Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, #AmWriting!

If you're on Twitter, and you're a writer, reader or someone interested in books, you've probably seen the hashtag #amwriting now and then. Hashtags are the way Tweeters keep track of large conversations within Twitter; by clicking on a hashtag, you can see all posts so tagged, and so follow the conversation. #Amwriting is an ongoing conversation in which writers find each other and share what they're doing. When I'm writing, I use it now and then when I pop in to Twitter to take a break.

Anyway, two days ago, August 3, was the second anniversary of the use of #amwriting tag, started by writer Johanna Harkness. You can find Johanna's blog and the #amwriting anniversary post here; here you'll also find links to lots of other writers celebrating the day.

The #amwriting tag has definitely had an impact on my writing life; I love that I can see who else is out there, share what we're doing and offer each other support and encouragement. Writing is a solitary activity but that doesn't mean you have to do it in a vacuum; getting in touch with other writers makes a world of difference to me when I'm trying to hammer out my own work. It's so inspiring to be part of this wonderful community. Thank you Johanna and to all the writers!

I'm going to use this post to inaugurate a new occasional feature on my blog, Writing Life, where I'll post about my own writing process and thoughts on a once-in-a-while basis. I think key to being committed to my writing is and has been talking about it to other people in my life. When it's a secret, not only is it easy to slack off but it's easy to think, "I'm not really a writer." But telling people about it makes it real. I took a first big step in this direction recently when I included the phrase "currently working on her first novel" in a biographical statement I gave to the organizer of the Salem Literary Festival. It gave me goosebumps to do it but saying it might make it come true!