But – But – But – The Dangers of Social Media

Image -- creative commons

Image — creative commons

Ah, yes, the looking glass through which we behold ourselves. Social media – where everyone’s clamouring for fifteen minutes of fame, their flash in the pan, as it were.

It’s a dangerous trap for writers.

What? I can hear you cry, but I’ve got 12K Twitter followers, and I’m voted number whatever on Wattpad, and my Facebook page is booming.

And that’s fine, but –

Here’s the big but – don’t let it take time away from your writing.

Writing well, writing succinctly, writing with strength and tenacity will shine above a sloppy novel hurriedly self-published or thrown to the wilds of Wattpad.

Now, I’m not saying ignore social media completely, and you can now find me creeping around on Wattpad as I test the waters over there, and I truly appreciate all you folks connecting with me through Facebook, Twitter, and good ol’ WordPress – but – and here’s another but – remember my time is spent writing first, and socializing second. Think of it in terms of work.

A writer’s job is to write. Networking (the all important truth in life – it often really comes down to who you know) is important – but – here comes another but – your job is to write.

If you don’t write, you have nothing to talk about, really.

I recall a literary agent saying that nobody cares how many twitter followers you have (it’s highly unlikely even ten percent will put out money for your work – heck, most folks have a had time giving their stuff away). The agent went on to say that what agents really cared about was your writing – the quality of your work, and your previous and upcoming projects

Think about any start-up business using social media.

If they have the staffing, they would hire a person to deal with social media while they dealt with product design, marketing, client relations, etc.

Which is great, but what if it’s just you? The lonely writer with only their laptop and cat for company?


Think of that start up. What’s the point of tweeting about something if you don’t have a product or service to back it up?

Social media is a tool, not an end into itself.

My advice is simple:

Be visible, maintain a presence, and decide on a path of communication that works best for you.


Different media work in different ways – Twitter is more of a flash of a sign along a highway approach, where you need to repeat your message to reach an ever moving audience, Facebook is generally more about relationship building where you get to really know your audience through their comments (rather than the ‘thx 4 RT!’ of Twitter). Wattpad is a great showcasing platform, but, like everything about developing relationships, it’s about developing relationships, and this takes time and effort.

Of course, it helps tremendously if your followers share and spread your message – and that is the power of social media, spreading a message like wildfire. And programs for scheduling tweets and posts are invaluable for maintaining a social media presence when you have other things to do (like sleep, but you still want to reach the folks across different time zones).

But, your message (cute pet videos and weird baby hair pictures aside), better be good. Or nobody’s going to listen, no matter how many times you shout it.

And that leads us right back to writing. Which is what I’m going to be doing now.

Anybody really wanting to reach me can email me directly. Otherwise, I’ll see you around online.

~ Liz

If you’re looking, you can now find me in a few places

Twitter @lizmcadams753

Facebook Liz McAdams

Wattpad Liz McAdams @lizmcadams753

But email’s still the best way to reach me lizmcadams75@gmail.com

My office assistants

Dear Reader


Dear Reader

Without you I am nothing. Truly I am.

But let me explain.

My basic approach to writing is quick and dirty – purging or a cognitive dump, if you will. you might call it spewing. I get it all out, and worry about the details afterward.

The end result is often a barebones outline, that I have to then flesh out. Very tight, and almost impossible to pry open and elaborate on. But the basic structure, language, and often dialogue, are there and will remain pretty much unchanged.

This is the reverse of many writers. Other folks overwrite that initial draft, so their editing process is about subtraction of words and extraneous details, and carving away fluff to get to the essence of their story.

In my world, my story already exists, I just need to be able to share it with you.

And this is where you, Dear Reader, come in.

I need to make sure you can see what I see, and feel what I feel as I’m writing this. And if it’s too obscure or vague, I gotta flesh it out.

Because good writing, after all, is about telepathy. You join me in whatever place I’ve created and hang with the folks I’ve invented.

Essentially, you’re walking through my mind.

And, if I can bring you there, by giving enough detail and description without pushing you away, I’ve done my job. Because, ultimately, it’s about you.

I need to be able to stand in your shoes and give you what you want, with a few twists along the way. Sure, I pretty much know where I’m going; but when I step inside your shoes I see it all in a different light, and you help me make things as they should be. Heck, you might even surprise me with a change in plot or character. You give me a little nudge here, and a pull there, and maybe a little snip or two, and – voila, we have a story.

And a story is more than just words on a page. It’s a place you drop into, and hang out. You live and breathe inside a story.

Without you, my story would still exist, perhaps only in my own head; but it’d be there in some form or other. But you bring the magic to my story, where it is shared and communicated and understood and resounds in your own mind.

You begin to see what I see, and feel what I feel. We walk through the door together.

And that, my friends, is true magic.




Ditching the muse and how to write LOTS

How to write:

Step one – turn off your internet, cell phone, TV, and all social media. Shut door if possible.

Step two – write.

Simple advice, but true.

Reduce distractions for yourself and just start. Sure, your first few (or thousand) words might be utter crap. But keep going. Who knows where it’ll take you. I just finished two different projects with a combined total of nearly 200 K in less than six months.

Yeah, I’m kinda crazy. But I freaking loved it.

You know those wacko exercise enthusiasts who ‘need’ their daily jog?

Here’s a secret – writers are kinda like that too.

Your brain is a muscle, and requires regular training. That old adage of write every day, preferably in the same place, and aim for a target word count (Stephen King suggested 2000 words daily) will strengthen and build your writing muscles.

Routine, routine, routine.

Sheer fucking repetition.

Same bat time, same bat place, and same laptop. That’s it.

Pretty soon you’re gonna find yourself itching to sit at your desk or laptop at a certain time, and if you miss it, you’ll feel it. Your brain is just following its schedule – at a set time, you write. Pure and simple.

Some folks talk about waiting for a muse to strike.

I guess that’s fine for some folks, but for me, that’s a cop out. I don’t even wait for the bus.

As a visual artist myself (yep, I’m pretty artsy), I know there is no such thing as a muse.

I can hear you gasping.

But it’s true. Your ideas, your inspiration, your motivation – where the hell do they come from?

From you.

Deep down inside, it’s your climbing into your own head and walking around. It might not be pretty, and there’s probably more than a few cobwebs, but it’s all you. No fucking muse. I get it, some days I’m too sick or tired to do more than basic line edits; so it’s easy to blame some external factor like a magic story-granting fairy.

But you’re selling yourself short.

If you approach writing like marathon training, and focus on just freaking doing it – don’t worry about good ol’ SPAG or whatever – just get it on the page, you’ll find you’re chops get better and better. Sheer practice effect.

So what about all those artists in history that painted the (usually) women who inspired them?

To understand any artist, you gotta think about extreme OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m not talking excessive handwashing, I’m talking about the overwhelming desire to do something (i.e. create) and getting so lost in a project that the finished version (or a stop along the way) seems miraculous to an outsider, but to the artist themselves, it’s just one step along a path of discovery.

They are so caught up in what they’re doing, they don’t even see the countless steps and problems they’ve overcome.

An artist painting a portrait would do a series of sketches, and probably a couple versions of the portrait before they were satisfied. Note the repetition. Series. Multiple versions.

No fucking muse. Just sheer hard work.

And writing is just like that, don’t kid yourself otherwise.

At over 500 words to this post, I’m off to work on a short story, pushing well past 2K today. But I’d like to know, what are your thoughts on writing schedules, and inspiration or a muse?