©2021 Michael Raven

Shit or get off the pot, dude.

I was supposed to decide, using my own personal barometer, whether it would be best to move forward and keep writing, or if doing so was a continued strain on my mental state. I honestly still can’t decide.

I wrote up an epic-length book of a post last night explaining my thoughts and reasons for what I was going to do, adding to the already voluminous amount of words I had already butchered in private earlier in the day (I estimate I wrote something on the order of 10k words in various private places, but didn’t keep concise track). In the morning, however, as I looked to finalize that post — I realized I still didn’t know what the fuck I was deciding to do.

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

What it comes down to is that, while I have a few potentially solvable triggers online, my problems are largely not in the online sphere, but deep-seated issues that I need to directly address outside of trying to lay blame on social constructs. As I’ve said time and again, I write because I must — it is not a choice. And, regardless of how good or awful what I post online may be, I’m not much of a writer without an audience — even if all of what I write is dreck [note: this author does not share the positive opinions of his own writing that several other have expressed, so it is mostly veering in on dreck in his mind]. If people fade away because the quality is not up to snuff, then I suppose it is time to hang up the hat and stop writing altogether.

Some of the things I am considering changing as I move forward (although I remain undecided on many/most):

  • Removing the auto-publication of comments. In a poetry/fiction site, comments tend to be almost exclusively something for the author to read and aren’t really interactive dialogs. After that, they primarily become bragging points, ego-strokers, and means to draw attention to another site. I like being made to purr as much as the next person, but I think it may be counterproductive for me in the long run. I’m not sure if I can reply to comments left unpublished, but if I can — there is a good chance that I’ll turn them more into something like the contact page and maintain a private dialog, rather than a public one. I have a feeling that the conversation will trend towards more depth (if it occurs at all) when the specter of “being public” is removed. If I can’t maintain a reply structure, I may moderate the comments and only pass through those that add value to the post and that need a meaningful reply beyond, “You rock, too, dude!”.
  • Removing the ability to “like” posts. I have a terrible habit of gauging my overall “success” for a given day by a complex algorithm of stars verses other various criteria and I think it has created some blocks in my writing as a result as I try to increase eyeballs for gods only know what reason (honestly, I haven’t a clue why it matters how many likes I get). If I remove that, I may eliminate some of the fixation I have with the numbers.
  • Commenting less on other sites. This kind of goes to the first bullet — while I want to let people know I appreciate their writing efforts, especially the particularly good pieces, I feel like I am feeding into some kind of political game of “making sure I give equal attention to other writers that they give me”. If I comment less and the comments here are not visible, I don’t have to participate in that particular set of politics. I won’t stop entirely (because I feel it is important to give praise where it is well-deserved), but I will probably comment less elsewhere and save it for posts that I can’t help myself but comment on.
  • Doing more multi-piece posts. Similar to what I’ve been doing the past few days, and with a format similar to what the Mouse at The Twisted Tail does on his site. It helps obfuscate the “likes” and how they might be blocking or driving my writing.
  • Fewer Brain Vomit and Audio Assault posts. I think I need to lay off the spew that comes out of my head and music-based recommendations with a memoir quality. It is a type of writing, certainly, but it has limited real value.

Those are my few ideas that I think will help preserve my sanity a bit better and redirect the site to a more writing-focused thing than a smorgasbord of variety show rejects.

I thank everyone for their undeserved support and praise the over past few days. You have humbled me immensely, and make me more interested than ever in trying to earn those praises you’ve given me. At least once.

15 thoughts on “!

  1. I’ve had a few of the same thoughts recently regarding comments.
    Most hold no value bit I reply out of courtesy.
    I want to do it but so much time goes into the act I have no time left to write actual content, and the rush affects the quality.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the thoughts. I think that your posts that sort of put your thoughts in order are actually helpful to a few of us out here, often me too. Like in the case of this post. You’ve given some thoughts to ponder here, so thanks for that.

    In terms of keeping comments private and responding, the answer (as I’m sure you found) is no. I don’t allow all comments through automatically on my site, which is how I know: if you respond, it (at that point) makes both comment and response public. My personal opinion, based on your thought process here, would be to simply moderate every comment, thereby gleaning what you need individually and responding as you prefer. I don’t know. It’s a thought.

    As for likes (and actually comments too), personally I prefer the ability to leave a like and comment, as a reader. It’s more personal. When I can’t leave a like (at the very least) or comments when I’d like, I notice that the connection isn’t made and I tend to fade out from those blogs because I can’t connect. I’m sure that there are plenty who wouldn’t agree with me, so take this as an opinion. Statistics show that many agree though, across other platforms as well, if readers/viewers cannot respond, you often lose a significant number (but not all, of course). We know views are way more accurate of a number than likes anyway. And even those aren’t perfect because of those who read via email rather than the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t expected to receive many (any, actually) responses to this post, so bear with me and I’ll keep my own replies short.

      I hadn’t tested the comments idea yet, so this is good information to have. The backup plan was as you suggested; reply, if needed; primarily keep 99% comments unpublished.

      I remain undecided on the rest, including comment moderation. While I appreciate engagement, I’m more interested in creation at this time, so gaining/losing audience is not a priority.

      Thanks for the information.


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