Since joining Twitter two years ago, I’ve found a wonderful community of writers, writers I didn’t even know that existed, who I’m sure didn’t know anything about me either. Twitter opened up this entire world of people who cared about writing, who loved to read and write short stories and flash fiction, who were all living the writer’s life. I was living in a writing/literature desert, but here was an oasis.
I enrolled in an MFA program largely to fast track my writing skills, to give my self a chance to concentrate on writing in an inclusion, supportive environment. I didn’t start writing creatively until my sophomore year of undergrad, so when I graduated I didn’t know how to continue writing without the deadlines and the feedback. I hadn’t experienced the life enough to know how to continue on my own. The MFA helped further my own writing independence. But after graduating, I faced the same divide. No more deadlines. No more readers. No more comments on my work. The cohort I had established shriveled. There wasn’t even a chance to talk about our favorite stories or novels, because everyone fled.
Before Twitter, I’d publish a story, and I’d never know if anyone had read it outside my family, and it became obvious that my stories largely, weren’t their favorite kind of stories. Though they were usually supportive, they weren’t my ideal readers. So who, if anyone was reading any of these flash stories? Well, probably not many people, just those coming to read their favorite known writers in their favorite lit journals, giving me a chance. And I’m grateful anytime someone gives my work a chance. I assume that my name doesn’t mean much yet, so I’m thankful any time someone gives up some of their time to read some of my work. This is the chance we take with each publication. Writing, for ourselves, sure, but hoping someone will read and enjoy our stories.
Which brings me to the real reason for this post: over the last two years, because of Twitter, and I hope my own growth as a writer, and because of my own desire to support other writers and their work, I’ve seen an upshot in the reading and comment on my writing. I’m so appreciative of this development, but I feel that saying thank you isn’t enough, that these words just don’t convey my sense of gratitude. For my family, to show them love, I often buy them little gifts or complete tasks or chores. That’s a hard thing to do for the people, the writers, who have been so supportive, who have motivated me to keep striving in an often silent world. So this thank you, though it may be meager, is for all of my new online friends, the readers of my work, the writers living the life, refusing to let others feel so silent, so lonely. Even a quick world, a quote, a retweet is a bang on the door letting me know that you’re out there, that we’re in this together.