Insta Inspiration: Erica Gerald Mason
Need a bit of literary inspiration? Keep reading as Erica Gerald Mason talks about her favorite literary instagrams & talks about her work. As an author and instagram gem, she'll have you feeling like you're the lit student you always wanted to be.
Top 9 Literary Instagram accounts to follow
as curated by author & poet, Erica Gerald Mason
MakeBlackoutPoetry: Blackout (or found) poetry highlights words on pages of books, and creates a tiny but profound poetic statement. I love this account because his work is stunning, but he also highlights other poets who use his hashtag, #makeblackoutpoetry.
TylerKnott: This photographer and poet posts a love haiku every day. He also has drool-worthy behind the scenes photos of his travels.
TheNib: The best damn political cartoons I’ve ever seen.
SubwayBookReview: Commuters discuss the books in their hands. I’m beyond addicted, and now my book list is a mile long.
Riverhead Books: A stylishly quirky feed, with new books, quotes and author interviews.
ValleyoftheDollsOfficial: I don’t usually go for Instagram accounts for individual books, but this one is irresistible. It’s got that over-the-top crazy 60s vibe.
LastNightsReading: Kate Gavino, the account’s owner, goes to NYC poetry readings...and then posts a hand-drawn portrait of the author, along with a hand lettered quote.
CrownPublishing: Book porn at it’s finest: Bookshelves, and bookstores, and authors, and book covers.
JohnGreenWritesBooks: Have you ever wanted to know what life is like for a bestselling author? John Green, author of Paper Town and The Fault of Our Stars, takes you on a backstage tour of his life.
meet the curator: @ericagmason
When did you first realize you should write poetry?
I have a short attention span - seriously, I can get distracted by a moonbeam. I’ve always written, I don’t know of I time when I didn’t. Over the years, I noticed I had gathered singular thoughts or emotions on paper; little ideas or fragments for stories that I didn’t have time to write. So one day, I wrote them. Turns out the thoughts wanted to be poems, not stories.
I love how you share your poems on instagram- a visual platform. How did you decide to share something so full on instagram versus another social media platform?
Poetry is such a visual art...the way the words scatter on the page, every punctuation mark is a brush stroke; every line break a new horizon...it’s truly a little word painting, so I feel like Instagram is the perfect fit. I use Twitter and Facebook, but my home is definitely Instagram.
On your blog, you have a series called 'on Sundays, we make lists'. Can you tell us more about it + how your readers get involved?
Oh, my little list party! I started the lists because even on my ‘off’ days, I’m attached to the internet. One Sunday afternoon the wifi went out: no Netflix, no internet, nothing. So, me being me person I am, I just grabbed a stack of paper and made a series of lists. Lists of my favorite books, my favorite movies, my regrets, my favorite quotes. And after the wifi came back on, I kept writing. And so every Sunday afternoon after that for about three months, I turned off everything electronic and made a list. It was a perfect meditation. I offered the Sunday lists to my Love Letter newsletter subscribers, and they loved it. So I made over 50 weeks worth of lists, made it pretty, put a cover on it, and put it on my website. Readers are free to print the whole thing, or just a page at a time.
You have several books. What is your process for organizing & completing your vision for each?
First, I’ve learned it’s ok to be a little selfish with your time. Of course, be a good friend or family member, but sometimes ‘no’ is necessary. I used to give what I call the ‘cruel maybe”. Instead of saying ‘no’ right away, I’d give a noncommittal answer and hope I could get off the hook later. But that’s just mean, isn’t it? Because ‘maybe’ is actually a commitment. At most, it’s a commitment to an activity or action, at the very least, it’s a commitment to follow up. And it strings the asker along, which isn’t fair. Just say ‘no’. It’s kinder and it saves time. Secondly, every few months I write a “what’s next” list. I brainstorm a list of every conference, every book, every blog post, every submission to literary magazines, every speaking engagement. EVERYTHING. I reorganize, prioritize and temporarily shelve some plans on the list. And then I hammer it out over the course of the next six months. Block scheduling is how it works on a daily basis. I couldn’t get anything done without it.
Any instagram strategies that you think have totally changed your insta game?
The instagram strategy for artists and authors is entirely different than a retail product or service based business. Anyone who who will tell you it isn’t...well...isn’t an artist or author. People want to know their makers. Art and books are something you allow to crawl inside your head for a while...you need to know who you’re inviting in your space! I would say stay vulnerable and open, but know your boundaries BEFORE you start. Decide if you’ll show your friends or family (or even your home) on instagram. My husband and kids have no desire to be on my instagram, and I respect that. And frankly, I don’t want them to be. I’m super protective of my family. My philosophy is, if I post it, I’m willing to discuss or debate it. And there are a few areas in my life that aren’t open for debate, my relationship with my family is at the top of that list. So I don’t showcase them on insta. Instead, I alternate my feed between my daily poems, a behind the scenes lifestyle shot, or a specially-curated photo and it works well.