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A Golden Age for the Writing Life

Is social media necessary, to be a writer these days? I’m referring to all the sites on the Internet where people in the writing life communicate with one another. “Necessary” is too strong a word, of course, but I see social media as a place where writers and illustrators and editors and publishers flourish.

I started on Penguin’s Book Country website for new writers because there I found others enjoying the struggle. We happily traded ideas and criticisms. The latter of which grew into a long list for my first novel, and without which I would have learned very little in the writing of it.

The Writers Co-op itself originated on Book Country and is a “social” and “media” support for members. From here, people have floated ideas for new books, aired the progress of their current projects, put out anthologies and publicized the release of their latest works.

Obviously, all these things were accomplished before the Internet but, I submit, never by so many. Thanks to social media, we are living in a Golden Age for the Writing Life.

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11 thoughts on “A Golden Age for the Writing Life

  1. Wonderful and true! However, itโ€™s a double-edged sword. Social media has opened up a world of critical feedback and community for writers, but also โ€œflooded the market,โ€ resulting in far more unpaid or underpaid writers.

    Liked by 5 people

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Or, there always were unpaid & underpaid writers, and social media just gives them a voice.

      โ€œGet a day job, make your money from that, and write to please yourself.โ€
      โ€• Harlan Ellison

      I remember Harlan complaining about how long he worked on a new book and then that book was displayed on the shelves for one week before new books crowded it to the back.

      Liked by 6 people

      • And that is precisely why I got a day job, so that I can write what I want–except on the day job, when I write what what I’m ordered to write. Occastionally, I will write what is needed to bend people to my will ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 5 people

  2. Here’s how social media impacts writers: It keeps the good ones writing, and convinces the bad ones to take their own lives. Err . . . or is that the other way around?

    Too dark, Carl; too dark . . . Heh!

    Sorry.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Back in the 1980s–way before social media–we formed a writers’ support group. We called it the 4F Society: Fun, Fortune, Fame, and Fuck the Critics. We argued about which should come first in the name–fun or fortune–and decided “fun” was more certain than “fortune.” Several books were published from this group, including one of mine.
    Our local bookstore also always had writers’ groups. I have belonged to writers’ organizations since before social media–one for writers, one for self-publishers.
    Thus in my experience there have always been communities for writers.
    Social media changes the experience. I’ve never met any of you face-to-face. My writing buddies live all over the world–from Australia to Sweden. (We did get together with one when we went to Barcelona.)
    More competition? Yep. My first two books sold in the thousands. My biz books sold mainly at speaking events and workshops. My sci fi? Yet to be determined.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. mimispeike says:

    A golden age to go insane also. I spent all yesterday trying to join and then upload to Dropbox. I was so upset I felt like throwing up.

    I was informed by my email that my pdf agent submission was too large, it could not be sent by email. I must put it on Dropbox or Google Docs. I tried to join Google Docs, it would not let me for some reason. I managed to join Dropbox. It took all day to get it going. All day literally. I started at noon and it didn’t finish until midnight.

    I was frantic. All my folders on my desktop disappeared. For hours! That’s when I really felt like throwing up. I have all my Sly stuff saved to external drives, and a lot of Maisie stuff also. But not the last few weeks of new work.

    Now I have every single file on my computer saved to Dropbox, not what I intended. I read that if I delete files on Dropbox they will also be deleted from my computer. I’m frozen with fear. I’m afraid to do anything.

    And I don’t yet know how to make my one file that I want to share available to an agent. This is a nightmare. I’m halfway thinking: maybe I can just kill myself and solve all my problems.

    The days of writing by hand and mailing your manuscript to a publisher begin to look like Paradise Lost.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Two things about Dropbox:
      — Even files that are deleted from Dropbox can be recovered for a certain period, maybe 30 days.
      — You can move a file out of Dropbox (say, when sharing it with somebody else) and retain a copy on your computer, by holding down the Option key when you move it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. mimispeike says:

    Mike, or anyone who can help me:

    Since I installed Dropbox my Mac has slowed to a crawl. This is a nightmare! I’m searching for help in their help center, but getting no useful answers. Can I quit out of dropbox and only go in when I want to post a doc for an agent? I see no command ‘Quit’ anywhere, like you have with every other app.

    Can I completely uninstall Dropbox without impacting the files on my desktop?

    Would it help to delete all on Dropbox but my Agent Submission folder? Is it the number of files I’ve uploaded or is it the app itself that’s slowing me down?

    I am going NUTS!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. victoracquista says:

    Yesterday I subscribed to a newsletter about trends in social media. I also downloaded a free guide to Instagram. Today I was finishing the last of a series of talks and workshops as part of a virtual writers conference during which the speaker was asked about social media. He said that his business is writing and he does not devote much time to social media. How do you square all this?
    I think it’s important to be social media savvy but not to the detriment of writing. Is this a golden age? Well……I don’t know. I prefer writing to social media but I find social media to be a necessary evil. To me, a golden age would be more along the lines of I write and people devour every word and remain hungry for more. With this frame of reference, this is not a golden age–more like pyrite, better known as fool’s gold.

    Liked by 3 people

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