Tag Archives: writer’s woes

How do you balance writing and seeking empathy (and readership)?

“I wonder what would have become of me if I had come of age as a writer during these years of living out loud. My parents were in a car crash in 1986 that killed my father and badly injured my mother. If social media had been available to me at the time, would I have posted the news on Facebook? Tweeted it to my followers as I stood on line to board the flight home? Instead of sitting numbly on the plane, with the help of several little bottles of vodka, would I have purchased a few hours of air time with Boingo Wi-Fi and monitored the response—the outpouring of kindness, a deluge of ‘likes,’ mostly from strangers?”
-Dani Shapiro

When you write, you want to know people have read it. When some do read it, you want to make sure you know how they feel about it. Even though most ‘creative’ writing is mainly meant for the writer herself — as catharsis or as a means of self-expression, where does any writing go to unless it finds a reader, who can empathise with its unique expression?

With book-writing becoming more of a technical talent demanding schemes and structures requiring training and fellowships that instruct you the best way to weave magic with words, you tend to become a little unsure of whether your natural means to that weave is good enough for the contemporary reader. Is there a way to find him?

When new-age tools like Facebook and Twitter provide the delectable carrot of a million followers, you get sucked in. Start a Facebook page, start a blog, look for followers, follow other pages, like their posts, write witty comments — preferably with a link to your own creation, spend restless hours wondering if that promised carrot is going to come to you at all.

Where is the time to really write?

So, if today’s publishers expect you to contribute to your pool of readers, how do you build upon that when Facebook and Twitter and online events are distracting you from what you actually, really ought to do?