How Twitter Changed My Writing Life & a Writing Contest

by Kellie McGann | 19 comments

Twitter is a social media outlet that allows its users to send and read short messages up to 140 characters long. It's perfect for the world we live in. Quick, easy, and simple for our constant moving lives.

writing contest

There are a lot of reasons Twitter became so huge. Twitter is most known for its character count. On Twitter, you're limited to just 140 characters to share your message. (Although they're most likely changing this soon.)

How Twitter Helped Me Become a Better Writer

That seems like a writer's nightmare. And for me at first, it was. When I first started using Twitter, I felt limited and unable to express all that I wanted to. I had to adapt my writing style, and it actually changed my writing life.

Here are a few ways Twitter helped better my writing.

1. Twitter Taught Me To Be Precise

With only 140 characters, you have to learn to be precise.  This was really hard for me. As I writer, I used to think that I needed to use as many words as I could to describe something, but twitter, (and being yelled at by my editor) taught me that it's not about the number of words, but how you use them.

Always cut words that are not essential to your story or overall message.

Twitter taught me that sometimes the most powerful messages can be the shortest.

2. Twitter Expanded My Vocabulary

With such a limited character count, I had to find words that are more descriptive and words that incorporate even more meaning.

If you're like me, you'll like the challenge of finding the perfect word. I'm not saying you need the longest, most eloquent words, but you'll want to use words that really count. Twitter gave me the push to use words that held more meaning.

Check out this list of the “32 Most Beautiful Words.” These were taken straight from Twitter!

3. Twitter Made My Writing More Powerful

There's nothing like the perfect string of words that leave your readers with their mouths wide and minds blown. The ability to communicate a deep or powerful thought in just 140 characters takes practice.

Twitter will help you create some powerful sentences.  I got great at writing powerful, one-liners.

Long stories with thousands of words are great, but a story that leaves the reader speechless with only 140 characters? That's worth trying.

Twitter changed my writing life and I think it can change yours too. So we're going to bribe you to try with a fun contest!

Twitter Short Story Contest

Over the last few months, we’ve been introducing a lot of short story ideas. (83 to be exact.)

We've shared story ideas for Sci-Fi stories, Fantasy stories, short stories, cat stories, and even some ideas we think might change the world.

If you haven't checked these ideas out, you should. You will most definitely finish reading them feeling inspired.

There are a lot of six-word twitter stories, but we're going to let you use all 140 characters to tell a story.

Here are some great examples:

“For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Oh God, I’m pregnant. Whose is it?” – Unknown

“It's a miracle he survived,” said the doctor. “It was God's will,” said Mrs Schicklgruber. “What will you call him?” “Adolf,” she replied. – Jeffrey Archer

“Only child, but never the favorite.” – Unknown

These simple sentences use just a few words but tell an entire story. Can you do the same? 

The Rules:


Check out the ideas for the stories here and take the next fifteen minutes to craft your story!

Tweet your story to us on twitter and check out the other submissions.

Happy writing!

 | Website

Kellie McGann is the founder of Write a Better Book. She partners with leaders to help tell their stories in book form.

On the weekends, she writes poetry and prose.

She contributes to The Write Practice every other Wednesday.


  1. WritingBoy

    It appears many in this ‘writing’ social media thing are glib, clever and accomplished semantic gymnasts but as to being better ‘writers’, that certainly is a matter of opinion. Immersing one’s life in matters of fiction gives emphasis to the way the earth is being deluged with violence and irrigated with blood. Here it is, right in front of our faces and we deny its existence with all this fiction tripe.

    • Christine

      I beg to differ with you on “denying its existence with fiction tripe.” Yes, many stories are written to entertain, thrill, or even horrify. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I believe a well crafted fiction story can serve a useful purpose. Yes, there is violence in our world, but a good story can point out, without lecture or sermon, the futility of violence. Stories can impart compassion. History has proven this.

      Slavery was vicious back in the day Harriet Beecher-Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin but her book did a lot to lift up the cruelty and injustice of that practice so people could understand why it needed to end. Poverty was brutal in Charles Dickens’ day and the rich could be indifferent or heartless oppressors. But his books like A Christmas Carol did a lot to open people’s eyes and make them more compassionate.

