All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Friday, April 12, 2024

A Good Thing About Social Media

I will admit this, possibly to the surprise of my many former colleagues in the financial sector, but the writer in me misses my days back in economics. During that time, I would do a lot of writing, though a lot of it was actually reporting - discussing economic indicators, legislation, political shenanigans and so forth. I would report on those, analyze their impact, and then draw conclusions from everything I processed. If this is boring you already, you truly understand the broader world of economics.

Since this was reporting, the writing could be dry. Real dry. Like overdone toast in the Sahara dry. It was very business-like, very research-driven, and finding room for a personal voice was difficult. However, the writing was only half of the job. The other half was knowing what I wrote about so well that I could defend it like a doctoral dissertation, which also meant writing what I knew well enough to explain it to people who could throw questions at me from any and every direction - and often did.

Now, did it make a difference just how I wrote about the correlation between the Spanish peseta and the Portuguese escudo during the late 1980s? Not really. What had the biggest impact was being able to sit there, face senior management, and take fire from everything from currency discussions to whether or not that's the proper spelling of escudo. (My guess is few of you know the spelling for sure and even fewer care.) This was a constant test of my mettle, every question a make-or-break challenge. I assure you that all of those questions made me a better economist, sometimes even when I didn't have an answer because it got me thinking more about the subject.

Now here's where this all ties into social media. I have often extolled the benefits of writing workshops,  in part because it provides that same question-and-discussion format that makes things interesting. Well, one thing in particular that social media offers is about a bajillion pages for beginning writers, aspiring writers, creative writers, and all other kinds of writers. These forums have people posting totally random questions about voice, perspective, PoV shifts, how to structure a story, and so on ad infinitum. More importantly, responses come from everywhere. These aren't just dialogues with one board moderator, but with an entire community of writers, some of whom have the exact same questions, and plenty who can offer their own insights and their experiences. The best part? It's all there for you to jump into. If you have an answer, throw it into the thread. If you have a question, post it and let the answers pour in. And, of course, read the comment threads (though at your own risk - comment threads are notoriously volatile) and find things you like.

Now, the writer pages on Facebook might not be as exciting as the peseta:escudo relationship back when those were real currencies, but that's for you to decide. I've been writing for over twenty years, and I still find questions that challenge me. Furthermore, I often answer peoples' questions in a way that make me really think about my form and process before I open my big mouth. It's just like an interrogation by senior management, except there's less money on the table. 

The advice part of this piece: Hop onto social media and just join a few writing groups. I prefer Aspiring Writers United and Fiction Writers, but a simple group search under "writing" or "creativity" should provide a wealth of groups to work with. (And again, be careful with the comment thread. Seriously.)       


  1. Carefully walking on a tightrope past this page... being wary of comments.

    1. Indeed - the comment zone is a "enter at your own risk" place