The best free writer’s “conference” ever

19 May

About a year ago, I found a place where writers, agents and editors gather regularly to discuss writing, offer thoughts on revisions, and generally just shoot the breeze (am I dating myself again?). A place where newer writers rub elbows with established authors, and weekly chat sessions are set up to help participants improve their art.

It’s free, and you don’t have to even leave the comfort of your living room/office/kids’ playroom to attend.

It’s Twitter.

I’m sure the majority of those reading this blog already recognize the benefits of this particular social media outlet. I myself was skeptical until fellow Chick Peggy sat down with the rest of us and demonstrated the basics on setting up an account and using hashtags, etc. I mean, really? The number sign is that big of a deal?

Yes, it is.

Consider this as an example – #yalitchat is a chat that is held each Wednesday night at 9 p.m. EST for writers of young adult novels. Conversation is usually started around a specific topic, such as using voice in writing. During once such chat last year, I mentioned that I was searching for a critique group and someone responded that a great group meets in south Orlando (actually just five minutes from my house). So I joined the OWLS and have been thrilled with that decision. I also met a local author, found new critique partners and learned (and contributed) a great deal. There are other chat sessions held, including #mglitchat (for writers of middle grade). The # organizes the tweets and helps the topic become more searchable.

I started following several agents and editors to gain insight into the industry. Boy, did I learn a lot about what to do and, most especially, what NOT to do when querying! In fact, some of the most helpful agents and editors share this knowledge frequently through categories such as #askagent, #editreport, #askeditor and #10queriesin10tweets.

Twitter’s also great for laughs (check out @ohmrwonka for condescending Wonka tweets and @Lord_Voldemort7 for, well, I’m sure you can figure that out). Lots of cute pics of kitties shared, too (um, not on Lord Voldemort’s site, I hope).

Not sure where to start or who to follow? Sign up for an account, then click on the “# Discover” at the top menu. Type your interest, such as “writing,” into the search box and there you have it!

If you haven’t taken advantage of all the opportunities Twitter offers, you’re missing out.

For those already established, do you have any favorite hashtag conversations or suggestions? (updated: here’s a great site with hashtag suggestions for authors)

Now go forth and tweet!

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7 Responses to “The best free writer’s “conference” ever”

  1. Genevieve Petrillo May 20, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Good info. Thanks! Also, don’t miss #pblitchat. It’s got lively discussions about all facets of picture book creation.

  2. ticklingthemuse May 20, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Good one! Thanks, Genevieve!

  3. marriagecoach1 May 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks for the tutorial

  4. pursuingthemuse May 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    It’s so cool seeing the ways you have benefitted from Twitter, and now others will too, thanks to you!

    • ticklingthemuse May 20, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

      Well, thanks to you, too!

  5. Julie May 21, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    I could not agree more. Twitter is a goldmine! A recent chat I discovered and like is #storyappchat – all about storybook apps.

    • ticklingthemuse May 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      Oh, good one, Julie! I’ll have to check that one out myself. Thanks for the suggestion!

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