In my last StoryDam post, I discussed Where Facebook Fits in a Writer’s Life, then, as a community, we discussed it via Twitter. The irony was not lost on me, at all. The results of our discussion were not surprising to me either: many of our community members stated that Twitter was where they had most of their writing friends. This is the case for me as well. In fact,all of my current writing life inspirations emanated from my time on Twitter.
First of all, the current creative team behind StoryDam met on Twitter and has yet to meet in real life! Secondly, I found out about a regular writing opportunity and became part of the writing staff for Word of the Nerd on Twitter. Finally, most recently, a fellow Twitter writing buddy turned me on to an awesome writing challenge that we, and now a number of fellow Twitter-writers, are going to tackle starting this week: one short story per week for one year.
If those three things were all that Twitter had given me in my time connected, it would already be worth every minute, but that is just the highlight reel. However, when I first got my twitter account I didn’t know where to begin. I wrote lines of 140 characters or less and wondered, “Who’s reading this?” In my mind I would play Pink Floyd’s IsThere Anybody Out There? over and over again. That was, of course, until I learned the power of the hashtag and, in turn, Twitter chats.
What is the Point of the Hashtag?
If you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you’ve seen the odd frequency of hashtags, “#” in communications. Hashtags are used in tweets like keywords. Here’s how Twitter defines and describes their usage:
Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
Hashtags: Categorizing Tweets by Keyword
- People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
- Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.
- Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
- Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
Then some really smart people got together and started using these awesome hashtags to organize Twitter chats.
A Twitter chat is a conversation that takes place on Twitter about a certain topic, set up at a certain time. It seems no matter what you want to chat about, there’s a group chatting somewhere on Twitter about it, and that includes writing!
Twitter Hashtags and Chats for Writers
The community of writers on Twitter is so diverse. If you are looking for inspiration, promotion, support, or just “writer-ly” conversation, you are bound to find a Twitter match. In my experience, the best place to find writers on Twitter is in using the hashtags and participating in Twitter Chats about writing and books. Here are some of my favorite writing hashtags:
- #StoryDam (Thursdays 9pm EST): That’s right! We have our own community chat each and every Thursday night for one hour. There is a new topic each week, but we are always discussing some aspect of writing life.
- #LitChat (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 4-6pm EST): According to their website “LitChat is a fun, fast, and friendly way for booklovers to talk about books on Twitter.”
- #wordmongering (Every hour, on the hour, lasting a half hour) This is an ongoing Twitter game for writers. According to the rules, “During a session, your job is to write as much as you possibly can. Wordcounts are compared at the end of sessions.” This is a fantastic motivator and I highly recommend it.
- #editmongering (Every hour, on the half hour lasting a half hour) For when you need to edit, the creators of #wordmongering created this hashtag to encourage you to edit as many words as possible and to get support in that process.
- #amwriting (ongoing) This hashtag is one of the first writing hashtags I noticed. It is the shortened form of “I am writing.” Here’s how its mission is described on the #amwriting website, “You’re not expected to stay tuned-in constantly.[…] It is a virtual watercooler for writers, a place where you can take a break and talk to your colleagues about your current writing projects (and theirs) before getting back to work.”
- #52stories (ongoing) This is the hashtag we currently hijacked to discuss our new writing challenge of one story per week for an entire year. No one else seems to be using it, so if you want to join our challenge join in on the #52stories conversation!
More Hashtag and Chat Resources
Since discovering writing hashtags and seeing how many writers are on Twitter, I began a quest to find all of the writing hashtags and Twitter chats. This particular quest seems endless. Here are just two resources I have used to find places to connect in between my own writing:
- Chats: Week At A Glance from The Writer’s Guide to Twitter This website by Debbie Ridpath Ohi is a fantastic resource for writers on Twitter. Not only is there a nicely organized list of chats, it is a Writer’s Guide for Twitter including great articles like What are 10 ways that Twitter can help writers?
- 60+ Favorite Twitter Hashtags for Writers This is a very extensive list of all types of hashtags for writers, not just chats. While it does not have a description for each, the hashtags are clickable, therefore allowing you a sneak peek into whatever the latest conversation is.
Isn’t This Just Too Much?
At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a little overwhelmed (I know I was!). You are not supposed to participate in every writer chat, or use every writing hashtag out there; you are to find the one that fits for you, your current need and your current WIP. Treat this post as an all you can eat buffet that is always available to you – pace yourself.
Connect With #StoryDam
Finally, if you are not following us already, the StoryDam team can be your first Twitter writing connections, here’s how you can find us:
- StoryDam community Twitter handle: @StoryDam
- Morgan’s handle: @MDragonwillow
- Susan’s handle: @cirquedumot
- Tui’s handle: @mentalmosaic
- My (Nicole) handle: @riverand
No more excuses! I expect to hear from you soon. Even better, I’d love to see you at our Thursday night chat.