Wattpad and the Problem of Writer Community

If anything will make you a better content writer and a better writer in general it is interacting with other writers. Reading the works of others and having other others read your work elevates you to another level. However the biggest and most common issue a writer faces is getting feedback. Now that’s a broad way of putting it because feedback is buying your books, views, shares, comments, etc. But in this case by feedback I mean what people enjoy or dislike(in a constructive respectful matter). While there are people who write perfectly well in a vacuum even they could stand to gain from interaction. With all that being said…most writer’s communities suck and unfortunately it is in part because of selfish writers who constantly want to take and never give. Two weeks ago I started using Wattpad and the frustration I have always felt with others began to become clearer. The selfishness of fly-by-night writers who steal into writing communities demanding without ever wanting to give is underscored by communities that are swamped by so many fly-by-nighters that all work gets buried.

So how do you get involved?
Now, my opinions may change, but over all they can only change if the community standards change. Wattpad specifically needs more forums that are better organized in order to connect writers and readers more directly. They also need a search system that is at least on par with FanFiction.com, and can separate newer and older stories…BUT more importantly a can be searched on views in order to give everyone a chance to be seen. But wattpad isn’t the only problem.

The problem is us.
Writers keep acting like we can be selfish  and that if we just market we’ll find readers, reviewers, and beta readers. Marketing is important along with everything else, but you can’t hope to get  anything when you don’t give. Writing communities don’t work if writers don’t actually invest in stories they don’t write and participate in not only dissecting their own work, but other’s. You learn so much by reading and talking no matter how introverted you are. As a teenager I thought I was an excellent writer, but after years of workshops I look back fondly at my work while muttering a “Thank Hera” under my breath because I am SO MUCH BETTER. I am not unique.

Critiquing, sharing, and discussing writing exposes you to a wide range of styles, ideas, and concepts that you can dissect in terms of why it works, why it doesn’t, why you like it, and maybe why you do not. The bottom line is when you exit your vacuum you not only learn, but your brain gets going. You learn how to pull apart your own stories and you also learn what other people pick apart. In essence a group of writers or just readers like Wattpad connects  you to your audience. That is one part why community is important because your writing friends can become your buying friends. Not just because they know you, but because you’ve learned what works in your writing and what works for real people and not just for you.

And yet somehow all of these communities suffer the same problem. Some would say it is accountability that’s the problem. Well, everyone is accountable…only to themselves. Somewhere in writing programs and reading classes we never taught people to value interacting with writing and the writer. Yet this is what keeps writers in business and going because who reads more than writers and creators? If we don’t support each other who will?

So I challenge you now to find writing communities.

I challenge you  to not just read, but review and comment on other authors.
I challenge you to help that friend whose writing a novel or poem, by reading and giving honest thoughts about it.

We make the communities we want to live in. Earlier tonight,and not to get political, I was watching a program and a conservative radio host was laughing at the thought of basically any celebrity or anyone with a platform using it. It was whining. It was grandstanding. And I’ll be real conservative republicans have a very nasty habit of assuming everyone to the left of them is insincere and/or weak. Nothing I or anyone to the left of them is real, which is bullshit. But I bring this up because his point was that no one gets to make their community. In his eyes you don’t get to challenge, change, or make a statement about culture. It’s a very dangerous mindset no matter who you support or what you believe. It is dangerous because our communities support us emotionally, economically, and intellectually. Humanity is interacting. Writing for all the solitary hours we spend with a page and our thoughts…requires interacting. Communities inspire writing. Communities inspire you to dream bigger and do better. No one is an island and we all need to do better by each other, by book stores, by bloggers, and by ourselves by engaging with each other.

So I have one last challenge for you…engage more, have fun, and do better by yourself as a content lover and creator. If you do this you may discover stories, authors, and friends that will enrich your life in ways you can never imagine. Please, support each other because if you don’t who will support you?

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Warm Up Time! “Daily Prompt: Second Thoughts”

Prompt: via Daily Prompt: Second Thoughts

With two small boxes in her hand and a man napping on the sofa in front of her Lita began to wonder if she made a mistake. Jon had always been messy…but she had asked him to go on an unpack the boxes in their new living room. She sat the last two boxes from her old tiny apartment down by their new big blue sofa and made her way across the massive room to the kitchen. Her kitchen. She loved this house with all her spirit, and that is why Jon paid just under full market price for it once they decided to live together. As she looked from the gleaming white cabinets to the grey  eco-friendly counter top she knew Jon loved her. It wasn’t just the sex. No. Their…unique relationship had never been just that even as she wore that silver choker around her neck, that silver symbol of her choice to be with him. But living together?

