So much of what happens on Twitter makes no sense to me: the anthropomorphization of creative inspiration, the hostile writing advice, and of course, #PitMad. As far as I can tell, PitMad is an event where you, the aspiring novelist, tweet a short pitch for your latest bestseller. In turn, real live literary agents read your tweet and offer you money, women, and drugs. Then all your wildest dreams come true. Seems legit.
Question everything. Look for the angle. Beware collective thinking.
Cynicism gets a bad rap. I’ve been cynical of pretty much everything since I was a wee little Verastiqui. All it takes is one or two enlightening moments to realize the whole thing is a sham, and the only truth in the world is being true to yourself, that is, being solely responsible for your own thoughts and actions. Perhaps that is why I find it hard to accept the pervasive groupthink among writers on Twitter.
Ella Fitzberry is a girl whose nostril hair grows three feet every time she sees an elephant. But when elephants suddenly grow mullets and the north pole moves to Bakersfield, CA, can Ella make enough spaghetti to confuse the FBI?! #YA #SF #BradPittMad
If I understood #PitMad correctly, literary agents will “like” the tweets they want to publish for millions of dollars. Other writers or fans can “retweet” your pitch to show their support. In the days leading up to September’s #PitMad, a lot of people were tweeting reminders about the rules, but a lot of people were also tweeting things like retweet my pitch and I’ll retweet yours or if you need a retweet let me know or somesuch.
They were not tweeting if I like your pitch, I’ll support it by retweeting.
That’s not a merit-based system. That’s a network-based system, or to put it in High School terms, a popularity contest. That’s how Bobby Bones won Dancing With The Stars and I swear to Jeebus if you ask me how I know that, I will kick you in the shin.
Nobody thinks Angel Mustafa has any chance of winning class president, but when microscopic fungi eats his left eye, all of the girls in his grade go to France. Can Angel find France in the dictionary?! #YA #SF #BradPittMad
So many times I’ll jump on Twitter, skim the timeline, and mutter to myself, we really don’t have time for this. We don’t have time to read the latest 5-star review of your book, we don’t have time to help you look for your muse in the fairy garden, and we certainly don’t have time to participate in follow-trains and writerlifts just so we can pad our follower numbers. Okay, so I totally do the last one, but hey, a man’s gotta market somehow.
Maybe my perspective is skewed as a father, husband, and full-time employee, but it seems to me that the hours in the day are extremely limited. Even now, as I sit here to write this, I’m only doing so as a break from working on Brigham Plaza. The Word docs are actually open behind this Chrome window, waiting for me to return.
Writing is the priority. Not blogging. Not tweeting. Not instagramming.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If you #PitMad and it makes you happy, then I’m happy for you. If you think of your creative inspiration as a being that actually works through you to write stories, fine, okay, you’re cool. Maybe talk to a counselor, but whatever. And if spamming your timeline with excerpts and reviews and not-so-subtle self-promotion floats your boat, then by all means, shine on.
Do what makes you happy, so long as you’re asking the question is this who I really want to be?
It’s tempting to see aspiring authors on Twitter with huge followings and tons of engagement and see that as the model to emulate.
More followers equals more paying readers, right? More success, right?
More self-worth, right?