Attention writers: I shall now attempt to explain the technomagic that is algomancy.
Do you feel burnt out on social media? Are people constantly trolling you online? Do you need to find the voice of your characters? Are you struggling with writer’s block? Do you have ADHD and find it hard to finish what you start? Do you lack motivation and just want to have fun again?
Then algomancy is for you!
What Is Algomancy?
Algomancy is a method of Internet surfing that combines social media feed curation and open online search to discover universal patterns.
Algomancy: First Steps
To begin, you will need a clean social media account. By clean, I mean you follow quality PEOPLE that are relevant to your current work in progress. You can choose whatever platforms you like best, but you really only need one or two. The key is to abstain from flame wars, shit-posting, and trolling. I prefer Twitter (although that may change if Elon Musk keeps changing the algorithm to promote himself and his goons).
In addition to following accounts that are world or character relevant, I also follow a mix of celebrities, film clip accounts, joke accounts, rappers and bands, animal video accounts, crystal and fossil accounts, and visual artists. Here’s a link to who I’m currently following. Who I follow changes along with my work flow, that’s natural. You’ll wind up unfollowing a lot of accounts. So be it. Following smart is the first step to attracting quality content into your feed.
The second step is posting smart. And by smart I mean, keep it positive. And by positive I mean, post about the kinds of things you want to attract – the stuff you want to see more of in your feed. Avoid posting in the negative like: I hate it when ______, because algorithms tend to ignore the negation and bring you more of whatever you used to fill in the blank. Be the change you want to see in the world and start by doing it online.
Also, turn off your notifications. Get out of the habit of habitually checking your feed. You can engage with others when it’s relevant to your work, but stop engagement farming for the sake of upping your numbers. You only wind up spamming yourself that way. Make the shift from quantity to quality. You will check your feed whenever the spirit moves you. That means you have to stop jumping on your phone every time someone else says something. You need to start listening to your inner voice, and this is the first step.
Going forward, you will only pay attention the social media content that really grabs you. The content you need will mostly be at the top of your feed (whether you sort by popularity or recency). If you have to scroll for more than a couple minutes to “find anything good,” close the app. But spend your time on posts that make you think. Videos you watch more than once. Art that moves you. Jokes that make you laugh. Songs that make you cry. Avoid posts that make you angry, because we’ve been conditioned to rage-comment to feed our outrage addictions and boost inflammatory content. There’s a time for anger, but this isn’t it. We’re not here to stir the pot. We’re here to listen.
Roll with It
Some days your feed with be lit, and everything will seem relevant. It’s all so exciting and feels like messages meant just for you. You’ll even start to hear your characters “talking” to you in your feed. After a few hours, you start to feel overstimulated. Take notes. Bookmark things. Sort it out later. When the dust settles, the patterns will appear. Other days your feed looks like garbage, and nothing grabs you. Don’t force it. Those are great days to draft or edit. You’ll start to get a feel for which days of the week and what time of day you’re getting the most return from your social media investment.
An Algomancy Example
This morning my Twitter feed was dead as dead, so I was texting my writer BFF about my current WIP – QUEER MISERY. She recommended several movie titles as research feeder, an animated kids movie, Soul by Pixar, and Three of Hearts, some old rom-com that matches the mentor character in my WIP. (It really helps to have movie friends, by the way. Get some. Be one.)
So, in QUEER MISERY, my villains are fraternal twin psychopaths abducting queer people for conversion therapy. So I was also watching the Psycho Killer video by the Talking Heads on YouTube to get into April and Roger’s heads. (You definitely need a YouTube account to do algomancy, by the way.) Here’s a link to my QUEER MISERY playlist.
Here’s how it started. I’m on this scene in my draft:
These two songs started mashing up in my head. And after the previous day’s convo with my writer friend, I decided it was time to make an Amazon purchase. Here’s how the chat went:
This is my writer brain trying to understand the mind of a psycho killer. It’s like a visual executive summary of a complicated thesis. To give you some background, I’ve also already watched all of Bates Motel (highly recommend), and the Psycho movies. I know narcissism will also come into play, so I’m now deep into Lucifer. It’s all part of the process.
My thesis is that psychos are self-loathing homosexuals. Roger, the male villain, was coming to me loud and clear on Twitter yesterday. So much so, that it became spooky. But then today I saw Anne Heche, a renowned BISEXUAL and ex-wife of Ellen DeGeneres, directed My Friend Dahmer. So, off to Anne’s IMDB page, I ran (virtually speaking). Here’s what I found:
Everything circled has come up in previous algomancy sessions and/or is one of my prior works. I just told you about Psycho and my Norman Bates character study. Gwen was a character in my last novel SPACE HYSTERIA, and her name appearing in a movie called Sexual Life is … so on the nose that again, it’s spooky. So spooky that I’ll probably have to watch that movie too, because now it’s haunting me.
Note I don’t go off watching ALL movies ever made about Jeffrey Dahmer. I’m not trying to recreate that character. I just saw something in that Talking Heads video that I knew would lead me to Roger’s backstory. And that’s all I need. Know when to stop.
And so this is how we do algomancy. We’re like detectives hot on the trail. We keep following relevant clues and pulling loose threads to see what appears next. Do this every day through drafting an entire novel, and true magic happens on the page right before your eyes.