Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 30 October 2014


I wish I had a better grasp of Twitter hashtags. I know what they are and how to use them, but I feel as if there should be a definitive list somewhere so that I can find the ones that I want, that are relevant to me and the uses I want to put them to. I feel they should be used correctly. I am, of course, a control freak.
My grasp of the hashtag is sketchy
Thankfully, the dort's grasp of the avatar
is quite brilliant!

There is a hashtag I use regularly. I use it on Wednesdays. It is #WWWBlogs and I like it. It’s a community thing. I believe that WWW stands for Women Writers Wednesdays and Blogs stands for you... yes, you guessed it... Blogs. The hashtag is for women who write to share their blogs with each other and the world on Wednesdays, so that’s what I do. I have a column on Tweetdeck devoted to the hashtag, and, throughout the day, I refer to it, clicking on links to blogs that I read, or not, and then retweet... or not.

It’s a sort of guilty pleasure, and it’s nice, too. I’ve met people, women I like, who are creative and clever, and sometimes funny or sad, or insecure, or all of those things. They are from all over the world and from all social groups, from all ages and sexual orientations. They have different political and religious leanings, and I respond to them in different ways. They all write and blog, and some of them are published. They are not all successful, but that doesn’t mean they don’t all have value. I don’t read all the blogs and of the ones I read I don’t retweet all of them, but I do dip in and out, and I have my favourites.

It’s a community of women that is diverse and that I have come to like and trust... And there’s the rub, because this is the internet.

The internet is a wonderful place, but wherever something positive, wonderful, life-affirming grows there is always something cynical, negative or destructive growing alongside it or, more insidiously entwined with it. 

In every carefully tended garden there are weeds. Some of those weeds are simply plants that are growing where nobody planted them. Some of them are beautiful too, and just so long as they don’t strangle out any of the other plants I see no reason to uproot them. Then there’s the other thing.

I don’t know whether I use the WWWBlogs hashtag correctly, but I console myself that I am at worst a benign weed, a plant that drifted in, uninvited, but that isn’t ugly, isn’t about to take over or drive anything else out, and won’t strangle any of the lovely plants that already inhabit the garden.

I know that I’ve seen other benign weeds in the garden.

But it’s a garden. There is framework, trees and well-established hardy plants that form the basis of everything else, that are strong and true and structural. There are perennials and hardy annuals that return over and over again, injecting the garden with colour and interest. There’s ground cover too, plants that spread and fill the gaps, popping up here and there in unexpected places. Then there are exotics that bring bright flashes of brilliance, but are gone almost as quickly as they arrived.

Once in a while, I happen upon something that looks suspiciously like a pernicious weed. I happen upon something dressed up as an opportunity, a lure to us women who write and blog, an invitation perhaps to do more or better, to succeed where we have previously failed. Don’t we want to know how to be published? Don’t we want to know how to blog successfully? Don’t we want a bigger following? Well, yes, we probably do. But at what cost?

I think of #WWWBlogs as a community, and members of communities help one another. I want to see other women writers succeed. I want to read the best of their work. I want it to be published, and I want the best of their blogs to be read widely. I don’t know how to do those things for myself and I certainly don’t know how to tell other women how to do any of it. What’s more, I’m suspicious of people who think they do know how to succeed at writing or blogging. If there was a recipe for success wouldn’t we all be successful?

On the other hand, if there are writers out there who can weave that kind of magic, and they are willing to share their knowledge with the rest of us, what a boon that would be! I can only applaud them.

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