I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Twitter.
Sometimes it frustrates me – especially when I can feel myself wasting valuable writing time looking at the strange things people feel compelled to ‘say out loud’ rather than to their cat or best friend. Why can’t I stop myself reading? Why? Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m the uninvited guest at a really cool party where everyone seems to know each other and I’m just lurking at the back of the room scoffing the free canapes and wondering where the loo is.
And then I find myself laughing at a piece of 140 character genius wit or I discover a link to something genuinely interesting. I find out what people are up to and I stumble across fascinating people, blogs and information I would never have found otherwise, and then I decide that I like Twitter again.
But the thing I love most about Twitter is that it inspires me (and I’m not talking about those deep and profound quotes that pop up every now and again, or references to scripture or images of a seascape). No. Twitter inspires me in a very practical way. Because, when I see my timeline filled with tweets about an author’s book launch, or shared congratulations to someone on their publication day, or a link to a fabulous window display in Waterstones, or someone having a crisis about their edits, it gives me a ‘real-time’ kick up the bum.
As someone still seeking that elusive ‘traditional’ publishing deal, reading these tweets may often feel like virtual window-shopping; a bizarre form of emotional torture. And yet, as I press my nose against the laptop screen and stare longingly at the tweets I wish were mine, somehow, it helps. Seeing the success of other authors and their books on a daily basis simply helps me to keep writing, when – sometimes – I feel like maybe I’d be better off taking up jogging or cleaning the bathroom (God forbid!).
I will probably fall out with it again next week and not speak to it for a few days, but for now, Twitter stays. We may even go for a drink later.