Thursday, 6 January 2011

Being human (but is it any good????)

(It's certainly not too late to join us... lots of January left! start here)

Thanks to Douglas for today's photo - have a look at his blog The Net Mender for more photos and small stones.

I don't know about you, but I'm human. 

This means that, for me, writing is rarely as straightforward as enjoying the process of paying attention. 

Is anyone reading me? How many hits did we get today? Has anyone commented? Is it any good? Is it any good? Is it any good????? 

Most of us writers write because we want to be read (you notebooking small stoners can feel very smug at this point). We have something to say, and we want people to hear it. There are a mix of motivations for this - I truly hope that my writing helps people in some way - but there are always ego-driven motivations somewhere in the mix. 

How do we handle these aspects of the writing life?

I think it is helpful to feel OK about having these thoughts and feeling these feelings. Most of us do. Maybe if you're brave enough you can admit to them in the comments section. I guarantee you're not alone. 

I also think it's helpful to notice these ego-driven thoughts when they arise. Ah, there's my crushing self-doubt again. Oh, hello old friend, 'how many hits have I got'. 

Finally, maybe it's also OK to REALLY enjoy any positive feedback we do get from others. Take it in. Bask. Feed on it. 

And to encourage ourselves too. 

Writing things down can be a perilous task. We are exposing something of ourselves for everyone to see. Sometimes people will like our writing, and sometimes they won't. Sometimes they'll be kind, and sometimes they won't. We need to learn to nurture ourselves through the ups and downs. 

Here's to being human, with all our frailties and arrogance and fear and mistakes and joy and beauty and wonder and love. 


  1. I'll be first to confess. :D The first things I do when I log into my blog is to scour for comments, then check the hit counter.... and if I get a 'follower'.... well, I'm elated!

    "Most of us writers write because we want to be read" Yes, I agree.... and when people let us know they have read and enjoyed what we've written, it's wonderful.

    When I see an author's note in a book to contact him/her with feedback, I often wonder if people ever do. There have been many times I've wanted to write to or email an author to let them know how much I enjoy their writing..... but I never do. Perhaps I should. I wonder if people such as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, etc. get a buzz from a letter or email froma a fan?

  2. I have not deliberately gone looking for "followers" on my blog but rather gradually acquired them. Some never say anything and I wonder if they even read it. Others comment there occasionally or leave me an e-mail. I admit I do feel pleasure that they want to say something in return.
    Would I go on writing anyway? Yes. I would still feel compelled to do that.

  3. Self doubt & being convinced that everything I write is not good enough - they are my demons.

    I think this is the case for many writers/artists/creatives. The past six months I've been posting art and writing no matter if it is rubbish or amateurish in an attempt to stop being so precious and just enjoy the act of creating. The amazing result was that I've connected with a lot of inspirational people and really enjoyed sharing. I've been better at doing this with art but now my challenge is to be brave with my writing. I have so many completed manuscripts, poems etc that languish in notebooks and drawers- it is time I let go and shared. Towards the end of last year I posted un-edited timed writing exercises and this year small stones.
    Deep breaths...
    Kat :-)
    (net working again this morning - getting hopeful)

  4. Writing is what I do for a living. Not the kind of writing I want to do, but factual, simple, explaining kind of writing.
    So when I get home I put words together that have some emotion connected to them. And yes, I want to show them to the world because I want to hear that they're worth reading.
    I know I'm good with words - otherwise they wouldn't pay me to use them - but I still need to be told that my 'personal' words are interesting.
    I'm gradually learning that someone, somewhere seems to like whatever I write. Not always the same someone. And other people don't like it - but that's OK.
    Write. Keep writing. And keep enjoying it. Someone, somewhere will love it.

  5. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing, Eliza, Cat, Kat, AJ.

  6. Hello : ) I was nodding away whilst reading this : D I do that whole checking for comments and checking for hits thing - I have a sneaky feeling that all bloggers do - I know that when I blog I write for others to find and read what I've written , and when they visit or comment I know that they have found it , so mission accomplished.

    I enjoy the connecting with other people over shared ideas and thoughts. That matters to me more than anyone saying that what I write is 'good' - but I like it when people say that it is 'good' not so much because I need the praise in order to be able to write per se, but because I find it reassuring to hear that I have not made a complete tit of myself in writing whatever it is that I have written - which probably tells me that I worry about exposing myself through my writing.

    However I absolutely LOVE it when someone raves about something I've written. But I don't think it's so much an ego thing as a 'Yes! That connected!'

    Can I tell you that A River of Stones is fab by the way? : D

  7. You hit the nail on the head, magicgarden. It's not all about the ego, if that at all, but connecting with others.

  8. I write because I want to improve my craft with accuracy of what my mind and heart wish to say.
    I write for cathartic reasons.
    I write to touch and be touched by a common human experience; sharing. An intrinsic human need of knowing I'm not alone.

    Feedback to other's should be a resolve by all of us because it's a way of giving to the poor.

    Hope your New Years yields a bit of self satisfaction

  9. Never can comment at a blogspot blog as it will not let me use my wordpress acccount.
    I am enjoying the freedom of just writing a short piece daily without angst about context, or continuity or even who might read. I have had lovely feedback too.
    Viv from

  10. I found myself laughing easily with a young woman helping me at the Apple store Genius Bar, not feeling as dumb with the techie stuff as usual. At ease, my inner being said, it's just another learning time.

  11. Like MagicGarden I was nodding away while reading.

    I was telling a musician friend how confronting I've found the whole website/blog thing and feeling so exposed. He laughed in a kindly way, and said that being on stage since being a teenager and having crazy drunks in the audience is way worse. It put it in perspective. At least if people don't like what I write, they don't say anything.

    I'm enjoying challenging myself by belatedly joining in with your River of Stones - it feels like a gift to myself.

  12. magicgarden - you MAY tell us that the river is fab :) but we just showed the river which way to flow, you're the river...
    Viv - you should also be able to sign in with your facebook details (if you're there) or google... or even anonymous? although depends how the bloggers have set it up.
    Sue - a gift to yourself - how wonderful.
    Thanks all for your comments!

  13. It's always a challenge: read more blogs/stones, or take the time to comment. I finally had time today to scan through a good number of the blogs on the blog roll - and noted a few to come back to, maybe later in the week. There are SO MANY of us doing this! Pretty amazing. So - hope to comment a bit in the days to come.

    My main reason for writing the stones is that this discipline is accessing a form of thinking/noticing/writing that I haven't done enough of for quite a long time. Do I appreciate getting some comments? Of course! But at least I can force my spouse to read them, and I've enjoyed seeing the my stones start to add up to something distinctive, something that reminds me I've been alive over the past week. Thanks, folks, for getting this going!