Down Days (plus a “Finding Mister Wright” short!)

I’d felt pretty down on myself the last few days. It happens: every so often, I look at my various hit statistics and comment numbers, and I start to doubt my skill, especially in comparison to other writers. It always seems like everybody else is getting hundreds of comments and thousands of hits per day, while three likes or just one comment on a story will send me into a dopamine-fueled fit of happiness.

Dopamine_3D_ball

Dopamine, dear dopamine. How do I love thee?

But those low-to-non-existent numbers were dragging me down, so much that I couldn’t even pull it together to put a few words together on the page, no matter how hard I tried. The only thought going through my head was, “I suck.”

Social media is particularly damaging during these downswings, because like-minded individuals tend to cluster together on these outlets, and I’ve never really been a like-minded individual with anybody. I have interest groups and fandoms I follow, but I’ve always been on the fringe of them: the oddball, the rebel, the outcast, the geek. The closest I’ve gotten is with my writer friends, though even they know how weird I am. Of course, all writers are odd, to an extent. I think we have to be, to want to sequester ourselves away to focus on getting just the right phrase down onto a piece of paper. And, to keep doing that over and over until we’re happy with what we have (which is almost never, by the way; there simply comes a time when enough is enough, and we have to let go).

Anyway, while slogging through that quagmire of depressive doubt, a familiar link popped up on my Twitter feed:

whybloghitsdontmatterI’d read Guy’s article on Why Blog Hits Don’t Really Matter before, but it felt serendipitous that I happened to log in to my Twitter and saw it that day. I read it again, and it resonated with me, as it usually does. I talked with a few of my writer friends about it, too, and I remembered (again, because I’m a slow learner) that my writing isn’t about being popular, or publishing books, or trying to make a living from my writing. I already have a job I enjoy, that luckily pays my bills. I self-published my From Hell (A Love Story), and I’ll probably pull together a book of some more stories, but I’m never going to be a “successful” author. And, I’m okay with that. I write because I want to share the unique, silly, sappy, sexy stories inside me. Even if somebody doesn’t look today, they might find a story of mine next week, or next month, or next year. If that story makes them smile, laugh, or think, then it’s done its job. And, I’ve done mine. Once I remembered that, and put that realization back in my heart, I could write again. I sat down and wrote another vignette for my “Finding Mister Wright” universe basically in one go! And, it felt great.

I’m sure I’ll have more down days to come. But when they happen, I’m going to try to remember to look back at this time, when I felt depressed about the ridiculous merry-go-round popularity contests conjured by my defeatist brain, and remind myself why I write what I write, and why I love what I write. You’re welcome to join me, whenever you’re ready.

If you’d like to read the latest “Finding Mister Wright” vignette, you can click the link below; the PDF will open in a new window. Don’t worry – it’s not nearly as raunchy as the last one.

“Synchronicity” – Another “Finding Mister Wright” short story

What techniques or motivations do you use when you doubt yourself?

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8 thoughts on “Down Days (plus a “Finding Mister Wright” short!)

  1. Yay! Marshall and Caitlin tie the knot! Oopsβ€”belated spoiler alert. πŸ˜‰

    And if it’s any consolation, my blog views and numbers were tanking even before I decided to go only once a month or so until I make real progress on the manuscripts. And other bloggers have reported similar happenings. My gut feeling is that the top bloggers are still pulling in the views and comments. But most of us are seeing a decline. Maybe those reports of blogging going obsolete have some truth to them…. I’d hate to see that day, though. I prefer the more substantial interactions it offers than something like Twitter or Facebook. But the universe has a habit of moving on without me. πŸ˜‰

    I’m glad you’re getting back to writing for the enjoyment of writing. I have days where I remember that’s the important thing, and the words flow. But there are still too many “This is crap, no one will ever want to read it days,” where nothing gets done. But I’m working on it. Let’s both hang in there for the enjoyment!

