On writing in community: Twitter

I have mentioned before that I found a great writing community in Goodreads, readers of romance novels who wanted to write as well. I have found an even more interesting and compelling sense of community, but on Twitter.

I have found that twitter hashtags are a great means of building community as a writer. The hosts I have found are ingenious at coming up with writing prompts that spur my creative energies.

For example, one hostess developed the concept of a “writers mile,” pushing us all to write or edit 5820 words in a specific span of time. This was useful to me because I had some personal deadlines to meet, and being on target was important.

It is a story, how I have come to develop this concept of personal deadlines. For years, I have had a sense of how much time I need to write a manuscript. But I tended to write and then worry later about finding other people to read and comment.

Now, with this type of freelance writing, I have tended to look for professional developmental editors, copy editors, and proofreaders. But these folks are in high demand. If I want to work with them, I have to put myself on a deadline and make sure I have a sense of their availability. Otherwise, I might have to wait weeks or months for them to slot me in. If they can’t fit me in, I have to look for other people.

What that means is that I have to think way ahead, but not for writing 50,000 words in a month like NaNoWriMo. Instead, I have something more manageable in mind, 4-5 months to write those same 50,000 words. My usual goal is to write for a few hours per day.

That is where the hashtag games come in, especially where the word counts keep me accountable, as it did for the #writersmile. I beat the word count goal, but it helped me remember that I was on the clock, and not only for writing, but for editing as well.

By the time I was editing the first draft, it was around the third week of April, and things were getting busy before the end of the month. I finished, though, two days after my best deadline, but before the last day of the month.

So what am I up to now? I drafted two essays for my chapter newsletter, one on strong heroines, the others on my musings on the writing craft. The latter discusses my latest work in progress, the Wedding Bet: Lauren, a sweet romance with strong elements of the inspirational.

This was a new challenge. I pushed myself to write about the heroine’s romantic journey as well as the journey in faith she experienced with Don, her partner. They had both been secondary characters in Starting Over: Rick, serving as members of the wedding party.

I look forward to updating you on my progress.

Copyright Barbara James, all rights reserved.