Naughty words and naughtier deeds were a hell of a lot easier than living together, or having the burden of being the one who suggested living in the suburbs right outside the city far from his glittering penthouse in the sky. Yeah, the penthouse she had decorated for him as a favor. Maybe there was a reason for that. He didn’t get everything this house symbolized to a girl who lost her childhood home to pettiness and deceit. He didn’t get that she had been raised to put things just so. He didn’t get how not unpacking even onw of those boxes made her let out a heavy worried sigh. Her boss had been riding her ass all day and that was before she went to her holiday shift at Mint! Eight hours of work followed by four hours of more work, followed by an annoying as hell drive home did not make for a happy Lita. So for him to not do this simple little thing? “It would have been fucking nice…but guess not”. She went to their wine glass cabinet, which she put in order, and grabbed one of their larger glasses. Maybe this had been one big mistake. Maybe Jon just wasn’t living together material…maybe she was just freaking out. She glanced towards the sofa, but noticed how orderly their entertainment console looked. The xbox and wii sat neatly beside each other beneath their massive TV. She could tell the cabinets and cubbies had been filled with controllers, video game cases, DVDS, and a few of his favorite neck knacks(some of which were hers like the figure of the Pink Mighty Morphin Power Ranger doing a high kick, and the hand painted white and gold rabbit she brought back from France. The books, the vases, the paintings, and everything else in the living room remained boxed. But he obviously unpacked their XBOX and router just fine though. Go figure.

“Ugh”

“Go to the bedroom…” Jon’s sleepy voice echoed from the living room.

“Hey, babe…you could have done one other box besides that one-”

“Go to the bedroom” Jon said with a yawn. He popped up from behind the sofa back and stretched.

“I’m really not in the mood for anything now. I just…had a long day.”

Jon’s mouth contorted into a sympathetic frown that deepened as he looked her over. She must have looked more tired than she thought. Perfect. She thought she’d looked cute today. She even matched the red of her blouse to the red that tinted the ends of the locs and wore her red cats eye glasses to match.

“I’m sorry, hun, but go to the bedroom.”

Lita set the glass down on the counter, and rubbed the bridge of her nose. There wasn’t an ounce of fight left in her, so she just shrugged. Chances were she’d get into it once they got started and quite frankly by the look on his face he’d be more than willing to give her a full body massage. The thought made a small smile pierce her annoyance. How could she stay 70% irritated when post-massage sex was one of the best kinds of sex. Still earlier she’d thought about maybe them trying a 24/7 d/s relationship, but if her irritation was any indication that’d never work out. She walked down the hallway to the stairs and each step up reminded her how tired she felt. By the time she reached the second floor she could have asked Jon to come carry her. “Nah…fuck the massage.”
With another little sigh she walked down the hallway, hearing the low bass of one of her favorite songs coming from the bedroom. Lita glanced towards the stairs, hearing Jon’s footsteps approach.

“I’m right behind you!” he said.

“Alright.” Lita kept walking, noting how dim the light coming through the bedroom door was. When she came to it she pushed it open and a gasp left her lips. He may not have gotten to their living room…but he certainly got to work upstairs. The whole room was in perfect order: Their bed was perfectly made and sprinkled with roses; at the front of the bed was their “toy” trunk  with several new toys laid on top; on a nightstand beside a picture from their first date was a tray holding two glasses and an ice bucket with a wine bottle sticking from the top; beneath their television their stereo played music softly beside a vase filled with roses. She stepped inside as the shock rolled over her only to see their bathroom was also perfectly arranged, and inside rose petals lead from the door to the large soaker tub.

He did all this. He took the time out of his day to not only get this all organized, but to dress it up so…romantically. Her heart skipped a beat and she felt tears begin to rise to her eyes. She’d dated but no one had ever done this. No one had ever put something like this together so perfectly just when she needed it most. After being dressed down at work, dealing with angry customers, and petty co-works…and thinking he just blew off what she asked him to do…she came home to this.

Suddenly his arms surrounded her and she felt his lips kiss her neck.

“I thought this was more important. Hope you don’t mind”And against her iron will those tears began to fall, and Jon pulled away and moved in front of her. Deep concern was written in his dark eyes and her wiped the tears from her face. “Please tell me these are happy tears?”

And all Lita could do was laugh and nod her head. Second thoughts. Life had a lot of them, but right then as she embraced him this house, this man, and this life weren’t one.

Normandy. for #PoetsforPeace and my grandfathers

A healthy shore.
A thousand feet.
An ocean wide and open,
With stones — who knows what they’ve seen?
And a universe of tokens.
Fear and fright before a tedious night.
Blood and Bomb and harsh cold memories,
That’ve been turned into “cowardice”,
A sad lonesome lie that turned some away from
Outwardness.
Broken glass from bottles, from glasses, from binoculars,
Forced apart and thrown into the deeps.
Now it comes ashore again,
Once jagged now?
Smooth.
Now precious and fragile thing.
A some quiet peace,
Created from tossed around dreams,
And memories,
Brushed and crashed against a thousand stones,
Bumped and bruised against a thousand odd things,
Tapping machines so fierce even their rust force,
Fright to explode from itself.
Now that precious thing is,
Smooth.
Is peace.
It is in our pockets.
We caress it every now and again.
We let it remind us of its uniqueness,
Of its calm.
And yet how quick we pull our hands away,
How quickly we fail that man made thing,
Is it that we mistake it for stone?
Is it that we forget it is glass?
How quickly we forget how it was made!
How precious that thing is.
How smooth.

*
The most painful and horrendous things can give away to softer things. But can we learn to listen, to help, to understand, and maybe round out those rough edges before they’re blown apart and we’re all thrown asunder into the depths of hatred? I hope so.
I know so

 

#poetsforpeace