Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shouting in the Wind


I admit it: this blog is starting to get me down.

It’s not just the deadlines. Lately, I find myself up against a familiar foe, something I gave serious thought to during those first desperate, fruitless months of submitting my short stories. I wondered then and I wonder now: why write if no one is reading?

I guess the answer lies in who you’re writing for in the first place. If you write for yourself, not having an audience is no real issue. As the saying goes, open a vein, let it drain, then walk away and go do the laundry or something. But if you write for others, because you truly want to connect, not having an audience becomes disheartening.

Personally, I write for both. I get a lot of out writing for myself. New ways of looking at things I didn’t completely understand before. A way of putting things to rest that may have felt incomplete. And of course, I live to develop my craft. But, mainly, I write for others. I love it when people tells me they know exactly how a character felt, that they’ve been through something similar themselves.

Perhaps if I did more (ok, anything) to promote this blog, I’d have a larger audience. But promoting means time away from writing and marketing my work. And that’s time I don’t have to spare right now. Still, I’m loathe to give up this enterprise. It’s been good for me and I’m learning a lot from it. Besides, there’s a lot to be said for persistence.

So I persist. I hope, one day, to grow my readership. I include this URL in my bios on published work now. And perhaps one day I’ll take the time to promote this thing properly. But for now, I write for myself and for my loyal friend, Stephen. (God bless him for so many reasons.) For now, I’ll just keep shouting in the wind.


Stephen said...

I remember when my the doctors delivered my first-born. He spent the first two weeks of his life in NICU, where my wife struggled to help him feed. When we approached a nurse for help, the recommendation came like strong medicine: "Persevere."

Don't get discouraged. The readership will come in due time as more people are exposed to your writing. I'm willing to bet the Boston Literary Magazine will do wonders in the eyes of readers, who will take note of the name, the style, and beg to know more.

Oh, and thank you for the nice comment in your posting. I appreciate it.

Greta said...

Persevere. I can do that. Thanks a mil, Stephen.

Anonymous said...

I may be the first of many who come over because of your Every Day Fiction story, which arrived in my inbox today. Hurrah!

I'm known to complain about this, myself, frequently enough to quite accurately remember the feeling. But, here's the thing. I know I'm not as old as you are, nor am I as out there as you may be with your writing, but, I know what to say about being read, believe me.

Four years this October I'll have been keeping a muse journal for four straight years. I write otherwise, and yes, I do, do my writing for myself, and for others, so that is important. I write as Conrad Ecklie, nemesis of Grissom, on the original CSI. That's the thing though, it doesn't matter, whether my muse is owned by CBS, or that no one, really, reads what he has to say. It doesn't matter that I could have spent four years talking as an original character, because, he, Ecklie, he's my companion, he always has something new to say.

As for my own journal, it's been around for the same period of time, and still, only friends read it, but, I need the companionship, the freedom that comes from expressing thoughts through writing that I can't literally voice.

To be honest, I've found that in the world of internet writing, it doesn't matter how often you are read. If you are read at all, and receive a comment that is meaningful, then you've done something worthwhile, and sod the rest who say numbers matter. I know you won't ever read what I write, but I'm here, and I like what you have to say, so count me as a lurker of sorts, if you want.

Good luck!

Greta said...

You can lurk anytime you like :)

BTW, cool idea for a journal. I'm grappling with my title character in my second novel, trying to understand his motivation better. Your idea of journaling from his POV is a gem.