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Social Media - The Writer's Virtual Water Cooler

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”
Ernest Hemingway 

Do you have to be a loner to enjoy a life as a writer? Most writers don’t leave the house in the morning and go to the office to work with other writers. There’s no water cooler, no lunch brigade, no one to talk with when a break from work is needed. That is until recently. While no one waits around the corner to have a chat, there are plenty of other writers hanging out in virtual break rooms. Has social media created the virtual writer’s office?

I’m a social person – I thrive on human interaction. But when I write, I enjoy solitude (even if it’s in the form of headphones drowning out the noise from a crowded café). After a few hours though, I crave a break. With the click of my mouse, I can hop on to Facebook, post a comment, and within minutes – sometimes seconds, someone responds. I am not alone. I scroll through my page and catch up on the latest – what my friends are working on, what they’re reading, a new trend in publishing, or a witty cartoon about the writing life. Move over to Twitter and I can join a chat, reply to a tweet, or browse for interesting content. Before I know it, half an hour has passed and I have to resist the temptation to spend too much time “socializing” and get back to work.

I have been astounded by the support and camaraderie I’ve found through relationships built on Twitter and Facebook. Much more than merely channels for self-promotion, social media can be a gateway to unlimited new friendships and alliances – if you want it to be. I’ve received support, advice, encouragement, and help from friends I have never laid eyes on. Because of these relationships my books have been reviewed by newspaper editors, bloggers, and other authors. I have established a wonderful network of associates and mentors.

As for face-to-face interaction – conferences, workshops, and book events still fit the bill nicely.

The writing life is unique to each writer. It can be as solitary or as social as one chooses. As for me – I choose social. My friends all around the globe enrich my life – and I look forward to making more every day.


Image courtesy of BrianHolm / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Concerned Parent January 27, 2014 at 03:53 PM
How ironic, Hemingway also said "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Or in the case of this picture, lay on a couch with a laptop.
Gabi Coatsworth January 27, 2014 at 07:20 PM
I agree that writing can be lonely. But the snag with social media is that it can tend to make the minutes fly by, and I suddenly realize an hour of writing time has been lost. I think I need a timer!
Concerned Parent January 28, 2014 at 09:06 AM
@Gabi, Every person walks a tight rope when writing on any social media website. There is no respect for the power of the Internet. Some people do not realize that everything they post stays there forever. If a person chooses to author something a social website, they should probably write about ethics, personal accountability, and the impact of irresponsible posts.
Grace Watson May 30, 2014 at 03:08 PM
As a writer myself, I actually enjoy the "lonely." When I'm writing, I like to be completely alone and silent, wrapped up in my own world. It's not until I put the computer or notebook aside that I realize I wish I had a water cooler to gather around. If social media is that proverbial water cooler for some people, I think that's wonderful. Grace Watson | http://www.purologix.com/at-your-office

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