While reading fan fiction, I often see “author(ess) notes” (and don’t get me started on that whole authoress thing) where the author claims they’ll only continue if they receive so many reviews. I find better-than-average stories months or years later, abandoned by the author(ess) who states he or she has decided to quit working on the story because no one is paying attention to them. Except I’m sitting there wanting to know how the story ended, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
The author’s decision confuses me, but I think it’s because we write for different reasons. They write to get attention, often not realizing that they have a real talent they should be nurturing. I write to get some of the voices out of my head. (Right now, the voices are begging me to revisit an old project and completely rewrite it with my current level of knowledge and experience, in case anyone was curious.)
With very few exceptions in both my fan fiction and my fiction, I write a full piece (and give it a brief editing round) before I post it. It doesn’t matter to me if anyone reads it while I’m in the middle of writing it. I have a vision, and I want to see it through. Reactions are there to help guide future revising and editing rounds, although I do appreciate watching people try to guess where I’m headed. If I sat there and waited for acknowledgement from others, almost none of my stories would be finished right now.
As a matter of fact, most of my pieces aren’t noticed until they’ve been sitting on a site for a month or more. Even now, pieces that I wrote years ago are being found and responded to, and I’m grateful for that. I think it speaks to the power of my writing, and I’m trying to let the responses and statistics help me choose what piece gets cleaned up next. (Right now, I’m focused on making what I’ve already done as good as it can be while I try to figure out where my creative spark has hidden itself. At least I’m still focused on creative activities.).
We all write for different reasons. Some of us write just to get ideas out of our head. Some of us write to put our ideas on paper so we can play with them, experiment with them, and see where they take us. Some of us write to share our point of view or our vision with the world. The question is: Why do you write, and what can you do to help yourself gain what you want from your writing?