Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rockin' robin

I've been playing around in Twitter lately, and it's been an interesting experience for me as a writer in a few different ways.

One is the obvious: 140 characters. I think of myself as a fairly succinct writer, but that limit can be ... well, limiting. Especially if you add a link. It's challenging to say something that might be relevant or informative or funny in so few characters. I've been experimenting and am happy that I have a very small audience as of yet so that I don't have to worry too much about sounding inane or arch, which can be a consequence of trying to be clever. At least when I do it.

Another thing that's fun to explore in that arena is voice. Twitter is very casual and, particularly since I follow mostly writers and editors, there are a lot of people who are talented at using that voice to good effect. I find I really like what I encounter there. It feels welcoming, comfortable. Some people today bemoan the loss of formal writing skills, and I know what they mean, but I find that when done well Twitter is strong writing.

I'm not saying that every Tweet is a pearl of writing. But if you care about writing and try to do it well, Tweeting is harder than it looks. It's been fun to begin exploring its limitations and strengths. (I realize that talking about Twitter like this probably makes me sound unimaginably old and out-of-it to anyone under 40, but I'll just have to own that. I don't have a smart phone either. Let me make it clear, though, I'm in the Jackson Five generation of Rockin' Robin, not Bobby Day.)

Has the first novel entirely in Tweets been published yet?

I have some additional thoughts about Twitter as a tool for an author and how I use it vs. how most people use it, which I'll save for later. But if you're a writer who hasn't checked it out yet, I say do it. I'm @swellbooks.