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Twitter Boosts Creative Expression by Robin L. Flanigan

I resisted — strongly resisted — having a presence on Twitter for years. I was too busy and didn’t have any more time in my schedule to maintain yet another social media account.

And then…you know where this is going, don’t you?…in September 2011 I bit the bullet and received a Twitter tutorial that has, and I say this without exaggeration, changed my life.

I have been introduced to literary magazines that have published my essays, writing conferences that I have attended, jaw-dropping narratives that inspire my own work, people I keep in touch with both online and in person, and more. The resources, inspiration, and validation I have received from the interactions I have on Twitter monumentally impact my creative expression.

And this all happens with the smallest investment: minutes a day.

The story I have the most fun telling when describing Twitter’s influence has to do with a local graphic designer, Eric Wilder, who started following me shortly after I signed up. We eventually met in person (as I’d done with a handful of other followers) and decided to co-host what has become an annual Literary Party to celebrate writing. Because of these parties, one woman learned last year that the college where she taught as an adjunct professor would foot the bill for her to attend a national writing conference. Another woman met a man she’d seen read his poetry a few months earlier; she told him he inspired her to start writing poems again after a 25-year hiatus. I came away from our most recent party with three lunch dates (all with writers I know only professionally, not personally) and the possibility of a new client.

You can never predict where things may lead.

But I know that the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities come your way. And when it doesn’t take much time, well, that’s quite the bonus.

Robin L. Flanigan launched a writing career in the early ‘90s while living in a Baltimore graveyard. She worked in newsrooms for eleven years, winning several national awards, and as a staffer with the Democrat and Chronicle received the Dean Gysel award for best newsroom writer as judged by outside editors. In 2005, she became a full-time freelance writer for magazines, newspapers, websites, and marketing collateral. Her essays have appeared in The Sun, Talking Writing, Motherwell, and several other literary magazines, as well as two anthologies.

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