August 04, 2014

Let People Tweet About Writing Books, OK?

working-on-my-novel-1 (1)Twitter is an unfiltered brain dump. I have written before about the concept of a filter and how we should all have one – but sadly no, I still don’t. Obviously there needs to be an element of common sense, but on the whole it’s nice just to tweet what you really think, isn’t it? And we all know that the amount of (or should I say, lack of) inhibition when tweeting behind a keyboard is akin to have two pints anyway. So yeah, unfiltered.

Rather comically, I have had about 17 “ideas for a novel” this year. And yes, most of them have been a pile of steaming turd. As soon as I get to chapter three (always chapter three!) I think screw this, I hate all my characters, they are boring as sin, have shitty names and no personality. And all I am doing is offending myself in the worst way because I MADE THEM UP. Creating boring characters is even worse than being a boring person IRL. Because you’re proving that you can’t even a create a fictional fun personality.

Now now, don’t worry, I’m not being too deprecating. I have got one good idea on the go at the moment and it’s far from boring. But, obviously, with every single one of these 17 ideas I charged online and opened up Twitter and shouted down some echoey corridors of the Internet: “I’ve got an idea guys! I’m writing a book!” It’s a total curse, considering as I have two people who I’ve been emailing about this idea who have told me there’s no rush but at the same time, telling me to maybe hurry up a little. But that’s the thing, everyone’s got an agent these days, but who cares, you’ve got to give birth to the book first before anyone will give you any sort of slap on the back.

I stumbled across the Twitter account Working On My Novel a few weeks ago and my initial thought was “That’s me and my friends! We tweet about working on novels!” My next thought was: “that’s quite funny”. My third thought was: “Leave everyone alone!” And finally: “Is this dude paying the people whose tweets he’s stealing and putting in his own “book”? Oh, the irony and meta-ness (sp?) of it all.

Sounds like quite a lazy book really. Just a book of tweets, that aren’t even his.

The concept behind the book is that Twitter is a “literary procrastination”, but I know plenty of authors who tweeted, and wrote their books in between. It’s like during university when everyone used to update painful statuses on Facebook like “5,000 down of my dissertation! Only 13,000 more to go!” and then so on and so forth, until “DONE! Finished with my diss, now for 55 page of edits! I’ll keep you posted!” We lived and breathed the process together. Writing a book appears no different to the authors floating around Twitter, except WAY, WAY more interesting. I remember rather enjoying Dawn O’Porter’s updates on her book. It was quite nice to think she was at her computer typing out a book that I’d later read, and enjoy. And right now, with my own writing, I think I’d go crazy if I didn’t have a social outlet of going RAHHH, WORDS! HELP!

Related to this, I read a gross article recently called There are seven reasons not to write novels (wow upbeat) so I clicked on it out of curiosity. He is stating lots of reasons why everyone “may have a book in them, but that’s where it should stay”. He sort of contradicts himself by saying that “precisely anyone, whatever his or her profession, can write a novel, it is an activity that lacks merit and mystery.” His advice for writers is that it “won’t make you rich” and it “can take months or even years of work to write an average-length novel that some people then might want to read”. I read this article with a wrinkle etched across my forehead because I’m not sure he’s grasped that a lot of young writers don’t want the “fame” or “money” and they are certainly not scared off by it taking “months even years”. They (we) just want to write a bloody book. We can’t own our houses but we might be able to own our own book. If we have to slog away at a slow-paced career as the jokey “millennial and skint” generation, then we will definitely not give up a fight to produce something brilliant off our own backs. We are the generation of rolling up our sleeves and saying “OK, the system might not be working out for me, but I will try other avenues.” We have a WIFI connection and a few ideas, and at least that’s something.

I enjoy tweeting about my book ideas and I enjoy reading other people’s. SO SUE ME. The most recent was the one below from Ryan O’Connell who I massively respect as a writer. It’s hard, so let us tweet about it.

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  1. I’ve just a review copy of this book, think I might print out your last, brilliant, paragraph to refer to if it starts getting me down!

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