. Reach Your Audience
There are those out there that will try to argue this point, but let’s get real. Where is a writer without his audience? If there’s not at least one person reading your work, you’re keeping a very weird diary. So that’s where the audience comes in. Through the strategic use of social media networks, you can turn a single audience member into a growing multitude. Each time you talk about your work, share something or provide special insight, you’re reaching out to your audience and inviting them to see you from a closer perspective. Because you’re reaching a wider audience, you’ll strive to do better work, which forces you to improve your craft rather than become stagnant or content with a certain level of success. Additionally, your audience is so much larger than just the people watching you. Your audience includes people watching anyone who takes it upon themselves to share your work. It’s a sort of pyramid scheme, only no one’s asking anyone to mail envelopes containing a dollar to ten contacts.
#4. Honest Critique
Yes, we know your mom loves everything you write. But she also liked the picture you drew of her when you were three – you know, the one where she had green hair and a suspicious lump on her back – so her judgment when it comes to the things you create may be just a bit biased. That’s where your social network comes in. The great thing about social networks is everyone on the Internet is opinionated and they’re not afraid to bang their keyboards into oblivion to tell you exactly what they think about the latest thing you wrote. This is a good thing if your work is fantastic all the time. It’s also a good thing if your work isn’t always fantastic. Sometimes, a writer just needs his delusions smashed so he can return to the blank page and make it better the next time around. Honest critique makes sure you’re always improving.
When you dive into social networks, you quickly find yourself surrounded by like-minded people with hobbies, jobs and personalities very similar to yours. As your network grows, you’ll discover work from other writers that blows your mind. Not only that, it will make you take a look at your work and realize maybe you aren’t doing everything with your concepts or ideas that you could be doing. Not only will the fantastic work you see be inspiring, but the success and morale of fellow writers will keep you inspired as well. Inspiration is an important part of a writer’s job and it’s not always easy to come by. Build your network up with people that inspire you, and hoard the inspiration you get for a rainy day.
You might be married to the idea of the lonely writer, slaving away over a typewriter (really, a typewriter?) while drinking gratuitous amounts of alcohol and just being alone and miserable. It’s just not that way if you dive into the world of social networking. Don’t misquote me – writing comes down to you, and only you, in the end, but it doesn’t have to be the lonely endeavor so many writers I know seem to think it is. You don’t have to be a lonely, miserable, chain-smoking alcoholic hunched over a keyboard in a dark room to be a writer. Social networks are full of communities that help you with your writing process, critique your work, connect you with like-minded writers and so much more. You really get a sense of community if you’ve built your networks strategically and sensibly. Which of course, leads to the final point.
So, you have your network and you’ve connected with your audience, gotten so many opinions on your work you just don’t know what to do, found so much inspiration and dived into a community setting with other writers. What’s left to do? Look for opportunities. That’s right. Take a look around at your own network and start asking around in your little community that’s formed around your network. You’ll find tons of people that have stumbled on opportunities through social networks that completely changed their careers. I’m not saying you’re going to become a best seller with a well-placed tweet, but you can find career opportunities, publishers, agents, editors and other writers. Each contact you make with someone in your network could lead you to placing a story in a publication or something bigger like giving you the in to get your manuscript in front of an agent. You can find collaboration partners, editing help, graphic design deals and so much more that could push you to the next level as a writer. All you have to do is be open to it, and know that the opportunities are out there so you recognize them when they fall into your lap.