Twitter: Food for the Muse

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Today’s guest post is from monthly contributor Darrelyn Saloom. Follow Darrelyn on Twitter. (That’s her not-naked Twitter profile pic above.)

Are there more writers than social media marketing gurus, naked people, or insatiable sex addicts on Twitter? Well, marketing gurus may have us beat. But, at least, there are a few worth following for interesting tweets. But writers do seem to outnumber the naked, insatiable sex addicts, though I continue to marvel when opening an e-mail, and someone’s nipples stare back at me. So-and-so is now following you on Twitter. Really? Then put on some clothes!

My hometown friends are dressed and interesting and have a variety of careers. But for my friend Deirdre, a boxer, they don’t do cartwheels from the mailbox when the Southern Review or Glimmer Train arrives. Or shiver at news of an author’s interview or book signing. Too much talk of writing and my best girlfriends zone out on me. Even my beloved husband rolls his eyes. (He will accompany me to an out-of-town book event, though I’m usually dropped off, front of the bookstore, side of the street.)

So Twitter has become a refuge of sorts, a place to connect with enthusiastic readers and writers. And professionals who appreciate writers enough to post helpful articles and tips. Every week, Jane Friedman compiles Best Tweets for Writers. Every week! Daily, she and others post valuable advice about the business of writing and publishing, a treasure-trove of information. 

Information that (before Twitter) was not available to me. I’m too busy scavenging time for my husband, my aged mother, running a household, caring for grown children and grandchildren, two cats and a dog, collaborating with the boxer, Deirdre Gogarty, on her remarkable life journey, editing a novel for a client, and then (if supper is cooked and the house is clean) squeezing out time for my own writing. So, yes—like you—I’m busy!

But as writers we must find ways to feed The Muse. And other than the boxer (she and I spend hours discussing writers and writing), Twitter cooks up The Muse food I need. So, what do I mean by Muse food? Well, let’s look at a sample menu: Poetry. Reading poetry is one of the best ways to stir inspiration. Read poetry and weep, laugh, marvel—and feed. Narrative Magazine floats by in a tweet. I click, I read, I’m inspired. Always. And there are poets aplenty on Twitter, posting astute lyrical treats (@TheDarkEngine).

Still hungry? Feast on comics artist @elizafrye, illustrator/author @CarinBerger, collaborating authors @deberryandgrant, photographer/filmmaker/physician @DocMacaStat, passionate blogger @CodyDaigle, travel writer @holeinthedonut, or bask in the intellect of @DaveWiner. And so many others who stream by, tweeting works of art, brilliant insights and observations, or posting links to their own inspirations, sated and sharing their food.

On Twitter, I’ve befriended published authors such as Andrea Gillies, a gifted writer, who lives on a remote peninsula in northern Scotland. Her memoir Keeper opened my eyes to the hardships and horrors of caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s. And she did so with such gut-wrenching honesty and beauty (and humor), it forever changed me. Made me hold my loved ones stronger; pet my cats and dog longer, and cease taking for granted my memory.

So, for the naysayers, who would argue that Twitter is too time-consuming; that the time spent reading and posting tweets is wasted; I understand your thinking. It’s what I thought at first. But I’m here to tell you that the opposite has proven true for me; because Twitter cooks up a daily banquet, which feeds The Muse, who lives in that inner world of cravings. For me it’s the world of shivers and cartwheels and tweets.  

And like anything else in life, Twitter returns whatever you give.  If you are positive and kind, that’s what you’ll find. For the life of me, I don’t understand why so many celebrities (and authors) only follow a few people, who are already their friends. In my opinion, they are missing out on a world of cuisine. After all, things didn’t work out so well for Narcissus who only peered into the pool at his own reflection.

If you’d like to share your Twitter experiences, leave a comment below. I’d love to read what impact Twitter has had on The Muse in you.

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17 thoughts on “Twitter: Food for the Muse

  1. Debra Marrs

    Great article, Darrelyn. I love Twitter! I love it for all the reasons you mention. It’s been such a great resource for me. I appreciate how much it brings together the community of writers from all over the world. Twitter allows me to meet and converse with like-minded people.

    The writer’s life can be a solo life, with lots of time spent in seclusion with our Muse and a cast of characters. It’s a lot of ‘up in the head time’ we spend there. How nice to come out of the writing space to see what’s on the smorgasbord of tweets for the day: a dollop of this, a snack of that, desserts made of words. Twitter provides a nice break and allows us to return refreshed to the page again.

    Imagine this: I would not be on Jane’s blog, commenting, talking directly to you, Darrelyn, if we all hadn’t met up so easily on Twitter.

    @DebraMarrs on Twitter

  2. @latta

    Enjoyed your piece, Darrelyn. For those of you ‘considering’ Twitter, it would serve you well to at least sign up and ‘lock up’ your name or whatever identity you may choose, even if you do not use the account right now. When the entire world is competing for online real estate, even what may be thought of as unusual may quickly be taken, either by genuine similarly named folks, or else by poseurs.

