I’ve never been very good at self-promotion. Self-deprecation sure, but not the advertising and glorification of my qualities or work—ironic for someone who ran a business, I know. The relaunch of this website, coinciding with my taking writing as a hobby seriously, started in August of 2017, and in the past year and a half I’ve written many, many words of fiction, of self-reflection, of comment and critique on all manner of topics. For most of that time there has been some manner of donate link in the right sidebar, unobtrusively asking for contributions.
Defining success has always been difficult for me, whether due to a lack of trust in my own objectivity, inability to set realistic goals, or just the general sense of never being satisfied with my own work. One of the reasons I really want to see my Pandora’s Box novel published through traditional means is that having an independent third party look at my work and say “yes, I would like to represent this” would be a huge source of validation. Though I occasionally get compliments on my writing from friends, and the editor says she genuinely enjoyed my style as she worked on my book, it’s still hard for me to say “I have written something good.”
Perhaps two weeks ago I started playing a silly idle phone game called AFK Arena. The main premise of idle games is that they have a few minutes’ worth of content available every few hours, so it’s neither a huge time investment to get “caught up” nor is it possible to get far outpaced by people who play incessantly. As it’s a relatively new game in a blossoming genre, I started writing small guides to describe mechanics or other gameplay aspects that may not be familiar to new players.
I linked my posts to several friendly people I’e met through the game and, to my complete and utter surprise, one of them used the sidebar’s Ko-Fi link and sent a few dollars my way in thanks. In over a year and a half I’ve never had anyone actually send me money for my writing, and I’m just blown away that a reader, unprompted and unsolicited, would not only think to do so but also follow through. It was an incredibly humbling moment that I actually texted a number of people about, expressing my surprise.
True to form the awe and validation I felt at that moment passed quickly, but it remains a milestone in my writing career that I hopefully will hold on to for a very long time.
In the immortal words of Wayne and Garth,