When I was writing my first YA novel, I was told by my tutors on an MA in creative writing that I should have a good strong media profile. In due course, I opened a Twitter account. I felt very brave but didn’t really know what to do with it. I may have had it for 10 years by now and I am proud to say I have 1005 followers - well, I did earlier today, but it’s a fickle place so I may have lost a few by now.

I am a reactive tweeter - if there’s a name for one who mostly comments on other people’s posts, then I don’t know it. A ‘respondtwit’ perhaps? But this way I have stumbled through the years feeling obliged to make comments on all sorts of things such as the bow on a dog’s head, which dress someone should buy, when I wear a mask, how to cope with ptsd, what I use as a bookmark, what I think of the government and I reached my peak today when I passed on an idea of how to use up the odd bits of a bar shampoo. What that very simple bit of advice is, you will see from the helpful photo.*

Using Twitter hasn’t sold any books as far as I know. I do sometimes remember to put #writingcommunity or #amwriting after my littlest opinion or advice, although the latter feels like a lie as I am actually procrastinating by tweeting at that particular moment. I have offered free books and find that really satisfying when I pack them up and send them off to Northern Ireland or Wales or a remote Scottish island.

But the real bonus for me is the peek into other people’s lives. Wonderful addresses like @peoplesellingmirrors give a glimpse of ordinary rooms sometimes with extraordinary people who must be completely unaware that they have included their toes or a hand holding a phone in the image or in one glorious photo, a room full of mirrors reflecting mirrors, back views, top-of-head views, feet views and legs all bouncing from one reflection to the next. 

Bald cats, fluffy cats, fat cats, mean cats, loving cats - all have countless retweets and followers. More than the dogs.

There are views of woodland paths disappearing into misty new adventures. Photos or paintings of cottages that look so delicious they might be edible, there are inspiring quotes that may or not make sense, 6-word stories, 4-line stories, first lines of stories. Strange quotes or incredible feats of children, words people have heard for the first time and totally improbable words that Susie Dent has found from centuries old language but which are extremely relevant today. Shepherds, builders, architects, plane spotters, librarians, millers, lords, ladies and royalty - all reduced to the role of a tweeter.

The list and variety goes on and on - such a rich resource for the writer. I want to write stories of incredible children jumping through a mirror and riding on a fat cat to rescue the librarian from the strong  pull of mist as it enshrouds her edible cottage …

But I wouldn’t mind selling a book or two first.

Annie Try has four published novels, her debut Losing Face and, more recently, the Dr Mike Lewis stories. The latter include mystery, healing, extraordinary clients and a rather unusual clinical psychologist. Her latest three books are published by Instant Apostle.

*this is a small muslin bag full of scraps left from old soap bars, which is used with the bag tightly closed. 

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