Overwhelming is the word of the day, I’ve decided.

No, wait. Scratch that.

As I head up the slopes of Mount I-Wanna-Publish-a-book, I think overwhelming is word of the trek. This writing thing is complex. Not just landing the idea, then getting the words on paper, in the right order, with correct spelling, pacing, structure and heart, but moving those precious little babies from my world into the big, wide, scary world out there.

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SO MUCH TO DO. BRAIN HURTS.

Deep breath, choose a foothold.

I’m seeing now that so much of the foundation work needs to be done even before my literary gems are set in papery stone. I’ll admit, I’m kind of bummed that I missed that stage in authorly evolution when a writer could be a cantankerous, mysterious shadow. Hidden away from the daylight for fear of it setting fire to their skin, spewing out the words and letting someone else handle setting the wordy blighters free.

Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration of the past but I’m hoping you get my point.

Point is (in case you didn’t) an author has to be so OUT THERE today. We have to be social in the media. The thought was quietly terrifying to me. Mostly I like dark corners and solitude, though I’ll occasionally join hubby in front of the TV and, on a really good day, talk to him as well.

But as I did the reading, and attended the writer’s festivals and seminars and chatted within my writing group (the only real ‘social’ element to my writing career thus far), it became apparent that there was no way out of this. If I wanted to get up Mount I-Wanna-Publish-a-Book, then it was suck it up princess time. Put the tiara away, strap on the crampons and go.

I needed to make friends with the book, fly with the bluebird, pin my interest and insta with the gram, among other things. Get out there and work it. Be seen.

Somehow.

Along with the gazillions of others trying to do the same thing.

Don’t think about that.

Stop thinking about how tiny you are in that tweeting pond.

Stop. Go meditate or something. (Speaking of which, do your brain a favour and check out Headspace. You’re welcome.)

I am beginning with the blue bird. Arguably, Twitter is the prime social media site for writers, but everything from Facebook to Pintrest (yep, really. Read what a smart person says about that  HERE) can play a role apparently. For now though, I’m setting off on my trekking adventure with Twitter. And the view looks a hell of a lot better than I expected.

I was ridiculously excited when I got my first follower and peed my pants a little when I had tweet backs (no idea if that is correct lingo) from some authors I admire, @cspacat and @AlisonGoodman, as well as a trailer music production company @12titansmusic, whose epic music usually accompanies the death, destruction or redemption of one of my characters. They tweeted me to say my current WIP (the one their music was helping with) sounded awesome. I lost my mind.

Once I found it again, and stopped telling my bemused hubby every two seconds who had ‘liked’ me on Twitter, I found out that the bluebird is actually kind of awesome. Not because I’m going to make my millions selling my books on it one day (that won’t happen and @ChuckWendig explains all that stuff in detail in his blog HERE )  but I am going to, and have made, some amazing connections and found out some incredibly important stuff to help me on the trek. There is soooo much information available on Twitter for wannabe authors.

Valuable stuff.

Not just cute goats, though you will thank me for this.

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There are kindred spirits, there are opportunities to flex your writing muscles and chances to pitch to publishers, there are groups to motivate and quotes to keep your head up when you feel like no one in the world has written as much shit as you have. There are blogs from really smart people who have advice on how to keep your brain from exploding with the enormity of the task ahead. Like these guys, Kelsye Nelson , Jane Friedman and The Creative Penn.

Don’t for a second though, think that Twitter makes life easy. In fact it is a quagmire that has sucked this notoriously bad procrastinator down more times than I care to remember.  It will eat up your entire day before you can say don’t eat me bluebird. It will have you automatically condensing every thought you have into 140 characters.

But holy crap in a crabshell, the wealth of information makes the gutful of quagmire worth it. The learning is crazy.  I can fly, god damn it.

And best thing of all, you don’t have to talk to a single soul if you don’t want to. You don’t have to dress up and leave your house. You can wallflower and still enjoy yourself. And the kicker?

This party has a logout button that let’s you to skulk back to your dark, cantankerous corner whenever you like.

PS- Yeah I know, crabs and their crap have nothing whatsoever to do with anything whatsoever in this piece. I just like the words in my mouth.