Into Thin Wordage

When you’re not working on a story, what are you doing if you’re a writer?  Well, there’s always Facebook games, and watching DVDs of old shows–or DRVs of current shows if you into that new fangled technology–or maybe some reading, or . . . you get the point.  Anything but writing, yeah?

Sometimes you want to write, even if you’re not working on a story.  Some people do research for stories and get notes, some people write fan fiction, which might seem a bit like spinning your wheels since you’re working with someone else’s work, except now it looks like Amazon’s going to find a way for you to publish that stuff now.  Or some of us might write articles on other subjects for people to read–you know, like blogging about writing and your life and the world, that sort of stuff.

When I’ve had nothing to do I’ve written articles and reviews, because why not?  I like to write, I like to give my opinion on things, and maybe I’ll even bring some information to another who’s never heard about whatever it is I’m penning about.  I’ve had that happen with games I’ve reviewed, and even gotten a thank you or two from the companies that printed smaller, independent games.  It’s when you get something of that nature that you feel good about what you’re doing, and something inside makes you feel happy.

Of course there’s also the flip side of that equation . . .

It’s enviable that if I mention I’m writing an article, I’ll have this conversation with a couple of friends:

“I’m writing an article.”
“Are you getting paid?”
“No.”
“Why are you writing it then?  What the hell is wrong with you?”

It’s one thing to write, and it’s another to get some kind of compensation for your work.  I’ve adopted a personal creed that if I feel like writing and sharing something, I don’t mind if I don’t get paid, if—  If I can get some kind of feedback on what I wrote.  Because as much as writers enjoy getting paid, they also like to have people talk about their work.

I don’t like to hear bad things about my work, but I’ll take it.  Because if people are making comments–even if they are somewhat inane and/or bad–it means they probably read your work.  I want people to read my stuff, and to form an opinion  or, if nothing else, to tell me they either liked it or it sucked hard roots.

When you get nothing back, when there is only the soft, quite hiss of a breeze where their should be comments, you wonder if you wrote something for the right audience.  You wonder if you were completely off the mark, or if people just looked at the title and went, “This is gonna suck, forget it.”

It makes you wonder if you wasted your time.

I know the argument, though:  it doesn’t matter if you’re not getting paid, it’s exposure.  But you know what some writers say about exposure, don’t you?  That’s what mountain climbers die from if they stay in the elements far past the time they should have gotten into their tent and zipped up in their sleeping bags.  And if your work is out there, lingering in the Internet Death Zone, with no one reading it, then exposure means jack shit, dude.

You’ll die.

What is the answer to all this?  Maybe it’s time to build my own mountain top . . .