01. It’s easy to belittle twitter: “You can’t say anything meaningful in less than 140 characters!” “Who cares about your lunch?”
02. Sure, some phrases can lift or cut: “We’d like to buy your story.” “Luke, I am your Father.” Or, “I’m leaving you.”
03. But they have power only because they’re carried by other words. They’re waves crashing on the shore of a contextual ocean.
04. Stick with me, and I’ll show you the ability of tweets to build communities, and to kick off a writing career.
05. One year ago today, I wrote a post on my personal blog, called On Jump-Starting a Stalled Writer’s Life.
06. In it, I detailed the five-step plan I devised to stop whining and start writing. I’ll focus on the first.
07: Step One: “Attend the 2009 World Fantasy Con in San Jose.” I craved inspiration. I wanted to build a supportive community.
08. A couple of weeks before WFC, I somehow discovered @inkhaven and started following her blog and twitter feed.
09. This turned out to be one of the happiest accidents of my life.
10. Because when @inkhaven got to #wfc2009, she tweeted, “I’m here!” And @sandrawickham responded and bought her a birthday drink.
11. Then @sandrawickham introduced her to fellow Canadian @erikaholt.
12. When I arrived a day later, I got to meet all three, and @geardrops. We basically moved (& drank) as a pack.
13. We also attended @sandrawickham’s Evolve reading & met all of the good people at Edge Publishing.
14. Our friendships were sparked at WFC, but we kept them strong in following months through a constant twitter conversation.
15. Essentially, if they were active on twitter, our friendships deepened, and if they weren’t, they were more likely to fade.
16. Others came into the #inkpunks fold, including @adamisrael and @winnie3k.
17. I still haven’t met @winnie3k in real life, but she is one of my favorite people.
18. Through tweets, we supported each other through writer’s block, illness, love and heartbreak.
19. Through tweets, we communicated our triumphs: Clarion workshop acceptances, editorships, publication.
20. Via twitter, fellow Clarion West student @inkgorilla and I shared our fondness for food & cocktails before the workshop.
21. When a joke by @jaymgates about zombie erotica turned into an actual anthology, @inkgorilla & I submitted stories:
22. a) @erikaholt hooked up with @jaymgates as co-editor and found a print publisher for the #rigoramortis anthology.
23. b) That imprint was part of the Edge publishing family.
24. c) I pointed @galendara to @jaymgates, and she became one of the interior artists for the book.
25. d) My story, which was acccepted, was about two zombie foodies. There is a brain cocktail in it.
26. e) @winnie3k rescued my story by helping me cut a third of it.
27. f) @inkgorilla’s story was also accepted, & we shared a hug at the workshop when we got our contracts from @erikaholt.
28. So, here I am a year later, and I owe my first publication and writing success to twitter.
29. And here I am a year later, going through a painful divorce. I’m not sure if twitter has a role in that.
30. But I’m finding the friendships that were nurtured 140 characters at a time are the ones carrying me through it.
31. Friendships, novels, and lives are accretions of the seemingly inconsequential.
32. No single tweet, no single sentence can tell an entire story–
33. Any more than my divorce defines the whole of my marriage, or who I am.
34. It takes an aggregation of letters, and words, and sentences, to give life to characters, to tell stories.
35. It takes many words, many touches, many small acts to nurture, to define–and sometimes to destroy–a relationship.
36. Through careful words, and small acts, I pray that we can begin healing.
37. And I hope to lay down a new future: as a writer, as a father, as a complex, caring human, a few words & characters at a time.
38. Cast of characters: @inkhaven = Christie Yant, @erikaholt, @sandrawickham, @adamisrael are obvious. @winnie3k is Wendy Wagner.
40. And I’m @johnremy. Thanks for reading. Let us know in the comments what twitter has done for you.