    • WritingBoy

      Uh huh.

  2. LaCresha Lawson

    I may have to be the “prude” here. I am more “old school.” No Face Book, Twitter, and etc., at el. I have paper or a (laptop) and a good lexicon. And, websites like these where more of the focus is on “writing.” All I need. Oh, and my brain! (A little pun)☺☺

  3. jim calocci

    twitter made me a better writer
    I was forced to be concise
    no more rambling on endlessly
    to the point , clear , concise
    twitter made me a better writer
    Joe Bunting of The Write Practice says so
    and since he’s continually getting better
    twitter and Joe Bunting are good sources to know
    Practice Practice

  4. Andressa Andrade

    Well, ok, this was a bigger challenge than I was expecting. I have been using Twitter for over 4 years now, but I never thought of it that way. I never spent much time on thinking of deep sentences to post. Nor of short stories to tell there. I always used it just for fun, for rants and to keep an eye on my idols. But I might try to write stories like that more often. Why not?

    Anyways, these will be my entries. I don’t know if they are good. Or if it is clear how they are related to those 10 short story ideas:

    * There were two people on top of the building. Now, there is one.
    * His heart stopped. For a moment, so did mine.
    * The purest of baby laughters filled the house. They had no children.

    I also came up with this one, which does not relate to any of the 10 short story ideas, so it does not count for an entry, but anyways:

    * Then God said: “I am done with humanity”.

    This was tough! I’d appreciate any feedback. 🙂

  5. Christine

    I don’t do Twitter, but here’s my 140-character tale of lost love:

    He arrived at the dock just as she boarded the ship. Liz was out of his life now. And Art became a thunder cloud, rumbling all the way home.

  6. kath

    He was falling-then he wasn’t, because the ground caught him. I closed my eyes but the truth bled through them. I knew.
    I had always known.

  7. A.R.A

    Her heart is broken. Her husband is gone. She takes one last look at herself in the mirror, then points the Smith & Wesson at her forehead.

  8. Susan

    It was unbelievable. A double-whammy!
    Now what? There should be an instruction manual thought the new ghost.

  9. j sicari

    god rolled his eyes: earthquake.

  10. David

    I have a twitter account but confess I’ve almost never used it. If I carried a cell phone I imagine I might use it more. Though I have never embraced the tech-saturated (and savvy) culture that has sprung up around me and enveloped me.

    Inspired by Joe’s first of ten story ideas, I’ve got a 138 character count (including spaces) non-Twitter submission …

    Scar staring back, a mere reflection
    Pain long since forgotten
    Scar staring back, same reflection
    Heart searing sorrow
    Recollecting infliction

    … does Twitter’s max character count include spaces? …

  11. I Don't Even Read

    Mama was yelling. Taking in breaths, shrieking, coughing them out. “Your brother would have been so funny.”

  12. I Don't Even Read

    The way I was born is still “illegal”.

  13. dduggerbiocepts

    If you read Twitter and conclude that the overwhelming Twitter written expression environment is conducive to – or has anything to do with either learning brevity composition, spelling, vocabulary expansion, correct grammar, or the ability to say something with lasting meaning in written form – you really need to a lot more exposure to a better class of written expression. Reading or writing on Twitter is like trying to learn about global geography in a closet – and one without any dependable sources of illumination at that.

  14. LadyE

    Has anyone heard of the typo bounty app? I saw a post on Twitter and thought it looked interesting, mainly because you can earn money reporting online typos. If anyone has the app, please give me some pointers 🙂

  15. Joe Volkel

    It looks like this an old discussion, but I just love the six word short stories. My favorite so far:
    Failed test – tried suicide – failed again.

  16. Dina

    I’m a lot late with these write practice activities, but I’ll still try as many as I can. The twitter 140 characters one:

    Water, rushed over, “my soul (they said) would be cleansed” but soon I found, I was not bouyed, not floating not light But drowning…overwhelmed.



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