(This post is strangely similar to one I wrote two years ago…)
Last Sunday I was sitting around trying to force my way through another one of my Morrowind fanfiction chapters. The goal I had this year was to post a single chapter weekly, on Sunday, and at the time I thought there was no downside to it. Sure, there’d be work, but bullshitting a chapter every seven days would be easy. I wouldn’t have to put much effort into creativity — the universe of The Elder Scrolls series is already created — and surely I could rake in hundreds and maybe thousands of views on Wattpad. It’d become accustomed to having a goal, a schedule, and writing without endlessly waiting for ‘inspiration.’ There was no downside to it, and plenty of upside.
I wrote a few paragraphs and the chapter seemed to be off to a good enough start, but after 30 minutes I hit a wall. I wasn’t into it, I wasn’t inspired, and it seemed like a chore. With only a few hours until midnight I’d have to finish it somehow, but shut the computer off to think about what I wanted to write. Ya know, take an hour or so break and plot my next few paragraphs.
I didn’t figure out a damn thing. I gave up, went to bed, and would worry about it later.
I’ve been slacking on the story for quite awhile, maybe posting only a chapter every two or three weeks instead of weekly. It almost feels like I’m trying to keep something alive that is obviously dying. So much effort and worry for almost no progress. Limping along trying to accomplish something worth accomplishing.
Views. As shitty of a metric as it is, it’s the main way you can tell if anyone is reading what you’re pouring effort into. It’s the little reward that tells us writers if anyone actually gives a damn about our projects. I have a journal .doc and write random thoughts to clear my mind, but anything that is published on the internet is meant to be read by others. And if it’s not, what’s the point of even posting?
I currently have 244 total views on the Morrowind story. Sometimes it ranks in the top ten in the Morrowind category out of 110, but if no one reads the category much, who cares? Also consider this has been going on for roughly 35 weeks: 7 views a week. I’ve posted 29 chapters: 8.4 views per chapter. Those are some depressing numbers.
Making this even more depressing is the fact that most of my early chapters have the most views, especially the first chapter. The first chapter alone had 64 views, 25% of the total. The second chapter, 40, and so on as it exponentially declines toward zero. The newest chapters rake in only one or two views. This tells me people might read the first bit of the story and there is nothing to hook them into reading more. It’s boring. It starts slow. And this probably isn’t how you should play the fanfiction game.
I was bored enough to day to plot out my views per chapter in Google Sheets. It’s a nice visual aid to what I am describing.
It’s also interesting to see that I might have four or five actual fans that consistently read what I post. It’s also interesting to see a few peaks here and there where I net about ten views per chapter. I wonder if deactivating my Facebook has anything to do with this? I wonder how many readers came from Facebook?
I started to believe there is no upside to continue the story while there are a ton of downsides. It’s a timesink. It isn’t fun. It isn’t fulfilling. I feel the same dread on the weekends from the story as going to dentist. For what exactly? So three or four people can read it? What is the end goal to all of this? If I finish it in a year or two, what will I have to show for it? Will it benefit me at all? No, probably not. I see almost no way continuing this can get me any closer to my writing goals as nebulous as they are in the first place.
So, yeah, I’m done. Let’s try to make this somewhat positive. Failing. I feel like a failure, naturally. But if you browse the Get Motivated! subreddit, you might be aware that if you don’t fail, you’re not trying (which is apparently a Jillian Michaels quote, huh). No one slips into success on their first attempt. Success means failing over and over and discovering what works and what doesn’t, and one of the real tragedies is hanging out in a failing endeavour wasting time and effort to force success. Like a business owner going deep into debt to make it work despite having no customers or success. We have to realize our finite ability to deal with shit and hold onto one of our most important, and limited, traits: motivation.
Failing isn’t bad. Giving up isn’t bad. As long as you continue to fail upwards towards something better.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.
Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.
Or Wattpad where I
have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories. Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.