I’m not going to lie to you and pretend I’m a great writer, and that everything I will be putting up will be gospel truth.
There are definitely better places to go to receive writing tips and tricks, but I wanted to start with some basic, easy things that I didn’t realise when I wanted to start launching my writing career.
Tip #1: Consider Having A Serious Social Media Presence
I’m not going to lie: Every writing job I’ve applied for has asked for records and indications of my social media presence.
It makes sense – most of what we read these days is digital-based, so the only thing that matters more than being able to write well is to successfully engage an audience.
While it’s definitely possible to engage an audience successfully without a huge media presence – my friend B over at Getting Through Anxiety has definitely proved that – but it’s not easy.
I tried, for a few years – even while I was teaching – and I’ve had more than one article published under a nom de plume.
But having published articles doesn’t always illustrate your ability to engage a wide audience.
Now, for some of you, this won’t be an easy sacrifice, and for others it won’t be a problem.
Social media is the only thing I hate about writing, if I’m being honest.
I dislike social media so much – and I found trying to have a social media presence and writing was too demanding, because of just how much I dislike social media, which is part of why I closed down my previous blog a while ago, before restarting with this one.
Obviously, if you like social media (or at least don’t hate it), this probably won’t be as of a big problem for you – though I’d still suggest that you decide what information you want released out publicly. People can be creeps.
If you’re a bit more like me, and this is something you might struggle with (or already are), this is what I’ve done:
- I made my personal Facebook page incredibly private. I removed a large amount of people, so that I only included people that I actually spoke to on at least a semi-regular basis. I decided on keeping Facebook because I have a few overseas friends and my best friend, Jasmine, has lived in London for the past few years, and the easiest way to contact each other is via a Facebook call.
- On my Facebook page, I divided up everyone into two categories: Friends and Acquaintances, so that way my information was controlled even further.
- A while ago, I made my Instagram page for writing shit only. I realised I don’t really use Instagram very much, but it’s an excellent and valuable tool for connecting with other writers. I don’t have anything I’d consider a personal Instagram page anymore.
- I created a Twitter account, back in 2015, but I still don’t know how to use it. Rae, from Bookmark Chronicles, has taught me a few things and I recently learnt how to create a thread (thanks Rae!), but if you tweet at me I need to know what you’re referencing. I’ve tried with Twitter, and I do check out notifications every now and then, but I’m a dud at it. I’m pretty sure I’ve liked my own tweets more than once.
- Despite this, Twitter is really good with helping you to keep up-to-date with a bunch of things, and I find the trending Tweets sometimes helpful in regards to ideas for things to write about. Here’s looking at you, Gillette Ad.
- Don’t base anything you do (writing wise) about what social media attention you do or don’t get. Try and see them as tools to help promote your work and to help you connect with other writers, and nothing more. Otherwise, it can drag you down with how time-consuming it can be.
- Social media IS time-consuming. Work out how much time you want to allocate to social media, and when/where possible, pre-schedule and automate things. For example, all of my WordPress posts are pre-scheduled. Every day, I spend time writing – whether it’s on my next novel or on writing pieces for here or other websites – and then, I upload everything. I set aside specific times to check my accounts to respond to comments and interact with my Facebook and Instagram pages. I deliberately don’t check all of my social media accounts in a day.
- On top of this, the only social media app I have on my phone is Instagram, so that way I can’t ever check – or even be alerted to – anything that is happening outside those specific times. I personally find this one of the best things I’ve done, as I no longer feel guilty about not responding immediately to people, because I don’t even know they’ve tried contacting me.
- I set my phone to “Do Not Disturb” during certain hours, so that I can sit and work, and absolutely cannot be distracted. With writing, it’s so easy to get distracted, and making sure I’m set and focused helps me concentrate on what I want to do, instead of getting bogged down on the social media aspects I feel like I “have” to do.
For you, I’d work out what you’re willing to sacrifice on, and what you’re less willing to sacrifice on. I’d definitely consider keeping certain things private, and having a clear line of what you want presented.
Like I said earlier, you don’t need to have a strong social media presence, but it can make things more challenging when pursing a writing career (at least it has for the jobs I’ve applied for in Australia). If you want to be a writer, some publishers also request this information, so please do consider it.
That’s my first tip – consider having a social media presence, and consider what that will mean for you/what you’re comfortable with sharing, and then start thinking about what you want to write about.