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January 12, 2013
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No One Cares About Your Story

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 12, 2013, 4:21 PM

GOOD NEWS: This is perfectly normal!


I can't remember the source, but a few years ago I read this famous author's account of how it felt to have his first book come out, and he mentioned buying a copy himself because he was afraid no one would take an interest. Now this is a guy who managed to get not only an agency but a publisher (which is a whole pile of people who were like yesplz), and he's still afraid readers won't care. I was like, 'whoa mind blown.'

But anyway, the fact is that we are all strangers on the Internet and, by default, there is no reason for you to read my stuff or vice-versa. If you went and stood in Times Square with copies of your latest story, how many people would give you more than a passing glance? And how many of those people would get to the end of your work, and how many of those would offer critical feedback?

And, if you were one of the passersby, whom would you stop for?



Okay, I'm done scaring the shit out of you. That's not the point of this journal, the point is to look at ways to make people care. Success not guaranteed.



How to Make People Care About Your Story


I had this long-ass spiel planned (and drafted, even), but honestly it all just boils down to respect.



1. Respect your readers.

Don't try to lord your cleverness over them, or expect them to automatically be as invested in your work as you are (did they spend twenty hours every week agonising over writing it? No they did not). Keep in mind that these are people with lives, and it's quite possible they have just as much of their own material to freak out over.

So how do you get them past that? By a) being a good writer and b) taking an interest in their lives.

Don't expect everything to fall into your lap. Communication goes both ways. I mean, how many times have you left a great critique that someone really appreciated and then did nothing with? It's happened to me more than once, and each successive time has soured me on bothering with more of that person's work. I still leave Goodreads reviews without expecting a pat on the head, so a well-done piece of work does outrank a 'wah wah this person was a jerk,' but unless you are 100% sure that you are that talented genius, don't be a dick.

FYI, it's never a 100% thing.



2. Respect the craft.

Everyone learns how to write in school.

Everyone learns how to write for school in school.

You may be one of those lucky bastards with a creative writing elective or even majoring in the field, but that's the exception, not the rule.

Creative writing is its own discipline, and getting an A in English class has little to do with it. I don't get how so many people equate being okay at writing essays or reading analysis with writing stories, but yeah. Stop doing that.

Yes, you can translate skills from one side to the other, and being able to analyse what you're reading is always important, but respect the fact that creative writing is as much an art form as drawing, and that if holding a pencil doesn't make you a master of drawing, being able to type words isn't going to toss creative writing into your lap, either.

Aside from this, you need to want to improve. I mentioned 'being a good writer' above, so it's even tied into respecting your audience, but if you really care about this being a thing that defines you, you have to be willing to do your own research. No excuses. Learn to use Google. Listen to good advice even if it feels like a slap on the bum.



3. Respect yourself.

Your words don't define you as a person, okay? Me telling you that your story is flawed shouldn't make you feel bad, it should make you want to do better. There's nothing wrong with caring about your work, but there is something wrong with treating every word of criticism like a stab wound. And with thinking that you're hopeless, the fact that you weren't a child genius is going to screw you over, you can never be awesome, blah blah blah.

(I want my writing to be perfect so it reflects well on me. Why? Because my ego is the size of a fucking mountain.)

You're not ink on paper. You're a person. Words are your medium of choice to showcase yourself, your ideas, and/or your views. There's no way it's going to be perfect from the beginning, and when someone tells you where you've gone wrong, pay close attention. Not because they're somehow better than you, but because wanting to be the best you can be means hunting down all your weaknesses.

Get your chin up and make your writing as awesome as your self.




GOOD LUCK, NERDS.





Add a Comment:
 
:iconajb-2k3:
ajb-2k3 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 21, 2014
1, So true. I hand out my work and let the reader tell me if its good or not. if its crap, I ask them to point out all the issues then thai ten for their time!
2, I flunked GCSE English and swore never to write again!
3, ROFL, again so true.

Some people need to grow a pair and learn that there work will be shite until someone says otherwise!

The only way to get readers is to learn about being a sells person and push interest i your work wherever possible.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol: good shit.
Reply
:iconzortharg:
zortharg Featured By Owner May 2, 2014
Except for one problem. You're ASSUMING that ANYONE is reading my stuff. I could be the best writer in the world and it wouldn't make a difference if not even ONE asshole comes and reads it to troll me about being a bad writer and to serve as a critic and a warning to others to steer clear of my garbage. If NO ONE reads it, it doesn't matter what I write.

So NO. This is ALL bad advice. Following it will not accomplish anything. This is advice for a bad writer who gets lots and lots of undue attention, not anyone, good or bad, who gets none at all. Which is what actually happens here in reality.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I have no interest in being the target for your frustration with your own situation. So either recognize that you can reach out and ask how to deal with it, or come up with a more relevant comment.
Reply
:iconakatsukigirl47:
AKATSUKIGIRL47 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014
... Well i have nothing to say.

SO it appears that me being a writer is nothing then?
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not really sure how you got there? :confused:
Reply
:iconakatsukigirl47:
AKATSUKIGIRL47 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014
i saw the article in the deviantart gallery thing, and I read it. I've been a writer since 2008
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I meant in reference to your first comment on this ^^;
Reply
:iconakatsukigirl47:
AKATSUKIGIRL47 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014
oh this is the first time i seen this
Reply
:iconmomojiro:
Momojiro Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Student Writer
This is really well written. Super helpful too! :)
Reply
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