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?

Reblog: Should I Be Shamed For Reading Smut? | Rants & Rambles

Hey Bloggers! Welcome back to: Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, …

Source: Should I Be Shamed For Reading Smut? | Rants & Rambles

This post is wicked and I think it does a good job of defending the genre and attacking the book snobbery that often goes unaddressed. I will fully admit I have ALWAYS been fascinated by sex even as a a nine year old it intrigued me even though I didn’t understand it. Now as an adult I understand it and am still intrigued. It is human. For many it is a powerful compulsion and need in a relationship. Yet this very human experience is derided not just for bullshit “moral” reasons, but for being “low brow”. While there are plenty of problems with the genre, as this blogger points out, the main initiative to dismiss these books is there appeal to women because “female” books have always been considered frivolous because they deal with relationships and emotions. Because of how they deal with them and a tendency towards Happy Endings there is this snobbery from many people as though not reading smut makes them superior or better readers. Well being obsessed with the make out scene in Girl With the Pearl Earring didn’t stop me from loving the rest of the book in 6th Grade. Being interested in smut didn’t stop me from falling in love with Jane Eyre either. So this whole notion that this one hobby, this one interest, this one thing damns my or anyone’s entire intellect is quite frankly a pile of massive bullshit topped with flaming bullshit. At the end of the day those sexisms filtered into the general school of literature and how book genre’s are viewed. So regardless now people shun the notion of erotica and smut being enjoyable. Not for for those moral reasons or for the genre’s lack of diversity, or for its cliches…but because it isn’t *turns up nose* Literature. It isn’t proper. It isn’t well written though there are poorly written books in every genre. The bottomline is it is snobbery and elitism that affect a lot of how erotica and smut is viewed.

The great irony? In my forums, in my discussion groups, in my friend groups, and yes in my writers groups a large section of women writers are self identified nerds with incredibly intellectually demanding jobs. But I guess we’re all just…trashy people reading trashy things.

I didn’t think so.