Writing books is a no-feedback game. Certainly you can ask friends to review your work, but that’s dangerous. The truth is you know when it’s good and you know when it’s not and if you’re asking for opinions you’re likely not doing your best work.
That said, I recently used Twitter to find out what themes and ideas would stimulate thought. I would tweet an idea I was writing about, and if it got re-tweeted or stimulated conversation, I was more eager to use it in my book.
I found out many things using Twitter. I found out people are much more tough than you’d think, and I didn’t have to coddle them. I also found out I could speak with authority and nobody would be offended, that is, if I stayed within my areas of expertise.
I also found people really don’t like it when I go negative. Even if I tweet about how much I hate my stapler, people get upset. That’s mostly a personality thing. I’m sure Rush Limbaugh could get away with a little more than I can, but my audience generally doesn’t want to hear me gripe about things.
1. Tweet a chapter idea and ask if anybody has given the idea any thought. If you hear crickets, skip that chapter.
2. Got a powerful one-liner? Tweet it and see if it gets re-tweeted. You might turn that one-liner into a complete paragraph or more.
3. Stuck on an idea? Tweet and ask anybody if they’ve read an interesting article about it. Twitter is a great resource tool.
4. Use Twitter to summarize an idea. The great thing about 140 characters is it makes you condense your thinking, which is often the essence of good writing.
How have you used Twitter to improve your writing?