I'm always puzzled when I hear writers say that they write for themselves. It's not that I don't believe them; it's just that it's not my experience.
I do a lot of things for myself, but writing isn't one of them. Sure: when I'm daydreaming about a new story idea, playing around with it in my head is good, self-indulgent fun. But translating the dream into just the right words is WORK. Even when it's really flowing and at its most joyous, it's work to write. So why bother? I'm a busy wife, mother, churchgoer, housekeeper, and gardener. I have a lot of things competing for my time and energy. Why add more work to my list?
Why? Because I write for other people. Really: what's the point of telling a story unless someone is listening? I always have an imagined audience in my head when I'm writing. It's usually made up of close friends who love me and my ideas. But even this virtual congregation isn't enough, because I want reactions, preferably as soon as possible.
In other words, I want feedback. Deep down, I think we all do; I believe that's why we write, knit, paint, bake, and blog. We crave validation from those around us, reassurance that what we've created is worthwhile. Recognizing this truth, I coined the term 'feedcrack.'
Feedcrack may be addictive, but it gets the job done. It has kept writing high on the priority list lately, and I've made huge progress in a very short amount of time. So I'll be tanking up on feedcrack for the foreseeable future. I just hope no one cuts off my supply.
I've found a terrific fountain of feedcrack in a social networking website called cre8Buzz. When Brillig invited me to join, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I joined the site to get more exposure for my writing, and I've been thrilled that that has been the case. I've found a wonderful, warm community of writers who have been very receptive to me and to my writing. I've gotten solid constructive criticism and voluble appreciation on a project that had previously been languishing on my furthest-back burner. I'm not sure how else my work would have so quickly and efficiently reached readers who live in Finland, Sweden, western Canada, Britain, and Minneapolis.
After looking over my shoulder, James dubbed cre8Buzz "Facebook for grownups." and I agree with his assessment in the best possible sense. The happy surprise about cre8Buzz is how many nice, interesting, funny people--both inside and outside the writers' community--I've encountered there. It's not spammy or puerile. Everyone is kind and supportive. It's well organized and easy to navigate. Traffic to this blog has soared lately; it's been great.
Cre8Buzz has been in beta since the beginning of August, but it goes public tomorrow. In the next little while, membership to the site will be by invitation only (let me know if you want one; I'll happily send one your way), but everyone in the ethersphere will now be able to view the Buzz's content. We beta-testers are excited to welcome in the world. Drop by and see what you think!