There’s lots of advantages to micro-blogging, as it’s called. For me, it’s a lesson in how to be concise. I have a tendency to be wildly, over-enthusiatically wordy, even spilling over into verbose. (I can tell you’re surprised…..) My prose can be flowery, long and convoluted. All handy when writing a Victorian ghost story, as that is their style (and the switch from over-wordy to a simple three line sentence can be effective) but a bad habit in every other style. Being limited to 140 characters forces me to reduce my words to a calm, clean sentence, with little or no flourish. In other words, I make sense. (Writing ‘drabbles’ a fanfic in exactly 100 words, also does the same thing – trains me to be concise).
It also gets me known – I’m known as a writer on Twitter, which isn’t true anywhere else. And as a known writer, other writers communicate with me – we chat about writer’s problems – characters getting away from you, short stories that turn into 3-volume sagas, writers block, that sort of thing. It’s a wonderful sense of community, and it’s a good feeling to know if I scream out ‘my novel doesn’t work!’ someone out there will answer.
It’s a fantastic place to share information – about writers, publishers, stories.
And it keeps me writing. When I’m ill, and drained and low, and a page seems like too much work, 140 characters is manageable. All writing is good practice, even the tiniest sentence helps me to hone my skills, and keep me going and my little Twitter updates keep my mind going, even when my body just wants to lie down in a darkened room, and listen to radio comedy.
I joined Twitter for fun (and on Christine’s recommendation – btw, she certainly know what she’s talking about when it comes to online publicity and community). It’s become a refuge, both a hiding place and a showcase, and a valuable tool.