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    • Thanks for stopping in, JM, and for taking the time to comment. It totally made my day. πŸ™‚

      I know I’ve been cutting back on my blogging/commenting, too. I get so much more real work done when I get to concentrate on my writing or editing, not rushing back and forth between blogs. I also like to leave thoughtful comments, too, because that’s what I enjoy. But, you’re right: it does seem like everyone’s slowing down. I hadn’t heard about blogs slowing down, but that would explain a lot of what I’m seeing across other social media outlets: more Likes, less actual feedback. That trend would make me sad, too, because I’ve come to know so many good people and artists through blogging than any other outlet. Of course, my best writer buddies I’ll always stand by, so I suppose there is that for my consolation. πŸ™‚

      (Yeah, I had to push Marshall and Caitlin into the next phase. Even if they did it their way.)

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  2. Thank you for sharing the post about blog traffic. I’ve been struggling with not having as many people reading my posts lately. It’s frustrating and disheartening. After reading the post about traffic, I came to the realization that I started this blog to share my stories and knowledge with fellow writers, such as yourself. I didn’t realize it with my first blog, and I let it fall by the wayside. I promised myself that I would keep up with this blog and put something new at least once a week. (Lately, I’ve been re-blogging others’ posts, so it’s not original content, but I found them worth sharing.)

    When I’m in a funk (which I am right now), I’ll write in my journal the feelings I have, or I’ll type them out in my phone. (I have a journaling app.) I find if I write out what I’m feeling, I can look back at it and assess what I need to do. Nine times out of ten, I write out what I need to do. And that helps me write my stories.

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    • Thanks for the insight, George! And, thanks for taking the time to comment. I know we are all busy and struggling with one thing or another, so I’m always grateful when someone takes a moment to share their thoughts.

      Reblogging is just as legitimate for keeping a blog active. I know that you post your own thoughts on things, too, so it’s not just a click of a button. You’ve deemed something worth sharing with your readers, and that says a lot. And, while sometimes I personally enjoy a long, in-depth story on a blogger’s site, I must say it’s a lot easier for me to digest if it’s something short and to the point. πŸ™‚

      That app sounds like a good idea – very handy. I carry my tablet with me around almost everywhere – even on my commute – so I agree it’s great to have something at my side I can use to jot down thoughts.

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  3. There are so many things that make me doubt myself everyday. Sales are low, blog hits are low. No one’s commenting on a Facebook post. Unfortunately, being a successful writer feels like it’s all about sales and buzz. And it can make me want to throw my hands up and give up. I’ve never been popular. I’m not that girl. And all I can do is my best. To share my stories and to spread the word about them. Keep sharing your stories and you will find your audience and your tribe. πŸ™‚

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    • Kourtney, you are genuinely an inspiration to me. You work yourself so hard, yet you always have a smile and encouraging word. You love what you do, and that makes a difference, but you exude such confidence and excitement about your work and your progress, too. You’re a great role model for all of us writer kiddies, and I always think, “I want to be like Kourtney when I grow up.” πŸ™‚

      Thanks so much for sharing! ❀

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  4. Yay for silly, sappy, sexy stories!
    I know exactly how you feel sometimes. My little corner of the internet gets pretty lonely sometimes too. But, then you come along and remind me that it’s more about writing who we are than the numbers. No one else could tell the story of Ross and Amber the way you did, and I like to think that I can gives the Rogues a fun little excursion every now and again. If only there were more hours in the day somedays…

    Also, I thought your little vignette was adorable! Granted, I’m always a sucker for sappiness, but seeing these two together at last is just wonderful.

    Nicely done, Mayumi!

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    • Thanks, Shade. I like to think we each have our distinct voices that lend themselves to our own stories. Even when I think about all of the editing I need to put Ross and Amber through, for example, I feel good about their story. I’m sure you do, too, with the Rogues.

      Marshall definitely does his own thing. It’s always fun to get back to him and his story. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for letting me know your thoughts!

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