So, You Want To Be A Writer: Tips, Tricks & Ideas Vol #1

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.

I’m a self-published writer, and while I’ve managed to publish more than a few articles for varying magazines and newspapers, I only have an English degree, not a writing one.

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.

Every.

Single.

Writing.

Job.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. On my Facebook page, I divided up everyone into two categories: Friends and Acquaintances, so that way my information was controlled even further.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

15 thoughts on “So, You Want To Be A Writer: Tips, Tricks & Ideas Vol #1

  1. Brendan Birth says:

    Yep, social media can be a struggle. At times I have considered completely cutting off of Facebook, and one of the only things that kept me was the blogging. However people in the U.S. also seem to ask for social media presence (I know this because of my mom, who is also a writer).

    Liked by 1 person

    • thingscarlaloves says:

      SAME HERE!!!! Just ask Ariel — hopefully she’ll see this comment – she’s pleaded with me more than once to not delete my social media sites because I’ve built up so much, and she knows how much writing means to me. It’s hard, but I keep reminding myself it’s just a tool, with the exception of my personal Facebook.

      Oh my gosh, that must be exciting for you, having your mum as a writer as well in the family!! It would be so good for you both! (Though, at times, challenging, I’m sure?) It doesn’t overly surprise me – it was a requirement of a local newspaper in a small country town, so I can imagine it being a thing everywhere now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brendan Birth says:

        It is hard. Really, really hard. But as you said, it’s a tool for advertising ourselves and our writing. As hard as it is, Ariel was wise in keeping you from deleting your social media sites. You have built up tons on your social media sites, from what I see.

        It is exciting! It’s good for both of us, as we sometimes look at each other’s writing (mostly my mom looking at my writing). Occasionally we discuss a little bit over style and whatnot, though usually my mom is right because she’s more experienced than I am.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thingscarlaloves says:

        Ariel is extremely wise!! It’s taken so much time and effort – and help from other people – and a lot of times of me going “FUCK THIS FUCKING SHIT”, but both you and her were/are right.

        I think that would be good though!! I like sending my writing to Ariel, who used to be an editor, and getting advice, tips and feedback. It just makes me feel like I’m a much better writer, you know? Or becoming one. It would be nice having someone you were really close with who was also as passionate as you!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brendan Birth says:

        She is wise, and is also right. 🙂

        It’s hard but totally worth it, as you said. Having someone else look at your writing and giving feedback (both positive feedback and constructive critique) is extremely helpful, so having someone like Ariel (in your case) or my mom (in my case) helps a ton, especially when they share your passions.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Laura Beth says:

    Fantastic advice. I need to overhaul my Facebook. I just recently deleted the app from my phone. I realized how unproductive I was getting, especially during my full-time job! I do have Messenger on my phone still, but I don’t have any notifications turned off. I only allow myself to check in for 15 minutes during my lunch break. At home, it’s a different story. Forcing myself to have it on my iPad will likely help me in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

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