A piece of writing advice I always try to stick to is, “never go with your first impulse,” because it is usually a clichéd metaphor or tired device or stale phrase.
In my case, my second, third, and fourth ideas are often equally hackneyed, but you get what I’m saying.
For example, my first impulse for this post was to write something about my New Year’s Writer Resolutions. (Write more! Read more!) Then I realized that everyone else was writing this, too. (Write more! Read more!)
|"Basically worse than genocide ..."|
Anyway, turns out this rule of thumb applies equally well to other aspects of the writing and publishing life. For example, let’s pretend you get a snarky, mean-spirited one-star review, saying your book is basically worse than genocide or pedophilia, and definitely more trite. After you stop crying into your basket of chili cheese fries at Culvers Custard, your first impulse will be to march back online and tell that meanie reviewer to eat a bag of dicks. Don’t do that! Instead, Google her, because she was dum-dum enough to post with her first and last name AND city. Enjoy a warm glow of schadenfreude when you learn she’s embroiled in a nasty legal battle due to something that was entirely her fault.
Social media. Well, here every one of my impulses here is to collapse in my chair and slide onto the floor. I joined Twitter last winter, and since I can’t bring myself to believe anyone is all that interested in my caffeine withdrawal or how my dog enjoys chasing frozen peas across the linoleum, I don’t tweet all that often. Also, self-promotion makes my b-hole cringe. Every once in awhile I’ll get the fighting spirit and tweet four things in a row or comment or retweet something funny or interesting to my negative four followers, and then I’ll collapse in my chair and slide onto the floor.
Here’s a sample tweet from a folder I started on my computer called “sample tweets:” I don’t post about political stuff because I don’t want to be rude to my stupider relatives.
Did I tweet this?
|Hey, got any peanut butter?|
No. I lost interest and fed the dog peanut butter instead.
Also, Twitter kind of scares me. The other day someone neat started following me. Based on her screen name and interests, I thought she’d followed me ON PURPOSE, because I am also of this life situation / values / opinion / sense of humor. I immediately followed her back, feeling happy and loved, looking forward to interacting with my new friend. I liked her page on Facebook and read a few of her older blog entries, one of which was all about boosting your Twitter following (while decreasing the number of people YOU follow)…I guess the goal is to look really popular, like back in high school that none of us want to go back to. She’d gotten it down to a science, and there was a complicated process involved that seemed like it would take about forty hours a minute to coordinate.
One of the options for a “Tweet management service” this blogger utilized was an app that can “force people to unfollow you,” which seemed counter-intuitive to me. Isn’t the whole idea to get more Twitter followers? Not, the service explained, if they ‘contaminate your brand.’
Holy Jesus Soul Vacuum! SERIOUSLY?!
As soon as I finished reading this I logged back onto my Twitter account—perhaps forty minutes had elapsed between her following me, me following her back, and me reading this article and trying to wrap my head around booting people who didn’t smell nice enough for you, or whatever.
Guess what? My new BFF unfollowed me the second I followed her back, hoping I wouldn’t notice she was using me to game her numbers. So, in mature fashion, I unfollowed her also. Who’s back to square one now, bishes?
So, Happy New Year, one and all! (Write more! Read more!) I hope your third impulse is to re-tweet this post.