Release your Inner-Hermit

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?


9 thoughts on “Release your Inner-Hermit

  1. You’re a faster learner than I was! 🙂

    I think point #4 is the most important. Don’t let the social media take you away from writing what you love.

    (That said, don’t feel guilty about giving yourself time to enjoy the blog / twitter — there’s a lot of cool people to meet out there and DEFINITELY a great writing community).

  2. My only advice would be: don’t get sucked in! Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads are all great things to help build an author platform. And I participate in all of them. But they are a huge time suck. Come up with a system that allows you to be on these sites enough to build your platform but don’t forget to keep writing.

    My one misconception was that blogging wouldn’t take a lot of time and energy. I now put a lot of time and energy into my blog because it’s how I want to draw readers to my work. It’s important to me.

    Happy blogging!

    1. I totally agree… (wait I still have to check out Pinterest and find my Goodreads account…). I can see that the blog will be worthwhile. I have been very pleasantly surprised at how much fun it has been!

  3. I agree. Your writing time is precious. Although not a writer myself, (I am a quilter) and the best blog I saw on the quilters site was ” since I learnt how to quilt, I forgot how to do housework!!!” I took out of that, that you should always make time for the things you really love to do for yourself. :o)

  4. Please please please do not take this as an insult..I am writing this to you as a compliment–Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh God, what is this strange girl that I just met going to say?” Well here goes. Your writing reminds me Carry Bradshaw, you know, from the series Sex and the City? When I was reading your thoughts, I was immediately taken back to various episodes when Carry would would be typing on her computer, the thoughts in her head spoken aloud to the viewing audience. Personally, I LOVE it. I love the way you write and the voice that you have. So, my advice, keep writing. Don’t even worry what it is about–just write. Don’t force the whole novel writing experience.

    For months I have been doing the same thing that you are doing right now–deciphering which is more important, networking via Twitter, working on my blog, or writing my first novel. Here’s my advice. Do what you want, but don’t loose yourself while doing it. Does that make sense? There are days where all I have time to do is sneak a peek at my Twitter account, post a few tweets, and send out a few emails. (I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom, so I do what I can, when I can.) Other days my kids give me a little “me space” and I’m able to write a blog post or brainstorm my story.

    Don’t over analyze what you are suppose to do and which order to do it in. I’ve actually found it more motivating to write NOW that I have made many new Twitter friends from networking. They inspire me.

    Try a little bit of everything–when you want, how you want. That will help you figure out where you need to go and how to get there 😉 That is my advice to you….not that you asked for it! 🙂 But I figured I’d throw it out there anyways! –Jen

    1. Wow thanks – I love Carrie Bradshaw too – what a lovely compliment.

      I’m a full-time stay-at-home mum (it’s a New Zealand thing) too – so I totally get the balancing act. Today my son’s home with a nasty cold, so I’ve given myself permission to keep an eye on the blog / twitter in between building lego and rescuing lego from the clutches of the kitten. I figure it’s unlikely I’ll get much time to work on the MS.

      Thanks for your good advice too.

  5. You’re quite welcome for my time and attention, Raewyn. I admit that I’m halfway towards being a hermit most of the year, especially in periods of high composition. I prefer to be by myself in exercise, during meals, even when watching television or films, not just in reading. Then something wakes up in me and forces the social elements to move.

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