Whether you’re blogging, Facebooking, Instragramming, Tweeting, or (heaven help us) Snapchatting, social media is a primary part of our current cultural experience as well as a great way to make connections, promote your work, and blow off a little steam when things aren’t quite going your way. While I don’t take part in every single one of the social networks that seem to be breeding like rabbits these days, I am a pretty big fan of Twitter, and would like to share with you my top ten favorite hashtags (if you don’t know what a hashtag is, go ask your kids) for writers and other publishing folks.
While often grammatically awkward when integrated into a sentence, the #AmWriting and #AmEditing tags are two of the most popular for our kind. #Writing and #Editing are used frequently, too, but for some reason, people like the declarative form. I don’t blame them. “I am writing” is a powerful statement (even if you say it while you’re tweeting instead), and it often comes with a surge of motivation, joy, and squishy creative juices that encourage you to close your browser and get back to work on that first draft.
#AmEditing is a bit different, and is often a little sadder. Editing is rarely any fun. I’m doing it right now on Dark the Night Descending, and let me tell you: it’s tough going, man. Editing is about facing your mistakes, reconciling changes, discovering stupid little typos, and generally trying to hammer a huge, unwieldy, resistant mess into something vaguely resembling a decent novel. #AmEditing people can be nervous, weary, and despondent, so give them a little bit of love and encouragement to help them through the doldrums.
This hashtag is split between the desperate, persistent, deeply irritating self-promoters and the people who will give you some of the best advice you could ever ask for. If you can ignore the all-caps “$1.99 TODAY ONLY!!!!” screaming, you can link up with self-pubbers who have a great deal of experience and know-how in a world being shaped as we speak.
I know, I know, this is an Instagram thing, but since people so often cross-post onto Twitter, I’m including it here. Do you know what it means? It means you’re not writing. It means you’re taking an artfully composed (and yeah, probably filtered) picture of your cat lying over your keyboard, or the beautiful blue sky outside, or the frosty beverage that’s sitting next to your elbow as you stare into the hypnotizing depths of your cellphone. I won’t say this is a bad thing. Everyone’s entitled to a break, and you should do your work in your own time. But eventually you should probably close up the app and get back to it, right?
…and then you can use this one. Whether you’re laying down the plot, revising your story, or reading something you’ve summoned up the courage to look at after leaving it in a drawer for a while, we’ve all had this moment of feeling stuck, stupid, helpless, and horrified. I don’t think I need to say more.
#Coffee / #Starbucks / #DDRun
You’ve stopped writing again, haven’t you. Yeah. I know how it is. Go get your coffee. You’re going to need it.
This is a good one…if you like inspirational quotes from established authors or links to click-bait blog posts claiming to have all the secrets for diligence and studious application to your work. Sometimes there really are a few good nuggets in here, though, so sift through the chaff and find what attracts you.
Personally, I find #PitMad to be a totally unproductive zoo of spam, but there are enough stories out there about Twitter-based book deals to make it worthwhile, I suppose. #PitMad is a pitch festival for agents who cruise the hashtag for 140 character tidbits that may catch their eye. It’s incredibly popular, which makes it incredibly difficult to be noticed, but miracles do happen. You can learn more about it here.
Either another #PitMad passed by with no results, or your story just took a nosedive. Maybe you can’t find any time for writing this week, or this month, or this year. Life gets in the way, things go wrong, distractions overcome us, and Starbucks runs out of caramel chai vanilla mint double twist sugar free syrup. Bad things happen, and what’s the point of social media if not to complain? Just make sure your grandma doesn’t find out what this one means, or you’ll be in for a scolding.
Something worked! You figured out the reason for that secondary character to jump into focus, or your plot suddenly appeared again after wandering into oblivion. You finished an important scene – maybe it wasn’t even a very important scene, but you finished it, damn it, and you’re going to let the whole world know. Good for you! This is what makes it all worthwhile, and you should feel free to #humblebrag your way into the next chapter…as long as you don’t mind losing a follower or twenty after you do.