The Entry Where I Thinly Disguise Myself to Make a Point

This is what the sound that makes you cringe looks like. Image attribution.

Feedback is important because no writer works in a vacuum. Not really. We have day jobs, families, significant others, pets, friends, and obligations. A writer won’t necessarily worry that much about feedback, or shouldn’t any way, but will keep on going until it becomes obvious it’s time to stop.

That time is usually when no one is talking about your work.

One can self-delude that just because there are few (or no) comments on a blog post that no one is reading. At that point, a creative person who cares about feedback will then turn to some analytical device on the web to seek some sort of validation. “Look,” the creative will say, “there are a couple dozen views. Someone’s reading me.” Probably the family members that have access to the internet, the justification goes. Then he checks the number of subscribers who read his site via RSS. He thinks it’s safe to assume that everyone who subscribes is probably reading.

So, excited, the creative then digs a little deeper and discovers that yes, a couple dozen hits on a post (plus his subscribers) are indeed a true measure of interest, but the average time spent on the website is minimal. Less than a minute. The wind goes out of him.

Which means that a majority of visitors are stumbling on the site and not really reading. A search reveals very little useful information as to why they’re visiting in the first place. Demoralized, the creative can then sit back and look for another form of validation.

“Oh, I read every post,” the creative’s mother might say. “I just never comment.”

“Well, what do you think?” The coffee is rich, hot, and black at the family home during a visit.

“You’re very smart, dear,” Mom says. “What does your wife think?”

“She doesn’t read me.”

Is that kind of close feedback necessary? Or can the creative grow inured to a need for that? After all, one isn’t writing for anyone but oneself, yes?

“But what does she think of your writing? Do you talk about it?”

Well, yes, they do. She listens and is supportive of the time he spends on the computer typing away at all hours of the day. He does his best to keep it to time when she’s otherwise engaged so that it doesn’t keep him from being with her. The day the printed copy of the creative’s first book arrived from Amazon, his wife told him she was proud. She insisted he share it with her father whose tastes in books are close to his.

The father-in-law liked it.

Everyone in the family who read it said they liked it. The creative’s son read it before it was published and because of the subject matter he was in love with it. He regularly asks about the sequel.

So to wrap this up and get out of here with as little of my personal life revealed as possible, the creative’s family is supportive and allows him the space he needs to keep writing.

Jason Arnett is a storyteller living in Kansas and writing in the plains of the fantastic. Some of his work can be found at www.jasonarnett.com

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