It is not uncommon in fantasy novels to come across the hermit. The isolated, anti-social individual who shuns other people for a peaceful solitary lifestyle of contemplation. If you want to get any information out of a hermit, you need to win their trust and prove somehow that you’re worthy of it. When I started this journey I realised there was a reason why I have a soft-spot for hermits; I can relate totally.
I have a great real life family and friends, but must admit I really need peace, quiet and headspace to write. I have also been reticent to show other people my writing. Will they like it, hate it or worse – be unresponsive? I’ve been encouraged by many people to get connected with the on-line community and start opening myself up to new writing / reading relationships. But the thought of doing it filled me with dread. To make matters worse I didn’t know what the rules were, or how to really go about it. Could I really let go of my inner-hermit?
Fortunately, a good friend, who happens to write one of my favourite writing blogs (Seeking the Write Life), came around and gave me a few lessons. Within a few days I’d managed to cobble together a blog and made a leap of faith into the rapids that is Twitter.
It’s been a heady first week. I can’t tell you how excited I was when someone came to visit my blog, and became a follower. It didn’t even matter that it was my Mum. But then others came too, people I didn’t even know, and I was euphoric. The journey has well and truly begun. But as complete novice there have been a few lessons to learn the hard way, and I share these here:
1. Just because you put it on the web doesn’t mean anyone will come and look at it.
So thank you to all those who took the time.
2. If someone sends you a direct message on twitter, telling you someone is spreading rumours about you – don’t believe them.
Day one on twitter I got such a message and clicked on it. How could people be spreading rumours on my first day? I’m not very exciting and so I have to admit I was curious – what could they possibly say? The link took me to twitter and asked me to log in. I was already logged in at the time, but as a newbie figured it must be because it was a “direct message”. I logged in and finding no rumours, soon discovered it was a phishing site. Then, feeling very foolish, had to go and change all my passwords… On the same day I also friended someone who spamed me with descriptive titles of pornographic movies. I discovered it is quite easy to unfriend people too and not feel at all guilty.
3. Don’t keep stalking your stats.
It’s true. I spent an inordinate amount of time watching them and getting all excited because someone in Canada came to visit. It has to stop. I hope people come, but this is a journey I need to take whether anyone comes or not.
4. Spend more time writing than blogging.
It’s true I want to be a writer, and my writing time is precious. So now that the first week is done, and I’ve not only survived but even made a few new friends, I have to set a few boundaries. A time to write, and then a time to blog. And a very strict time limit on twitter…
Wish me luck!
Have you got any advice for the newbie social networker? And if you blog, I’d love to know if you had any unrealistic expectations, or misconceptions when you started out?