One of my earliest favorite authors was Beverly Cleary, and I read everything she wrote before I turned eight years old. Seriously. I remember our school librarian (yes, they were called librarians back then) let us write a letter to our favorite author. She researched the addresses and provided everything we needed (including stamps) and we were off. I, of course, picked Ms. Cleary. I never got a reply; I don’t even know if she got my letter. Despite this, I took great pride in being able to personally connect with an author. We connect with authors all the time when we embark on their journey and revel in the world they have created for us … that goes without saying. But to be able to thank an author and express sincere appreciation for what they have given us is priceless.
Times Have Changed
I’m sure it’s possible to hand write a personal letter to one’s favorite author. I haven’t done this since I was a little kid in Maine, but I’m sure it can be done. But why would I do this when I have social media?
One of the reasons I joined Twitter was so that I could connect to other writers. At the time, I meant writers more like me (unpublished, finally getting serious, newbies). I suppose I just didn’t realize how easily Twitter connects us to people (and on such a personal level). I can check Twitter and see what my favorite authors are up to (and most of them update frequently if not obsessively). Not only that, I have the capability to affect their world, albeit small, as they have mine by communicating with them with comments, replies, articles, etc. Wow!
Not too long ago I Tweeted R.L. Stine. I remember diving into his books about the time that I finished off Beverly Cleary’s books. I had found my true interest … fear. I remember that I read everything by Stine that I could get my hands on.
What prompted the thank you? Before I Tweeted him, I finished an interview in the latest Writer’s Digest that was about him. While reading about his writing and books, I thought back to my experience with his words and the affect that he had on me and my love of fear. Instead of hand writing a letter, I was able to share my message, all 140 characters but still, via Twitter. After I sent it, I didn’t have to wonder if he got it because I know he did. He may or may not reply, but that’s okay. I expressed my thank you and it was so easy to do.
Words of Wisdom
Another reason I love Twitter is the daily advice I get from the writers I follow. They don’t direct this advice toward me, nor do they even label it advice. They are simply sharing tidbits from their life that end up having a huge effect on me.
For example, several months ago I was having a crappy writing day. I logged onto Twitter and saw this Tweet from Judy Blume: “Only problem with reading a really good book when you’re trying to write one – it leaves you sure you should burn your pathetic attempt.”
Okay, probably doesn’t sound like advice, and maybe advice is the wrong word for this particular Tweet; however, I think you still get my point. These writers, no matter how famous, are still people. They still have to go through the same, at times, mundane tasks. They still have to spend lengthy amounts of time shuffling through words, picking out the gems, and chucking the junk just to unearth a great story.
Just reading that Judy Blume doubted her work for a moment totally put things in perspective for me. Okay, I guess that’s the word I wanted earlier. I love the perspective that Twitter gives me.
I gotta go back to advice, though. I do get great words of advice and writing quotes from Writer’s Relief as well as some of the publishing houses.
Here’s a quote I Retweeted last week:
Back to R.L. Stine
Seriously though, if you had asked me when I was ten years old if I would ever be “following” R.L. Stine and would I ever “Tweet” him to say thank you, I would have looked at you like, well, you were a creature from one of his books. What a funny time we live in these days.
I need to go check Twitter now and see what’s going on …