No relation to my blog whatsoever - I just appreciate our new puppy during Covid-Quarantine :).

December 2020/January 2021

To Writer's Lift or not to Writer's Lift? (Disclosure: I'm a not)

What is your writer history — how did you get here, and why do other writers follow you on social media? Have you written something they loved, offered helpful advice, shared your experience or knowledge?

My history: I’ve written poetry and fiction since I was very young (shout out to my grade two teacher, who assigned a one-page story then kindly offered to give me a one-week extension for my ‘mini-novelette’ of 25 pages that still needed fine-tuning). My first poem was published in the local paper at age thirteen after the couple that I babysit for next door found my scribbles left behind on their coffee table and decided to mail it in on my behalf. I also produced a lot of bad poetry as a teen, but it was a start (it helped build my vocabulary and I learned to appreciate the rhythm and flow words can offer one another).

I always knew I wanted to write, create, to share stories. The muse burned in me well before I had anything worthy to share. I spent most of my youth reading poetry and novels of varying merit in my bedroom, hiding under the covers with a flashlight, staying up well past my bedtime. Hungry for the words of others whose experiences and stories revealed a world beyond my limited existence, whose gift for story-telling and weaving words left me in awe.

Despite the call to read, tell, and share, I’m new to the Writers Community. Life and parental pressure took me down a different career path into healthcare — which, honestly, I cannot regret, as it gave me so much. My father was a doctor (GP), my mom, a nurse. They were both firm believers in choosing a ‘safe’ career. I ended up going to medical school at the University of Toronto to become a Speech-Language Pathologist; the one healthcare career I could find that still involved language and a love for communication.

I moved from employed therapist to self-employed, then surprised myself by launching my own healthcare company in my early thirties after the Ontario government told all therapist contractors they would be let go. I chose to create a new home for myself, and them. I ran that business for seven and a half years, contracting our team to the government. I grew it to forty-five therapists that I managed across various disciplines, providing home healthcare services across a vast Ontario region. It helped me to build confidence in my voice, to step forward and share my ideas and vision — with the added bonus that I was able to weave my story-telling skills and love for compassion and validation into my leadership role (caring not just for our clients, but for what proved to be an amazing team).

After a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2012, I made the difficult decision to sell the business I had founded and loved. It broke my heart, but I needed to care for myself instead of others for a bit. Part of my healing process was to return to writing. It helped me exercise my brain (along with Sudoku, reading, walking, and cooking — stories for another day!) It assisted my recovery (for more details, see my creative nonfiction piece @nightandsparrow, Issue 8, or watch for a more extended piece on this topic, coming soon — I will post the journal link once able).

The opportunity to return to my first love, writing, was just one of the gifts of my head injury. I was fortunate to receive early support and accolades early on. My first novel, Habitan (which I would love to re-edit with all I’ve learned from flash!), was longlisted for the 2019 @SFWP Literary Awards. This was followed by competition finalist/shortlist/semifinalist/wins/placements and publications at various journals over the last two years (@BlankSpacesMag, @SpiderRoadPress, @LongridgeReview, @LPBMagazine, @RumiateMag, @screencrafting, @hippocampusmag, @erbacce, @publicpoetry, etc). Each time I received encouragement or found success, I was surprised but delighted. Someone enjoyed my words!

So, back to my original comment — I’m new to the writers community, and very new to Twitter. I only joined Twitter last April (my partner had set up my account when my first book launched, but I didn’t feel capable at the time). Everyone I’ve encountered since I became active on Twitter has been so supportive and kind — despite all the warnings you hear about haters.

Which brings me to my original question — to writer’s lift or not to writer’s lift?

At 52, I may not fully understand the concept, but it seems to me to be a way of increasing your follower numbers and nothing more. I guess I’m old school — I’d rather be followed by someone who agreed/liked/appreciated some advice or comment I tweeted, or even better, read something I’d written and decided to follow me. So every time I see the tweet “Let’s do a writer’s lift,” I feel like it’s not the right thing for me to do. It doesn’t sit with who I am.

I also want to see the feed/posts from people that are actually writing/have written something, versus just trying to collect twitter followers. I’m too old to care about the number of followers I have in theory, but I do want to share my work, and I realize that having a huge number of followers would be wonderful in terms of sharing my voice to a larger audience. However, since I only follow people if I value something they’ve said, connected with the advice they shared, or because they made me laugh or smile (or in the case of journals, I’ve actually read at least some of their publication)... honestly, how could I ask someone to follow me blindly? Why should you?

So for me, they’ll be no ‘writer’s lifts.’ I hope you find me anyway. Or perhaps, I’ll find you first. Then, let's get reading/writing.

If you already followed me back, thank you (I truly liked what you have to say, or have read some of your work).

Cheers to you, whether an established writer or just working at it. Love yourself for your perseverance, your grit, your commitment. I say we keep sending our voices out into the world; I’ve found someone is always listening.


*Feb 1st addition to above blog: Found out today you can block hashtags on twitter so they don't clutter up your feed. Blocked the hashtag "writerslift" today and already seeming more posts of those I follow. Thanks to members of my writing community for sharing this tip!