Please let people know it's important to like or reblog writer's work. People will listen to you. People pay attention to you and you can make a difference. You see, today, I have decided to stop writing. Maybe you can save someone else though. Big writers start as tiny writers, but if no one notices them they can't grow. I hope someone else can benefit from my failure. I love you, but today I am done. I write every day but no one sees it, and no one cares. It hurts too much.
Aw, hon. I’m so sorry. And I know this probably isn’t gonna sound like a real thing, but Every Writer Ever has felt this way ^^ (and frequently still feels this way).
Heck I wrote in a private bubble for decades before I ever even got a bee in my bonnet that it might be something I could share with the public in any way. I’ve got a drawer full of novels I failed to sell for one reason or another, and gave up writing myself for nearly two years before deciding to try writing fic. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done as a writer.
Writing my own characters was one thing, but trying to write characters that were already so well known and loved– and who so many other better and more experienced writers than me were already pumping out TONS of content for on the regular– it was pretty intimidating.
I don’t know (since you’re anon, I don’t know who you are) if you’ve posted short ficlets to tumblr, or anything to AO3, or if you write meta or just reactions to episodes, but just writing into a void can definitely be hard.
Part of it is true that exposure relies on people liking and REBLOGGING your work so it can reach a wider audience, but that doesn’t happen in a vacuum either.
Part of it comes down to excellent tagging. If you’re writing destiel, tag it! If you’re writing ace!Cas, tag it! People ARE looking for specific content, and half the problem in a fandom this large is just sorting through the overwhelming amount of content to find what you’re looking for specifically. Whether on tumblr or AO3, thorough tagging is your friend.
Tags can also be used for self-promotion (so said Lizbob when I asked her about this). The day before you post a story, post a headcanon or something related to your fic in the appropriate tags (remember only the first five tumblr tags get tracked, use them wisely), and then follow it up with a “I really liked this idea so here, have a fun fic about it!” post the next day.
Also, regarding not writing in a vacuum, tumblr “popularity” doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work, either. (I think people wildly overestimate a lot of folks’ actual influence on this site… I mean, it might look like certain folks have massive followings, or a ton of influence, but I think for the most part we’ve got our little bubbles, our little corner of fandom, and that’s not really as large or wide-ranging as folks might believe).
But for the most part, it happens very, very slowly. I guess I was more patient to wait for it to happen after fighting for myself in the traditional publishing world with my original fiction for so long, for getting some moderate attention there after years of trying, of writing and rewriting my works, of improving with no other input than from a handful of beta readers, editors, and agents. And Mr. Mittens. And my mom. I mean, I go back and reread some of my first efforts at novels and absolutely cringe now. But I wasn’t writing for an audience of thousands (or even hundreds, or even tens).
That’s part of what’s weird to me about fic, that a lot of folks approach it as almost a collaborative, community effort, where feedback during the writing process from scores of readers might influence how the story gets written in the first place. So I might not even be the best person to ask about this at all, because to me writing IS a solitary experience, because that’s how I’ve always done it.
I’m sorry you’ve come to the point where you don’t want to write anymore, or that you don’t feel that you can improve or continue without public support, or you feel no one cares or is interested. It’s absolutely not easy to put yourself out there like that. It’s terrifying to put your creation out into the world and get nothing back but crickets.
I know that feel.
But for readers, the only way to encourage writers whose content you enjoy is to reward your writer with kudos. Leave comments. They don’t have to be flowing detailed commendations, just a simple THANK YOU I ENJOYED THIS is all we ask. And if you REALLY loved the thing, then by all means, PASS IT ALONG! Reblog it, recommend it to others.
If you like having new fic to read, and enjoy a writer’s style, the only way to keep getting more is for the writers to feel like it’s worth their time to keep writing.
Because we don’t write IN a void, but we don’t write FOR the void, either.