Is it impolite to write about my frustrations as a writer and with readership on this blog, the same place where I encourage people to visit, to explore my works? I don’t know. As most all of my Self-Reflection posts are, this one doesn’t appear in the main feed, so at least that’s a little abstraction layer there. I don’t want to come off as ungrateful or disrespectful to people who do read my words, and for those who take them to heart, but nor do I want to come off as some entitled egoist clamoring for more Likes on social media. As I think about this post I fear I’ll come off as both.
I had a conversation today about what I wanted to “get out” of writing, of the effort and creativity I’m pouring into these pages. While yes, it would be nice to get a little money thrown my way from time to time as a mark of what I’m doing being worthwhile, honestly what I’m really looking for is validation of any sort. I don’t get much from work, I don’t have any real social circle any more, and I don’t have any other real outlet for my feelings. As I’ve discussed in other posts, I judge my self-worth based on what I think other people think of me. Without feedback, I usually assume the negative.
Per some stat-tracking tools, about 30 unique people visit my website every day, and view an average of 100 pages. Obviously the vast majority of these are bots, but even accounting for country of origin I don’t get much more when it comes to metrics. I post about my blog on Twitter a fair amount, and I can see there how many people (or bots) clicked on my links, but again, a relatively small sample size. Even on days where the number of visitors or views are high, one thing I don’t seem to ever get is feedback.
I admit I have no idea if my stories are interesting or resonating with people, or if my long arcs are something people come back for and hope to find updates. The occasional blog post will spark a conversation with a few people on Snapchat, when I link directly to one, but largely my posts just exist in the eddies of the internet, and I can’t tell how many passers-by like the swirls and dancing reflections.
I’ve written a lot by my own standards these past several months, and actually have scheduled fiction and story posts set to release on out to at least July, with more being added every week. I’ve often used writing as a release, an opportunity to vent and share my feelings, in the past, and I’m glad that I’m taking advantage of this creative medium as I have been.
Something I noticed about my own actions over time is that I believe (futilely) that “a good product will bring in customers,” putting things in a commercial sense. I don’t do a lot of advertising for my own work, whether it’s at my job or for creative pursuits like hoping to get steady readership for my fiction series. My vain hope is that the work itself is good enough and people will just float through the ether and find me, which to me is much more validating than asking for fans.
Though this blog has only been up in its current format for a few months, I’ve already considered shuttering my Patreon account, and not just for the recent terms of service changes they eventually decided against. The reality is that seeing 0 patrons has become depressing, and I don’t even post new content there any more because I don’t like logging in and seeing it. Don’t get me wrong, there are hundreds and thousands of ways to give writers and other artists support that aren’t Patreon, but from the outset it seemed like such a simple metric that I could base “success” on – if I gained ~5 patrons that weren’t in my immediate social group, all the work I’d been putting in would have been worth it.
Admittedly writing this post is starting to feel like I’m whining and wallowing in self-pity, so I’ll wrap it up here. I absolutely and genuinely appreciate everyone who reads what I write, be it fiction, gaming ideas, reviews, or personal thoughts like these. It means a lot to me that there are people out there who find what I have to say interesting, thought-provoking, and meaningful in some way. I don’t want any of what I’ve written here to minimize or reduce the fact that it truly means so much to me to have people who read my words, even if they don’t comment on it or let me know that they have done so.
Some day I hope I can look back on this post and chuckle, my writing having taken off into something of a more substantive hobby or long-term project, having hit whatever intermediate markers for “success” I set for myself, or crowdsource from others. True to form though I’m sure I’ll be having like conversations with myself, just on a different scale.
If that’s the case, please feel free to nudge me and point to the stats and other halmarks of success, or at least growth. Very often I lose the forest for the trees when I get self-reflective, and a little prodding goes a long way.