Can Twitter Make You a Better Writer?

In a word, yes. My writing has undergone a significant change since I joined twitter, and I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the men and women out there who take the time to post writing tips and generously give back to the writing community. I love Writer Wednesday. I may not always have a chance to connect with everyone I follow – something I would like to change – but I follow an absolutely amazing group of people, and am grateful to them every day. They have helped me grow.

In the mid 90’s I wrote my first book. It was a whopping 360 pages pounded out on a word processer. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, and poured my heart and soul into my novel, convinced I had written a spectacular book.

I wanted to get it in the hands of agents as soon as possible. By the time the book was finished, I had a computer (it took me almost two years to write). I couldn’t wait to query. I scoured the internet in search of agents accepting mysteries or romantic suspense. Once compiled my list, I dashed off my query letter, and started e-mailing.

In retrospect, I guess my query wasn’t all that horrible – although I did manage to pack in every single no- no that I’ve come to learn SHOULD NOT be in a query. Still, I did get requests for chapters. Only one agent responded with a personalized note. She said she loved the concept, but the writing wasn’t all that good.

I was stunned. My writing, not all that good? But, I’m a writer! How could it not be good? I raced to my novel, pouring over the pages, wondering where I’d gone wrong.

Um…where do I start?

In my defense, I wrote my book during a difficult time in my life. My parents had both just come home from the hospital and needed care. So did both my grandmothers. And then there were everyone’s pets. Balancing all that along with a full time job was pretty rough. I burned the midnight oil to write while in a state of pure exhaustion.

It showed.

 The book was unreadable. Even I couldn’t get through it.

I did everything wrong. My first sentence described my main character being awakened from a sound sleep. Predictably, someone was dead.

I can see you all nodding along with me. Yes, that was mistake number one. It went downhill from there. My MS was loaded with adverbs and adjectives, hey, the more the better right? I was painting a picture after all.

Don’t even get me started on descriptions. I had pages, and pages of them, enough to blur anyone’s eyes and send them into a snooze. I’m yawning at the memory.

Detail? Forget about it. If my character was making a phone call, I thought I had to describe every single action, picking up the receiver, punching in the number, uncoiling the phone cord, walking away from the phone. You get the idea.

My book should have been titled Every Step She Takes.

So how did Twitter make me a better writer?

Check back for my next post. It’s amazing what you can learn in 140 characters.

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About Lori Gordon

Lori Gordon has created stories since childhood and has the notebooks to prove it! In recent years she’s written paranormal, science fiction, a family novella, and thrillers. She has had short stories published in a variety of anthologies. When fate dealt her an unexpected twist and Lori found herself among the millions of unemployed, she decided it was now or never and wrote her debut thriller State of Panic. She is currently working at work on her second novel featuring Detective Andi Lawson, which will be released in early 2012. She enjoys writing unique, multi layered characters, and loves to both read and write character driven stories. Lori has taken turns in sales, as a marketing executive and entrepreneur and is now focusing on her writing. She lives in Chicago and in her spare time loves to garden and spend time with her pets.
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15 Responses to Can Twitter Make You a Better Writer?

  1. Loved reading this; love your perspective. Thanks!

  2. Mark Souza says:

    Great blog. Your writing is crisp, you’ve built suspense, and like a great serial, you have me waiting for the next installment. I gots to know the answer. Fabulous work.

  3. Hahaha! I cracked up. Oh my word, I think you just described my own journey. It’s humbling to learn just how awesome you are not. I look back at my early works and cringe, and still I wonder if I’m the best judge for the quality of my work even now. But thank goodness for progress. And I agree–I’ve learned a lot since joining Twitter and have connected with a lot of people. I wonder how writers did it before the Internet.

    • Lori Gordon says:

      I know exactly what you mean. It’s so hard to judge your own writing….especially when I think of that first book I wrote. God, it was a mess, lol. I’m glad to see I’m not alone in this crazy writing journey. My twitter friends, and all the great tips out there have helped me a lot. But now, I’m a lot harder on myself. The good news is I can actually read my own work now without my eyes glazing over!

  4. e6n1 says:

    Yep I agree with this post because of all the authors, writers and agents tweeting and retweeting writing-related links and articles.

  5. lpobryan says:

    Honest and refreshing, so true too. Waiting for your next post! Here’s a cliche to think about: evil characters!

  6. Enjoyed your post. I think those that write must start out with a enough hope (and dare I say–ego?) to sustain them through the learning process. We have to have faith enough in ourselves to persist past the mistakes, past the rejections, until we emerge on the other side–with good writing (which means knowing the rules before we break them purposely) and a common sense attitude toward revisions and unkind reviews. (If those reviewers could write a novel, they’d be doing it instead of criticizing others.)

    • Lori Gordon says:

      Thank you, Kathryn, that was so well put! Another thing we need to keep in mind is how subjective writing is. We can get praised and panned for the same work, based on a readers taste, so I agree wholeheartedly with your common sense attitude.

  7. Ursula says:

    I so agree. Twitter also shows me how to really write only the most important words. It’s amazing how much I can cross out eacht time I tweet. Often the text becomes better.

  8. ezzylanguzzi says:

    Loved this post! This is hysterical>> “My book should have been titled Every Step She Takes.” And yes, I completely relate. Twitter’s been one enormous education for me. I’ve met some truly wonderful people and learned more about issues that are important to me. I’m so glad our cyber-molecules clashed in Twitterlandia. ; D

    • Lori Gordon says:

      Thx! I’m glad our cyber-molecules clashed too. It’s amazing how many great friends you can make in 140 characters or less! And how much you can learn on twitter 🙂

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