Writing Websites: Are They Worth It?

Hi everyone,

First off, thanks to everyone who read and commented on my IWSG and Weekend Coffee Share posts. Being that it’s my first year with both of these groups, I felt nervous, not knowing how they would be received. But reading the comments and viewing the stats put my mind at ease. I know it’s ridiculous correlating stats with happiness, but it means something to me.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to the matter at hand:

So, I check my email frequently, and every day I get updates on recent activity from Scribophile, a writing website I signed up for last year. I went in with the purpose of showing my stories to the online populace. But to do so, I have to earn points. I earn points by critiquing others’ works. And not just say, “Good story. I liked it.” I have to give deep, thought-provoking analyses. I kind of gave up on Scribophile because navigating that site is not as simple as it seems.

There’s another writing website I joined a couple of years ago: The Writer’s Network. A friend on Twitter told me about it.  There, you can post stories as much as you want. Critiques are optional. But since I joined, I haven’t posted one story. There’s probably another site or two I signed up for, but because it’s been so long since I joined, I don’t remember the names.

So I got to thinking: are writing websites really worth joining? I think the key to them is that you have to be fully vested into them. Sites like Scribophile, Wattpad, and the like encourage active participation, not just jumping in whenever you feel like it. It means being active in the forums, if they’re offered. Writing critiques. Publishing your work for others to read and critique. Unfortunately, I haven’t been that active. I haven’t participated in the forums to learn more about these sites. I haven’t published my stories because of the fear that people will bash them. Whatever the reason (excuse), that needs to change.

That’s not to say I haven’t done my research on them. I noted the advantages and disadvantages of such sites. In some ways, posting work on these writing sites is similar to self-publishing. You have to identify your potential audience. Learn what they’re reading right now, but also be aware that the interests can and will change. This is especially true with fanfiction sites. There are many sources to base your stories on. Whether you have “original” characters interact with established characters. Or whether you create a story that strays from the main storyline. Be aware that your audience is going to be very picky.

I can’t say that Scribophile and The Writer’s Network have been busts because I’m not active on them. To someone else, it’s perfect, depending on the audience they want to reach. Having said that, I will add one more goal for 2017: be more active on those sites and publish my work. And after a year, I’ll offer my conclusions.

Until next time, take care.

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Author: G. R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

6 thoughts on “Writing Websites: Are They Worth It?”

  1. I’ve been impressed by scribophile in the past. I think anywhere you can get feedback essentially for free is an avenue potentially worth following (I know they have premium memberships too but that’s optional). Writing sites definitely aren’t the only avenue though 🙂

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  2. The only site I’m on is Wattpad and I’m horrible at being active there. I don’t always have time to read others work and I heard, like many other things, visiting others is a good way to get people to you. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten much engagement there.

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  3. Have you checked out critiquecircle.com? It’s another very helpful writers’ website. You can post stories, critique stories, or just participates in the forums. They have forums for just about anything you can think of – and more. I haven’t been on there in a while, I’m trying to finish writing my WIP and sites like CC, Wattpad, Scribophile, etc. can be major time sucks.

    Good luck with your writing this year. You are already several steps ahead of me by keeping your blog updated. 😉

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  4. The critique site sounds pretty standard. I’ve been browsing through some of them so that when I’m ready, I have a variety to choose from. I did find one through a writer that I’m impressed with, Tablo [https://tablo.io/]. It’s more of a writing community and you can write or read without having to do the other. I belong to Writing.Com. I’ve been with them for a few years now. I like their forums although the layout of them isn’t typical.

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