Until recently, I have been a pretty passive Twitter user. It was something people said I should use to promote my blog, so I connected it to my WordPress feed and called it a day. Now that my alter ego (Phoebe Darqueling over at For Whom The Gear Turns) has a book coming out in roughly six months, I decided it is time to up the ante.
I’ve always understood the reason for hashtags, but I never really bothered. It turns out, there is a pretty cool and small community of folks who participate in some challenges specifically for writers. I’ll include a list at the bottom of my favorite hashtags, but right now I want to focus on one in particular: #Friday5th
The idea behind this weekly challenge is to turn to any page of your work in progress and share a sentence or two. Sometimes, the lines are funny, sometimes they are sad, and sometimes they are super boring and just happen to be the fifth line a person wrote that day. From a platform-building perspective, it is a great way to meet other writers and gain followers, but I learned some important lessons of my own.
Check the Spelling
Yeah, so it turns out #FridayFifth, with the word spelled out, is actually about drinking a fifth of gin… Always double check the spelling a hashtag! They are often shortened or have numbers instead of words (such as #1linewed)
Don’t be a Passive Observer
Sure, putting your tweet out there is a great way to get exposure, but that is precisely what everyone else is there trying to accomplish, too! The best way to get people to like and retweet your submission is to write something good, but almost as important is taking the effort to share your reaction to other people’s tweets. Retweet the ones you like, show them some love (because we all need a little boost sometimes!), and follow other authors if you like what they share. They will probably follow and retweet you back.
How it Changed The Way I Think About Writing
I didn’t want to be one of those boring participants who just shares any old thing, so as I played the game I found myself sculpting my fifth line to make it not only there, but compelling enough to share. My approach to writing has always been with an eye to crafting sentences, not just pouring out words, but I found myself looking at the fifth line of several pages of my WIP and feeling disappointed in what I found. Inevitably, I ended up changing something about the sentence once my attention was called to it, and not only did I get a nice tweet, I also had a stronger sentence for my story.
My Favorite Hashtag Games
Monday: #Mondayblogs (blogs posts about writing), #meta4mon (great metaphors, similes or other turns of phrase), #ministory (tweet a mini story in 5 tweets or less)
Tuesday: #2bittues (any line from your WIP, optional themes are posted), #Teasertues (you guessed it, teasers from your WIP and also book covers in progress)
Wednesday: #wwwBlogs (women writer blogs), #1linewed (post from your WIP, theme is optional), #writerswednesday (highlight a writer you admire)
Thursday: #Thurds (showcasing your work, buy links okay), #1ParagraphThurs (post any paragraph of your WIP as an image. I haven’t done this one yet but I plan to!)
Friday: #FF (Follow Friday, give a shout out to twitter feeds you follow and enjoy), #FridayReads (talk about what you are currently reading) and of course, #Friday5th (post the fifth line of any page of your WIP)
Saturday: #Archive Day (a great one for bloggers, because it is an excuse to post something from your own archive),
I take off Sundays from social media, but if you have any suggestions for great hashtag games for writers on Sunday, or anything other day, please leave a comment!