Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Twittering Writer

 This post was first published on, 15 June 2013.

When I tell people that I edit a blog for which other people write and that does fairly well in terms of hits-per-day, I usually get a look that says, "Oh, so you're not one of those 'writers' who says she writes, but really just mucks around in her pajamas all day."  But the minute I say that I use Facebook and Twitter I can see them picturing me back in my red, snowflake, flannel pajamas clutching a cup of coffee, surfing the internet for cat videos and calling it "writing".

This is, unfortunately perhaps, untrue on several fronts. First, my snowflake pajamas aren't flannel and I wear pink or blue tracksuit bottoms when I'm working from home. Second, I don't drink coffee. And third, I don't while away time on the internet. That is not to say I don't waste time. I do. I, like all self-respecting writers, am a connoisseur of procrastination techniques. It's just that I prefer ones that make me feel productive. I cook. I do chores - the house is never cleaner than when I'm on a deadline. I catch up on emails - has it really been 6 months since I went through my junk folder? And I read. I read a lot. In the name of research, of course.

Catherine has covered procrastination quite eloquently, however, so I won't dwell on it. So the question that remains is: What am I doing on Twitter and Facebook then?

I'm being a writer. Honest.

Granted, I spend some of my time reading articles about writing and writers, some of dubious research value such as this one from The Onion. But for the most part, the hour a day I spend on social media is spent making and keeping connections, working with writing communities and, of course, some shameless self-promotion. Writers, if you don't do it, no one else will.

That said, I offer some guidelines for how to shamelessly self-promote without driving your social media 'friends' crazy.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Plucking and Dyeing: The Grey Haired Dilemma

I had every intention today of writing about my busy spring spent finishing my teaching qualification (PGCLTHE - that will be an unbelievably satisfying number of letters to follow my name), teaching first year undergraduates, designing and running a blogging/social media class and plugging away at the novel. The taller half and I have just come back from a lovely holiday so I have some travel ideas I want to bash out as well. All in all, I had plenty of proper things to write about five minutes ago. Then I ran my hand through my hair and ended up with two hairs entwined in my fingers. One my natural, very dark brown and one snow white.

Yes, I am going grey.

Well, white, to be fair. And in full disclosure, this is not news. Alex found my first grey hair in Mr. O's Latin class when we were fourteen. Fourteen. I was slightly less thrilled than he was. Alex was already fairly salt and pepper by then. As a slightly chubby, gay, greying, cello-playing, theater buff, Alex might have needed the company. Not that I saw it that way at the time. But we were friends and when you get your first grey hair before your first real kiss there's a lot you're willing to forgive.