    My use of Twitter in the writing part of my life (I have multiple accounts) includes everything from getting inspiration (dip into some conversations for some fascinating dialogue that may be a springboard for creativity) to networking with other poets and fiction writers, real-time chats, passive and endless flow of self-selected valuable information…and on and on. And of course, Twitter can/should be part of any platform-building.

    Twitter also has a very low barrier to entry: it is free, and requires very little technical sophistication to utilise. I consider it both a destination as well as a journey, and more a pleasure than a task.

    I could write all day on your [well-selected] topic, Darrelyn–so will just say that the rewards are far greater than the cost, and i am surprised each day by its bounty.

    karen
    @latta

  3. Kathy Crowley

    Great post on something which is new and pretty exciting for me. I am a writer, and am lucky enough to have a terrific group or writers locally from whom I get support, critiques, sympathy etc. I was not sold on twitter… until about two weeks ago when I put a little more time into it. I agree — I have found inspiration at twitter. And also community. (For ex, just as I was slogging through my agents suggestions on my WIP, I found a fellow twitter giving a funny blow by blow of his copy edits. I was not alone!).
    Anyhow, thanks again for the post and I look forward to reading your posts in the future.

    Kathy

  4. Joseph Allgren

    Thank you for your kind mention of me (@TheDarkEngine). There are some poets who use Twitter directly to "publish" their poems. I have yet to see this done successfully. Crafting a poem as a series of tweets seems to be nothing more than a novelty and is awkward and limiting for the reader. I prefer to disseminate my poetry on Twitter by providing links to poems posted elsewhere.

    Where Twitter is very useful to poets, though, is in providing access to other poets who are thinking in similar ways and struggling with similar problems. For poets in smaller towns it can be especially heartening to be able to finally talk to someone who understands this odd, shared compulsion.

  5. deborah cutler

    Thanks for all of the examples pertaining to the Muse. I also find excitement, confidence and variety with my Muse. I buy educational CD’s on haircutting and coloring. It keeps me focused on new trends,competent in my industry and creative.

  6. Christopher

    Sadly, most of my adventures in social-networking ended in "ad-grevation", however inspiration is such a rare beast, one has to take him down when given the chance, rejoice in its riches and move on to the next kill. If Twitter is that beast, then by all means proceed to that great hunting ground.

    -Christopher

  7. Nina Ward

    Love this article! Its so inspiring to see how many people can connect through Twitter and learn from one another’s experiences. I really admire you Darrelyn, and your talent for connecting and communicating. I’ve really enjoyed your blogs and look forward to the next one!

    Nina Ward

  8. Jenny Kane

    I have been so inspired by your posts Darrelyn, and I am very happy to read that you will be a monthly contributor!

    I have been interested in joining the world where "tweet" does not refer to a singing bird. However, I was reluctant to try. Thank you for sharing your experience. My Muse thanks you. I hope to be your next follower soon!

  9. TheLady22

    Loved the column Darrelyn! I absolutely find inspiration from my fellow tweeters, and some encouragement too, which is always helpful. Since I write for a living, its hard to come home and write for myself. Twitter gives me a chance to pursue something creative, be around creative people, without the daunting blank page. After all, no matter how tired I am, I think I can muster 140 characters…right?

  10. Mary

    I have been slow to try twitter but am now convinced to give it a shot. I never imagined there would be so many creative people on twitter. My Muse just loves to feed.

    Mary

  11. Rob Hendrix

    Yes, that is so true. I’ve just started to enjoy twitter and have found valuable information and inspirtion, too. A new argument for my wife on why I spend so much time online. Thank you, Darrelyn

  12. Crystal

    Great article! When I first heard of Twitter, I also thought it sounded like a waste of time, but once I started tweeting I was hooked. I’ve been able to connect with writers and artists around the globe that I never would have been able to communicate with if not for Twitter. I’ve also "befriended" some very interesting individuals who share stories that inspire the Muse within me. Now I can’t imagine writing daily without Twitter by my side!

    Crystal

  13. Barbara Weibel

    Well done Darrelyn!
    I am fascinated to hear how people view twitter – there seems to be no end to the way people use it. While it may be your muse, I see it as the most important marketing tool of our time, one that is converting the way corporate America relates to their customers. I wrote about this view in a recent post you may find interesting: http://holeinthedonut.com/2009/04/14/twitter-most-important-marketing-tool-traveltuesday/

    I enjoy your posts and was pleased to hear you’ll be writing on a regular basis.
    Barbara

  14. Robert Olen Butler

    In tweeting from Hell, the locale of my imminently forthcoming new novel, I am treating the tweet as an implicit, 140-character art form. A little micro-fictionish, a little haikuish. The tweets are all new material: for me they are tiny, retrospective meditations on the world I created. I am loving the form.

    Robert Olen Butler

  15. Carolyn Patin-Jones

    Wow! Certainly "food for thought"! I have recently discovered Twitter. I am still learning all about how it works and the benefits it provides to me and others.

    I agree with you that it provides nourishment when looked at and used as a positive tool. My interest is photography, even though I enjoy following your tweet for writers. 🙂

    I am happy to hear that you will be a monthly contributor to this blog. I am learning so much about writers (and appreciation of them). I look forward to future writings from you. You do your fellow writers a great justice!

    A fan. 🙂

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