Every writer knows the agony of writer’s block—staring at the screen for minutes or hours on end, utterly incapable of coming up with the next paragraph. When you’re working on a full-length book, those hours of misery are more than paid for by the pleasure of completing the final product. But what about when all you’re trying to do is make your daily appearance on Twitter?
It’s not worth taking hours away from your writing time to agonize over 140 characters of social media content. So what’s a writer suffering from Tweeter’s Block to do? Here are six quick and easy suggestions that any writer can use to write a tweet on the most uninspired of days—so you can stop staring at that empty Twitter field and get back to your manuscript.
What are you reading? If you’re stumped about what to say on Twitter, looking at your reading list is a great place to start. Tweet about which book you can’t put down—the one that’s been keeping you up at night for days. But instead of just saying “reading Memoirs of a Geisha,” throw in a personal twist: “devouring Memoirs of a Geisha—wishing Sayuri would end up with the Chairman already!”
What’s cooking? If there’s one interest all humans have in common, it’s food. If you just put a coffee cake in the oven or brought home a bunch of fresh asparagus from the farmer’s market, go ahead and make everyone else jealous. Food-related tweets can generate a surprising volume of responses—after all, it’s much easier to fire back an “mmm!” than to try to think of something witty or insightful to say in response to a more serious tweet.
Give a progress report. If you already have an established following of writers and critique partners who are interested in your work, giving progress reports on your latest manuscript (and responding to other writers’ progress reports) can be a good way to connect and commiserate. How many words did you write today? How many chapters did you revise? Writing can be a lonely job, and many writers are using Twitter to find encouragement during the long, quiet hours of solo work.
Share the good news. Twitter is the perfect venue for announcements and bursts of good news are especially welcome. Did you get an agent? Get a great review in a blog or newspaper? Finish your work-in-progress? Tweet it up! But don’t limit yourself to your own good news—use Twitter to give props to friends and fellow writers on their achievements. After all, Twitter is all about building community, and one way of doing that is to celebrate good news together.
Share a link. Throughout your week, make a habit of bookmarking interesting articles, blogs, or websites you come across. That way, whenever you find yourself confronted with a case of Tweeter’s Block, all you have to do is dip into your bank of interesting links. Become a collector of interesting and useful information that pertains to your field. If you’re a fiction writer, this might mean neat etymology websites or pages with handy query-writing tips. If you’re a nature writer, this could mean anything from news pieces about global warming to photo sets of wild mushrooms.
Share a quote. Inspirational, funny, or thought-provoking quotations are another popular thing to tweet on lazy days. In the same way that you start a link collection, keep an ongoing collection of quotes that pertain to your interests. Don’t wait for Tweeter’s Block to strike before hunting for neat quotations—in general, the quotes that piqued your interested throughout the week will be much more interesting than the ones you dredge up at the last minute. And remember: the more original or topical the quotation, the more likely it is to be retweeted by your followers.