Social Media · Writing

3 Things Social Media Can Teach Writers.

social mediaLike many writers, I tend to get lost in the vortex that is social media. It can be an endless time waster, however, lately I have come to appreciate that social media has helped me as a writer in a couple of ways.

The two social networks that have opened my eyes the most are Facebook and Instagram. Here’s how:-

1. The Need to Get Out More

Instagram has been great in this regard. Instagram helps you to move away from your desk, out of your seat and moving. People don’t always want to see what’s going on at your writing desk. Get active and take photos of the great outdoors, whether it is a trip, your local coffee shop, out walking or just in your own backyard. Show what your life is like as a writer in more ways than one. Not only does this help you as a writer, but your readers/followers get to know you as a person through the pictures you take.

2. Learn to Get ‘Up Close & Personal’

As an introvert, Facebook has made me realise I need to learn to break down some barriers and get a bit more personal. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find this to be the biggest challenge of all when it comes to social media. Of-course you need to set your own boundaries (I won’t show photos of my kids for example), and only post what you feel comfortable with. Again, your readers/followers will appreciate your efforts, pulling down that invisible barrier and making you more approachable.

3. Do What You Feel Comfortable With

Like getting up close and personal with what you post, you also need to feel comfortable with the social networks you are using. When told to start building a platform, many new writers tend to place themselves on numerous social networks. I did this myself, and speaking from my own experience I soon learned that (a) being on too many social networks can become overwhelming and (b) you get to learn which social networks you like best. It’s taken me a few years, but I think I’ve finally figured that all out, which goes to show that building a platform takes time.

What have you learned from social media? Which social media network/s do you like the most/least? Do you feel comfortable with being personal with strangers? 

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This Writer's Life · University · Writing

How Writing Bios Can Help Build Your Platform.

During my studies last trimester I undertook my final writing subject.  My first assignment was to write a non-fiction book proposal.

It didn’t take me long to type up the idea for my book, but what was stopping me in my tracks was writing up the biographical details.  I had to meet certain word limits for my overall assignment, so I had to make sure what I wrote in my bio was not only tight but relevant to my proposal.  What really stumped me was what I had to write within the first paragraph – show why I was well equipped to write this particular book.  Trouble was, I had the knowledge, but I didn’t have the experience to help back it up.

I was stunned by my inexperience and felt like a complete amateur.  Writing my bio helped me assess where I was currently with my writing platform and what needed to be done to make it better.  I had to lift my game, not only within my topic but my writing credits as well.  Writing the bio helped me dig a little deeper within my chosen genres, discovering my angle and therefore my ‘brand’.

By making my bio tighter I managed to discover more about myself, as well as my current strengths and weaknesses within my platform.  There’s plenty of work still to be done!

Have you written a short bio?  Has writing a bio helped you discover your strengths and weaknesses within your platform?  What have you done to help make your platform and bio better?

Free image by Simon Howden courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net