I’ve always been a “doer.” I like to do things. I like to see what other people have done before me. I figure out how they were successful. Then that’s what I’m going to do.
Before, I would grab copies of the latest magazine with my hero on the front and devour the cover article, marking up the pages with my blue pen and yellow highlighter. (Yup, I’m a nerd and PROUD.) Anytime they mentioned anything they did that helped them get to where they are today, I’d copy it down.
Now? My head is exploding because everything’s so darn OPEN. With this new social world, everything is a behind-the-scenes look.
I’m a writer. That’s what I do and that’s who I am. I tell other people – if you want to be a writer, follow your favorite writer on Twitter.
I found Terry McMillan on Twitter and I almost crapped myself. I love her. LOVE.HER. Her books changed my life. Made me realize that I want to be a writer, that I wanted to put words in order, in a way that made people feel something.
I read Waiting to Exhale waaaaaay too young, but it was riveting…It was entertaining. Her characters were full-bodied, complex, full of richness. Disappearing Acts (an underrated book if there ever was one) made me understand the complexity of relationships and how things don’t always turn out how you planned, but if you keep on loving yourself, things will work out.
So back to my point. Terry McMillan is on Twitter. If I want to ask her something, it’s one click away. Imagine if you were growing up in 1985. There is no way to easily connect with people you admire if they aren’t in your immediate family. They just aren’t readily available.
With these tools. it is so much easier to network. To find a mentor. To learn things it might take you years to learn the hard way. It’s a great time to be bold. To be inquisitive. To gather advice that will put you ahead of the pack.
I go looking for more of Terry McMillan’s social profiles and I find her on Facebook. I see she has a blog, but alas, it’s dusty. (Dustier than mine, I might add! Of course, she’s a best-selling author and I’m…well, me. So perhaps blogging for fun isn’t on her to-do list. Point taken.)
But even on her blog (with one post back in 2007), you can tell she is open. Honest. Passionate real. Check out this tidbit she left for aspiring writers:
Know that I have your best interest at heart, and hope I might be able to help you tell your story. We need them. But we need well-written and compelling stories that are driven by something other than the desire to get rich and famous and on that bestseller list. It doesn’t quite work like this. The drive should come from inside your heart and in the pit of your stomach. If you already know the outcome, you’re wasting your time. If you’re only interested in telling folks what you already know, you’re wasting your time. Nobody really cares. If you’re writing to convince us of something, nobody really cares. If you’re writing to show us how smart you are, nobody really cares. The idea is that when you finish writing the story, as the writer, you have gone through what your characters have experienced and as the writer, you are hopefully a changed if not better, more empathetic and compassionate person for having written it. Otherwise, you’ve wasted your time. And the readers.
Straight-from-the-gut, pure unadulterated honesty. Gotta love it.
Embrace this new media landscape. Make it your own. Seek those people you admire and ask them, point blank, what’s their advantage? How did they do it? How can YOU do it?
Make it happen.