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About my Twitter anniversary

I have been rather quiet on social media recently due to a week away from home. My Twitter anniversary came as something of a surprise, when it was flagged up to me – not least because I have now been tweeting, twittering or otherwise being a twit for five years. (Photo from Twitter)

Figure five decorated with coloured scrolls and paisley shapes on a pink background

My reasons for joining Twitter may be found in an earlier post.

Why have I continued with Twitter for 5 years? The short answer is that I enjoy Twitter. Although it is known as a place where feelings run high and people are nasty to each other, that has not been my experience.

I follow accounts for news, writers, books, countryside, photography, heritage, nature (especially wildflowers and birds), people I have met offline, church, music, A to Z bloggers, over 40s bloggers and a few random accounts of bloggers. I also ‘follow back’ people, who seem to have something in common with me. Twitter analytics tells me that most of my followers are interested in dogs.

From Twitter I learn lots of things. I do not watch television at home. However the information I find on Twitter for news and weather keeps me up-to-date. My knowledge of the names of wildflowers and some of their characteristics has been helped by #wildflowerhour.

While I was away recently I watched several quiz shows on my hostess’s television. I was amazed how many answers I could guess correctly. I haven’t learned from TV. Twitter and books are my teachers!

When people tweet about TV programmes, I am not particularly interested, but I do become aware of the programmes, which are being shown. At one time I’d have had this information from the Radio Times. Nowadays it is available online.

I keep away from political debate. If something seems to be happening locally, which might be newsworthy, I do not Tweet about the emergency vehicles I have seen. The emergency services need to be able to work without undue attention. Afterwards I might write about something, such as a recent fire. I sometimes retweet other people’s tweets. There has to be a balance about how much one retweets and original posts. Many of my posts alert my followers to blog posts – either mine or those on the More than Writers’ blog to which I am a contributor. I sometimes interact with others, but not many people reply to most of my tweets.

Since I joined, Twitter has changed from 140 to 280 characters. I could usually say what I wanted in the original number of characters. I have just about become used to the longer Tweets. I also find the Add a Tweet facility quite useful as one can produce a thread of tweets all at once. I have begun to add descriptions to my photos for those with impaired or limited vision. Tweetdeck is very useful for Twitter chats, such as #wildflowerhour.

As I have followed more people on Twitter the number of posts I have liked compared to the number of my tweets (including retweets) has increased.

I perhaps spend too much time scrolling through Twitter. However I do not watch TV, so I regard Twitter as my entertainment.

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Why it is good to meet up with other writers

Last weekend I attended a writers’ conference. The main theme was short story writing.

The weather was perfect – dry but not too hot. There was plenty of good food, beautiful scenery, birds to watch and more besides.

The speakers and most of those attending the sessions are members of the Association of Christian Writers (ACW), which has a new website. There is a link to its daily blog to which I contribute seven times a year.

The first time I attended one of these weekends I wrote a post about how over-stimulated I was afterwards. Now that I have met many of the people before, it is not so overwhelming. They are the sort of people with whom one resumes a friendship as if we met more frequently. The phrase, picking up where we left off, springs to mind. Quite a few of us keep in touch on Facebook.

I had been feeling short of writing inspiration and enthusiasm for blogging before I went. The writing exercises and conversations with other people helped me write a short story and two poems on the Saturday. I also decided what to write about for my next More than Writers blog post.

Because I was still bruised from a fall in our garden over a week earlier, I didn’t venture on a long walk on the Saturday afternoon, but stayed in, putting a few pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. It had only been started by our group and had 1000 pieces. The usual comment from passers-by was, “Have you finished it yet?”

I also borrowed a children’s book from the library at Scargill House and read it from cover to cover during the weekend. My next post here should be about books. I have been reading more than writing this month.

The weekend ended with a service of Holy Communion in the beautiful chapel and Sunday lunch. The leaders gave the talk in the service, encouraging us in life as well as in writing.

 

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Writing Day and some new directions

Last October I attended a Writers’ Day for the first time since I was a student. I mentioned it briefly here.

Another post tells the story of how I felt after a whole weekend in the company of writers.

I recently made a trip to visit relatives and attend the Writers’ Day in London.  One of the speakers was Amy Boucher Pye, who has written Bible Reading notes for New Daylight, which I have been using almost continuously since its inception.  (I have tried other notes as well.)

The other speaker was Andrew Chamberlain of the Creative Writer’s Toolbelt.

It was good to see some familiar faces and to meet some new people.  I found the talks interesting and learned some things about my writing habits in the workshop led by Amy.  The standard of the pieces which participants read out was very high.  I felt like a beginner in their company.

It was also good to hear a presentation from Sophie Neville about the Bible Society.  She was so enthusiastic that if I were happy to drive myself around, I’d be volunteering at once.  (I think I have got over my fear of public speaking.)

I bought some books, which I have read and intend to review in my next post.

I had to leave early to catch a train home, so missed the discussion at the end.

So what are the changes of direction?

My original blog, Sue’s considered trifles, has not had any new material on it for some considerable time.  However, due (I think) to the way WordPress links a user name to the first blog, it is still attracting new followers.  I signed up for a poetry course from WordPress and decided to post my efforts on Sue’s considered trifles, rather than interrupt my weekly posts here.

I also found myself lured into Goodreads.  I was attracted by a giveaway of a sequel to one of the books I bought.

I find the autumn challenging, with the shorter days and lots of pressures on my time.  Hopefully I will be able to find a balance between writing on- and off-line and life in general.  Social media also need to be kept within reasonable limits.