Twitter can make you a better writer. Even a great one.
Surprised? You may never have thought of Twitter as an asset, what with its constant notifications, addictive distractions, and mind-sucking utter live-in-the-momentness. I agree with all of these assessments. They are unequivocally true. I know because I’ve been there. Twitter is all of these things to me. Every. Single. One.
However, Twitter is also more. My purpose here is to prompt you to consider Twitter in a different light. Twitter, I believe you will see, can be a rich, ongoing source of writing gold. In fact, I believe there are 7 specific ways Twitter can make you a better writer.
7 Ways Twitter Can Make You a Better Writer
- Twitter connects you to a universe of characterization. When you log onto Twitter, you log into a universe of culture, personality and character. These vast and ever-changing traits can prove useful in developing unique fictional characters. Authors of old had to eavesdrop at the local bar or cafe. You can eavesdrop on the world.
- Twitter connects you to the pulse of the world. Twitter provides you with access to what the world is thinking about right now. The trending topics can keep you in the cultural loop of important ideas, events and movements. Studying these trends (the what and why of them) can help shape your stories in several ways, including informing you on how the world feels about the topics in your story.
- Twitter connects you to a treasure trove of instant writing support: Bestselling authors and aspiring writers of all kinds share inspiration, motivation, accountability and articles on writing-related topics. If you haven’t already, check out the hashtag #amwriting.
- Twitter jumpstarts your creativity: No matter how you use Twitter, creativity engages readers and supports the promotion of your ideas. Particularly if you play hashtag games, Twitter can be an ongoing source of fun, friendship and creative brain training. Hashtag games occur daily (all throughout the day). Find them by checking out the trending topics or scrolling through the “Discover” or “Trends” section on Twitter. Anytime you see something like #TomatoAMovie, #5WordsToDriveYourSpouseBonkers or #YouProbablyShouldn’t, you have found a hashtag game. Click on the link and open yourself up to a world of ideas and creativity as Twitter users around the world post creative responses to the hashtag. By playing along, you develop your creative “muscle”.
- Twitter promotes conciseness: All Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters. That’s not a lot of writing real estate. Twitter forces you to snip and trim your ideas down to the bare essentials necessary to deliver your message. Conciseness is the hallmark of powerful writing.
- Twitter promotes clarity: Great writing is not only concise but also clear. In some ways, these two elements conflict and contradict, often arriving at cross-purposes. To be clear often involves more words. To be concise requires less words. Twitter offers the chance to practice both elements of great writing.
- Twitter promotes humor: Particularly in the hashtag game community (yes, it is a community!), you will meet lots of comedians and other funny people. By reading the funny tweets posted in hashtag games, you can become aware of patterns that underlie comedy, the structure of good jokes. These patterns can be reproduced in your writing, as needed. Humor can be a wonderful respite for readers of any genre and perhaps especially in thrillers and horror fiction where intense fear and suspense can easily overwhelm.
If approached with care, Twitter can help you practice essential writing disciplines (clarity, conciseness, humor, creativity) while having fun in a community of like-minded word-slingers.